THE turnout at the November 17 meeting in Hartlepool Central Library was predictable, magnificent – and thereby spoke for itself.
I assured The North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust that the lovely people who had actually turned up were in a minority ratio of 10:1, with those equally lovely people who would have attended, were they not at work.
No one had turned out to hear the trust’s brainwashing diatribe.
They turned out to protest about the demise of the University Hospital of Hartlepool, to witness the trust display the bottle required to admit that it got it wrong, and to hear its proposals to bring our hospital services back.
The reality of the meeting turned out to be the exact opposite of what the public expected.
It was indeed revealed as a presentation, in which the trust would tell us how well they were doing – and that which they had no intention of doing.
After his proposal to call off the meeting (because of overfill) was roundly rebuffed, the chairman of the trust launched into his well-rehearsed pre-prepared on-screen tripe about “listening to people”.
Everyone around me indicated that the whole principle of the meeting was ridiculed by such a demonstrably incorrect statement about listening, and what seemed an already closed agenda.
This insulting pre-agenda was completely exposed.
We were shown on screen, in written bullet points, that whatever we said must be wrong because everything the trust was doing was right!
The question “when is a meeting not a meeting?” was then answered almost immediately by the unprofessional attitude of the chairman who, I am told, was gesticulating and winking at his colleagues behind my back while I was trying to highlight some very serious hospital occurrences which, in some cases, became fatal.
When the slide was then projected which proclaimed “there is no option to turn back” I had seen enough.
I was very conscious that people who had arrived earlier than me had flatteringly insisted that I take their seat, and thereby they were now outside of the meeting, and effectively I was a queue-jumper.
These facts were at the forefront of my mind.
But it was, and still is, my considered opinion that to continue attending a meeting, where the nett result had already been announced on screen, was a nonsense which was being afforded credibility by anyone participating.
Therefore I left.