Monday, November 27, 2006

Judith Carter

Judith Carter

From the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, first published Friday 14th Feb 2003.

FAMILY legend has it that baby Judith Carter's first word was not Mummy, not even Daddy. It was "why"? And 59 years later, she is still asking why after one of the biggest disappointments in a hectic life full of challenges and setbacks.

For Judith, chief executive of Skipton and Craven Action for Disability (I shall explain the title later) has just received an extremely unwelcome kick in the teeth from people whose job in life, allegedly, is to do good.

Those fine people from the National Lottery Community Fund, which is sitting on hundreds of millions of unspent money, have refused SCAD a grant of more than £100,000 which would have gone to help hundreds of severely disabled people have an outing that otherwise would be beyond their dreams - a day's boating on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Yet SCAD already has a promise of £25,000 from Barclays Bank plus £9,000 its own members have collected - and could this spring be well on the way to replacing its ageing canal barge so that it can take more disabled people on more trips.

"I am absolutely gutted," Judith told me at SCAD's bustling offices over its charity shop in Newmarket Street. "This sort of money is just peanuts to the Lottery but they have rejected our bid because, they say, we have not established a need for the service.

"Yet disabled people have been coming from all over the North for 11 years to sail the canal. These bureaucrats should see the looks of sheer joy on our passengers' faces when they get onto the water - that would tell them that there is a need for this unique service."

I should warn Lottery officials that they have a fight on their hands.

For Judith Carter has spent her entire working life battling authority - and most of the time, she has won.

Born in Bradford during the war, one of twin sisters, she won a scholarship to grammar school and then was launched on what was to be a civil service career by her father, a GPO engineer.

She hated it and was looking for a new career when she met and married her soon-to-be long suffering husband David and quickly had two of their three children.

He was a Lancastrian whose family had a retail furniture business and she moved to East Lancashire, starting a War of the Roses which continues to this day (more of that later, too).

With her children at school, she found a new career in nursing in Burnley and suddenly came up against what she describes "as an absolutely nonsensical regime run on absolute, unquestioning discipline and fear."

She recalls: "Matron in those days was a tyrant. Doctors were gods. We had to do things which were never explained and often seemed quite wrong. So I began to ask why - and quickly got myself a reputation as a troublemaker.

"Other nurses began to ask me to take up complaints on their behalf so I thought I might as well join the union. By the time I left as organiser of the Burnley branch, it had 800 members."

The union was the Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE) and soon she was being pressed to take up a paid role - only to run into another wall of opposition: fellow officials who were all male. "I was looked upon as some sort of freak," she shrugs.

She got her paid job eventually - but at a huge cost. She was turned down as a regional organiser in the North West, on her doorstep, and was instead posted to London, where she worked, miserable and alone, whilst her family stayed in Barrowford.

Eventually, that became too much - "There were a lot of people who thought I would quit" - so after a year, David moved the family down south and they moved to Hampshire.

That had its problems, too. David got a job with the local ambulance brigade and ended up as a senior manager. Then came a strike by drivers, who Judith represented, and they ending up facing each other on opposite sides of the negotiating table!

Judith's career went from strength to strength and she ended up as a national organiser and negotiator, being invited for beer and sandwiches at 10 Downing Street. She even sat down to tea with the Queen.

However, when COHSE joined with two local government unions to form Unison, she decided enough was enough. David took early retirement and they decided to come back north. But where?

She laughs: "David wanted Lancashire but I was determined to return to my native Yorkshire. In the end, we bought a house in Tosside which is just in Craven - but when David walks to the pub, he crosses the border into Lancashire."

Both were determined to relax but it was David who got bored first. With his background, he was welcomed with open arms when he volunteered to drive one of SCAD's three minibuses.

Judith was intrigued so she joined too. She took the title chief executive last year when SCAD became a company for complex insurance reasons.

"There is so much red tape surrounding charities and we had discovered that our trustees, who are all volunteers, might face huge financial penalties, even lose their homes, if something went wrong. You cannot expect volunteers to take that sort of risk."

Red tape, too, is part of the reason for SCAD's need to replace their canal boat, the Marjorie Charlesworth, named after the association's late founder. To refurbish it to meet the latest safety standards would cost £30,000, which members felt was too much to spend on an 11-year-old craft.

Well, the bureaucrats want to scupper that plan too. They would rather have loss-making opera houses, millennium domes or bent bridges, it would appear. Methinks they are in for a shock when Judith Carter gets on the phone

Hayes Cottage Hospital will be open this Christmas, and every other Christmas

Hillingdon Health Emergency Leaflet

Hayes Cottage Hospital will be open this Christmas, and every other Christmas

On the evening of Tuesday 25th October 1983 the staff at Hayes Cottage Hospital occupied in a bid to keep the hospital open. This action uas taken after a lot

of thought but it was clearly the only way to stop the closure after other avenues had been exhausted.

The reaction of the people of Hayes has been really magnificent. We have had visitors coming round with food, supplies and money. Messages of support have

been flooding in from all over London while a delegation from Charing Cross Hospital came over to see us. Ken Livingstone sent a message of congratulations saying 'This will be an example to other parts of the London Health Service faced with cuts in vital jobs and services. Best wishes for the struggle ahead.'

The best bit of news recently has been that the G.P's connected with the hospital are to start admitting patients again so we will be running just as before. Certainly, the patients in the Cottage Hospital are solidly behind the "work-in. Fifteen of them have signed a petition demanding the retention of the hospital and one patient has insisted that if any attempt is made to move her she intends to die in the ambulance......

Our aim in this struggle is to force the District Health Authority to take their proposals for cuts out to full public consultation. We believe that the people of Hillingdon have a right to a say in the sort of Health Service that is provided instead of a totally undemocratic and unaccountable group of individuals dictating from on high.

We believe that we are going to win the battle for Hayes Cottage Hospital but to do so we need the help of the ordinary people of Hayes. WE NEED MORE PEOPLE TO GUARD THE GATES, DAY AND NIGHT. We also need letters going to the DHA demanding that no violence will be used and that patients will not be forcibly removed against their will. This is a real possibility and it must not be allowed.

Hayes Cottage Hospital is an integral part of the community in this area. It provides a type and a quality of care that is not available at a big unit like Hillingdon. Closing our hospital will mean that many old people and parents will have long journeys if they need medical treatment. These cuts are going
to hit most those people that need the IMHS while the people With the money Will have their own private care. THIS MUST NOT BE ALLOLWED. The NHS Was set up through the struggle and toil of our older folk and we pay for it through our taxes. In any civilised society decent health care should be a right not left to charity.


The Hillingdon Health Emergency Campaign had a spontaneous beginning. Members of the public had attended a meeting of the Regional Health Authority on 27th September 1983. At that meeting, the proposed cuts in Health spending ware announced - including the proposed closure of the two Cottage Hospitals
Hayes and Northwood and Pinner.

There were immediate protests from the public gallery and four people were ejected from the meeting. Later an impromptu meeting of the protesters took place in the Civic Centre electing a committee which immediately went into action to arouse public opinion and protest against the cuts.

Leaflets were produced; public meetings held; petition forms distributed, resulting in thousands of signatures. Letters were written to the press, M.P.'s, Councillors and other public figures inviting their support.

Trade union branches were heavily involved and asked to support, both financially and physically. To date, nearly £1000 has been raised. The support received from the public has given a great boost to the campaign, which stepped up its supporting activity following the decision by the Staff to occupy the two threatened hospitals.

It is the policy of the Committee that the campaign against Health service cuts will continue, whatever the outcome at Hayes and Northwood. They therefore continue to ask for public support and feel sure that it will be forthcoming.

Hilllngdon needs its Health Service. Support the Campaign.

Hillingdon Health Emergency (GLC Funded) 2a Botwell Lane, Hayes, Middx

Steve Clare Secretary Hillingdon Health Emergency:

Marjorie Bayne NUPE Hayes Cottage Hospital Steward (blonde-right in photo)
Sylvia Tebbenham NUPE Hayes Cottage Hospital Steard (Left in photo)

Supported by unions at EMI, KODAK, Express Dairy (TGWU), NALGO,NUPE, AUEW and Tenants & Pensioners Groups

COHSE & Labour 1987

COHSE Hillingdon & District branch General Election leaflet circa 1987

The Conservative Government have since 1979 systematically attacked and undermined Hillingdon's health services, recently a further three hospital -wards and a clinic were closed by Hillingdon District Health Authority.

Since 1979 the effect of this policy in Hillingdon has been:

Over 300 hundred hospital closed

Uxbridge Cottage Hospital closed

St. Johns Hospital closed

7,656 patients on the waiting list

Furthermore, only a determined 'work-in' by hospital staff and the support of the community saved Hayes Cottage and Northwood & Pinner Cottage Hospitas from closure.

Health workers now believe that only the Labour Party cares, and is fully committed to the future of our health services, after all it was the Labour who established the in 1946.

We therefore urge all caring people to support the Labour Party's campaign to save our health service - if the Tories are re-elected with Edwina. Currie as for Health, the future would be very bleak for the health service user. There would be more health cuts, more privatisation and the gradual dismantling of the NHS.

Published by M.Walker COHSE Branch Secretary

Printed by Hillpress 11, Clayton Road, Hayes

Sunday, November 26, 2006

St Helier 25 Nov 2006

St Helier Hospital

Over 2,000 people marched in the rain to save St Helier Hospital, Sutton on Saturday 25th November 2006 including this group of well known individuals (lef

2006-2007 marked a period of major opposition to hospital cuts and closures.

the starting date being the North Staffordshire Rally on 29th April 2006.

The NHS Unions through "NHS Together" organised a lobby of Parliament on 1st November 2006, a national regional day of action on 3rd March 2007 and a National demonstration on 3 November 2007

Friday, November 17, 2006

Black Nurses 1983 CRE

Commission For Racial Equality 1983 Report


There are about 490,000 nurses and midwives in the NHS. A study of overseas nurses in Britain in 1972 showed that an average of 9% of all National Health Service hospital nurses in 1971 were 'immigrant', ie born in a 'developing' country and arriving in the UK after the age of 16.

'Immigrants' formed 20% of pupil nurses, 15% of midwives and 14% of student nurses. At sister and senior level, however, proportions of 'immigrant' staff dropped to 4% and 1%.
Department of Health (DHSS) statistics of student and pupil nurses and pupil midwives in training in National Health Service hospitals in England and Wales (at 31 December 1978) showed that about 9% of these trainees were from Commonwealth countries. These statistics showed that Commonwealth born student nurses formed about 5% of all student nurses and pupil nurses, while Commonwealth pupil midwives formed about 18% of their group. However, these averages conceal significant variations in some areas. The study mentioned above showed, for example, that in the North East Thames Region, 16% of pupil nurses were born in overseas Commonwealth countries compared with 1.5% in Yorkshire Regional Health Authority.

There is now a higher proportion of trained overseas-born nurses than there are overseas-born nurses in training, which may be a result of the advice of the DHSS in recent years which has discouraged recruitment of students and pupils in their countries of origin

Training opportunities for nurses

There are claims that black nurses are pressured into undertaking SEN courses, even when they have sufficient academic qualifications for an SRN course. A recent example of such allegations appeared in the Nursing Times, which quoted a 1979 survey of 365 overseas learners of whom half said that their
UK gained qualification would not be recognised in their home countries.

In a recent study undertaken by the Polytechnic of North London, Migrant
Workers in the National Health Service, it was found that Irish nurses were
more likely to have reached the grades of Ward Sister, Nursing Officer or Senior Nursing Officer than their English counterparts (35% compared with 20%), whereas the West Indian nurses were less likely, with only 10% in those grades. Wider research could show how representative this report is, but it clearly demonstrates the need to examine the possibility that direct and indirect discrimination may be occurring.



When is a nurses not a health worker

"Nurses cannot be treated like other healthcare workers, because we aren't like other healthcare workers.

This is the Royal College of Nursing.
It isn't, and never will be, the Royal College of Health Workers

RCN President Betty Kershaw
launching the RCN;s health manifesto
Nursing Standard 8th May 1996


Similar statement re HCA's made when UNISON produced a UNISON HCA Nurse badge