The Whittington Health board should resign
09 August, 2018
• JUST before the Grenfell Tower disaster in June 2017, the executive group of Whittington Health, which includes Whittington Hospital, decided to appoint Ryhurst, subsidiary of the Grenfell contractors Rydon, to manage their 10-year estate strategy.
Then the fire happened. The executive body did not reverse their decision, which was ratified by the board.
Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition has consistently lobbied the board regarding this decision, since it was generally known that Rydon had managed renovations at Grenfell. We were told that the decision was impossible to reverse, the Whittington could be closed and have serious financial difficulties.
But now, after a lot of lobbying and protesting by us and our MPs – Jeremy Corbyn, Emily Thornberry and Catherine West – the board has seen the error of its ways and, thank goodness, decided to manage the estate strategy in-house, as we requested all along, (Official: Hospital to scrap its deal with Grenfell firm, June 29).
So why is it OK now, but wasn’t before? Chair of the board, Steve Hitchins, says they are now in a position to meet a legal challenge. But surely they must have known of their financial position for several months and should have known last October when the board voted.
The information that the government knew about the unsafe cladding on Grenfell Tower, managed by Rydon, re-emerged last week on Channel 4 News. It was this sort of malpractice that concerned us when the Whittington board originally decided to procure Rydon’s subsidiary Ryhurst.
We have written to Steve Hitchins to ask whether he or any of the Whittington Health executive body and board that chose Ryhurst knew about this and similar issues regarding the renovation problems at Grenfell or other sites managed by Rydon when they decided to procure Ryhurst/Rydon.
If they knew, why did they make such an irresponsible, costly, and unethical decision to procure Ryhurst/Rydon? If they didn’t know, then why not? Either way, it is clear to us that Steve Hitchins, chief executive Siobhan Harrington and the board should resign.
Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition