Local residents mobilising to demand promised funding

Client: Waltham Forest Council

The problem: hospital in disrepair

Whipps Cross Hospital has been serving the community for over 100 years. Whipps Cross Hospital's crumbling Victorian-era infrastructure keeps ageing and in desperate need of rebuilding. In July 2021, flooding closed the A&E and prevented hundreds of essential operations. This showed once again the dire condition the hospital is in. The national government had promised and even budgeted for this funding, yet it remained un-realised.

Whipps Cross Hospital is one of six hospitals to benefit from government funding as part of a new health infrastructure programme. In partnership with Redbridge Council, the #WhippsWontWait campaign is calling on the government to secure funding for Whipps Cross. If the funding is not delivered as soon as possible , there is a real risk the new hospital will not be built.

The objective: get promised funding

After decades of campaigning, 11,000 residents had signed an online 38 degrees-hosted petition, but more pressure was still needed. So postcards were seen as a way to increase pressure with illustrative images and personal messages from residents with the goal of getting the minister to unlock the promised and budget funding.

The Whipps Won't Wait Campaign seized on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the hospital and the wider site to serve borough residents for generations to come, improving residents' health and reducing inequality in the borough, while providing much-needed new homes.

Waltham Forest Council needed to nudge the government to deliver the promised funding for urgent refurbishment of Hospital.

How PostBug was used

Waltham Forest Council finalised three postcard designs residents could send. They got feedback from hospital staff that they didn't wish to seem ungrateful or portray the hospital not national government in bad light, but that with the funding promised and budgeted, it urgently needed to be fulfilled.

Petition signers were emailed to invite them to choose one of the three postcards. 1,000 postcards were sent the minister and the council soon heard back from the ministry.

Result: funding delivered!

Government decisions are often slow, and the same was the case here. But 6 months later, the Government's Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced in government a recommitment to funding Whipps Cross Hospital, with enabling work to begin by the end of the year. The petition and the postcards were both viewed as instrumental in achieving this goal.

The Leader of Waltham Forest Council, Cllr Grace Williams, thanked everyone who has supported the campaign.

For decades Waltham Forest Council has been campaigning alongside residents and hospital staff for improvements to Whipps Cross. The importance of this issue for local people was demonstrated by the 11,000 people who signed our Whipps Won’t Wait Campaign petition. Thank you to everyone who got involved – your support has been vital in showing the Government the strength of local feeling on this issue.
I also can’t express my gratitude enough to the wonderful nurses, doctors, and NHS support staff who have worked so hard for so long in dilapidated buildings.
The Government has announced that the hospital will proceed. We will at last have a hospital that is fit for purpose for the 21st century and of which staff can rightly be proud.
I know the affection local people have for Whipps Cross. Many residents will have been born, had babies of their own, and had relatives cared for at the hospital. We now have the opportunity build on the emotional attachment the community has for Whipps and create a legacy for future generations.
We will hold the Government to account to make sure this happens without further delay and the money they’ve promised is used well to meet the needs of residents.

Waltham Forest Council: Whipps Won't Wait - It has to be now (flooded hallway)

Waltham Forest Council: Whipps Won't Wait - It has to be now (flooded hallway)