Forum Topics

National Health Service breakdown and privatization: "Sustainability and Transformation Plans"

I'm deeply concerned that in the build up to the General Election there has been little discussion about the disastrous changes to the NHS being proposed by the local Sustainability and Transformation Plan, the "North West London STP" which covers 8 boroughs from Westminster to Hillingdon. These plans for the 44 "footprint" regions of England and Wales have been made in a secretive manner, with very little public information and are nothing more than plans to slash, trash and privatise our NHS.           But most worrying are large private healthcare companies and their lobbyists, such as Virgin Care and American healthcare companies including UnitedHealth, the previous employer of Simon Stevens CEO of the NHS, which will chase the UK's expenditure through the NHS using the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This pressure will inexorably lead to the American model of healthcare management which causes 50% of personal bankruptcies each year in the US. All the STPs call for "Accountable Care Organisations/Systems", a term which Americans recognise only too well. This system with low fixed budgets will be screwed down so that it does not meet the public need and it will turn the health provision in England and Wales into a two tier health system where the rich will pay and the rest of us will be left with a very poor, minimal NHS, like the American Medicare/Medicaid system.         I would urge all readers to contact their candidates and let them know that the public will not stand for the destruction of the NHS and all MPs must reject the STPs and reject the move to Accountable Care Organisations. These "new models of care" will end the NHS as a comprehensive service that provides the full range of care to all who need it, free at the point of need and fully accountable to the public (private companies will hide their waste as well as their profits).               Readers can find their candidates on the website.

Una-Jane Winfield ● 2547d0 Comments ● 2547d

Wahaca and our dysfunctional hygiene inspection system

The closure of Wahaca recently after an outbreak of sickness among staff and customers at their restaurants brought to mind a conversation I had a while back with a local restaurant owner.His family owned business had been inspected by H&F staff and been given a mediocre rating. There was no problem with hygiene per se but their record keeping was found to be inadequate and therefore they received a low score. This man is in the kitchen of his restaurant every night of the week and is obsessive about cleanliness. His staff are mainly relations and share his desire to see the restaurant do well.Although he speaks English well it is his second language he finds the form filling very onerous and really struggles to do what is required.At Wahaca they have a high turnover of staff who are all employees of company based somewhere else in the country. People come and go on a regular basis and, although they are probably professional enough in the main, they don't have the emotional commitment to the restaurant that you would see in a family owned business. They almost certainly have at least one employee in the firm whose sole responsibility is to ensure that the restaurant's paper work is uptodate for inspections. So naturally they sail through every time with 5 stars.Whether the sickness that led to the closure of Wahaca was bad luck or bad management, it seems to me that the current system of inspections doesn't actually do that much to protect customers from poor hygiene at restaurants. What it is tending to do is give a big and unfair advantage to chain restaurants over family owned independent ones. The latter are already under severe pressure in the local area and if we lose more we risk becoming a characterless chain town with no interesting places to eat.

Andy Jones ● 2747d0 Comments ● 2747d

Singers wanted for choirs!

SEEKING TENORS & BASSES!The West London based ADDISON CHAMBER CHOIR and the ADDISON JAZZ ENSEMBLE are each looking for a couple of extra Tenors and Basses for the 2015 season. Some sight reading skills are helpful and an informal audition is required.The CHAMBER CHOIR have a large repertoire but have become particularly known for their high quality performance of music by a wide range of contemporary composers, many of whom have written pieces especially for the choir. Concerts include our own and others e.g. the Brandenburg Festival and the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, and a performance at Kings Place later this year.  The Music Director is David Wordsworth.The JAZZ ENSEMBLE sing jazz standards, occasionally pop, and pieces written especially for the Ensemble by the talented Jill Jarman.  We perform in the Addison Jazz concerts and in the Brandenburg Festival.Bursary - a bursary to attract and retain young singers who demonstrate talent and wish to join may be available on application.  The bursary covers all fees and music for one year and is conditional on committing to singing at all performances during the year.Rehearsals are held at the Polish Centre in Hammersmith, London W6 0RF. Chamber Choir on Wednesday evenings 6.30pm-7.45pm, Jazz Ensemble on Monday evenings 6,30pm-8pm.  We’re a very sociable choir and there are plenty of opportunities for meeting like minded friends! There are also two Addison unauditioned larger choirs for people of all abilities: the Oratorio Choir and the Jazz Choir, should these be of interest.To arrange an informal audition or for more information, contact Julie Davies our Membership Coordinator on 07531 447960, or email us at , or see our website

Morna Wheatley ● 3423d0 Comments ● 3423d

Former Council Leader Wants to Be Mayor

The thought of Stephen Greenhalgh as Mayor of London is laughable.... and chilling! His "Team Greenhalgh" sign-up web page shows three continuing Tory councillors, including the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Lucy Ivimy, but why? I thought that they "kicked him upstairs" to be Deputy Mayor for Policing, in order to avoid further embarrassment in Hammersmith and Fulham. This is Stephen Greenhalgh the "bottom pincher", the developer's bosom friend, the demolisher of council estates, the scourge of the urban poor (author of the callous "Principles for Social Housing Reform" Localis pamphlet 2009 ( and "Ways out of London" video 2008 - no longer on You Tube!), this supporter of water cannons for the Metropolitan Police, etc...? The list shows that his every instinct is to oppress the weak and control dissent.But Greenhalgh's policies are now discredited. At the Council election in May 2014 the electorate rejected the "Conservatives" (more accurately American-style "neo-liberals") because they had by then hung themselves by the rope of their own policies. If moderate conservatives want to regain some credibility it is time that the "old guard" of the extreme right in Hammersmith was, quite simply, disbanded. Greg Hands MP, and councillors Charlie Dewhirst and Greg Smith would also do well to distance themselves from Greenhalgh.

Una Hodgkins ● 3440d0 Comments ● 3440d

Help save 30-52 Goldhawk Road from demolition

It has come to my attention that Hammersmith and Fulham want to make "improvements" to Shepherds Bush market.   While some of the suggestions may be welcome the Planning Brief proposes the demolition of 30-52 Goldhawk Road.  (A full copy of the draft planning and regeneration brief can be viewed on the Local Plan pages of the council’s website) At the moment this row of shops does not look much. (This is in part due to the fact that late last century Hammersmith and Fulham enforced the removal of cornicing on "health and safety grounds".)  But the reality is this terrace was built in the early to mid nineteenth century and they are good examples of Victorian shops.    The fact that they have fallen on hard times is no reason to have them demolished.  Rather this should be seen as an opportunity to have them restored to their former charm. The Planning Brief suggests relocating the businesses to within the redeveloped market.  But this terrace of shops brings atmosphere and community to the Goldhawk Road.  Not one of these shops is part of a chain - many are family firms - and the Pie and Mash shop has been in that location since 1899.    It would not be the same to simply relocate them.   There is a real danger that we will be turning a vibrant and interesting (if somewhat rundown) part of Shepherds Bush into something bland and average.  The Planning Brief goes on to describe 30-53 Goldhawk Road as being of a 'scale that is no longer appropriate for this part of the Goldhawk Road townscape'.  But the height of this terrace is very much part of their charm.     We have lost much good architecture in the area, such as Shepherds Bush station,  in recent years. Lets stop the destruction of yet more good buildings.  Please register your objections by email at or call Jackie Simkins in the council’s planning department on 020 8753 3460.  The deadline for the council to receive responses is 5pm on Monday, October 11.

Mr Coll McDonnell ● 4994d44 Comments ● 3494d