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Conference Reports

Meeting for Northern Members

Clayton Hotel, Leeds on 13 July 2016

130 Members attended the meeting  which commenced after everyone had enjoyed a light lunch.

All ten of the Yorkshire Branches were represented with eight members from Harrogate. Audrey Harris, the National Chairman opened the meeting by welcoming everyone, stating that so far, meetings in other areas had been attended by over 500 members.

One of our Patrons, Ken Jarrold CBE gave an excellent presentation by describing a hypothetical letter which he would like to send to Theresa May since this was her second day in office as our new Prime Minister.

It was very cleverly written giving her his advice on how, in his opinion,  she should treat the NHS and recommendations for the way forward.

This was followed by a short talk by Leigh Elliott, the newly appointed Development Officer for the North East describing the work she had done so far by visiting staff in her local Trusts.

Our director, John Rostill OBE, then gave us an appraisal on the current financial situation, highlighting the absence of grants that the NHSRF had previously enjoyed and the possible consequences. He encouraged members to use their experience by being involved in local projects, to communicate with their local Trusts and also highlighted the benefits of being a members of the NHSRF. A project to examine the way in which the Benevolent Fund is administered is to be undertaken.

It was a very successful day which I, personally, hope will be repeated.


Gillian Oldfield

Eastwood Hall Hotel, Nottingham on Saturday, 25th November 2017
The AGM began with apologies from retiring Chairman, Audrey Harris, who was unable to attend as her husband, Martyn, who sang for us at our June Afternoon Tea, is in hospital, but not dangerously ill. The appointment of a new Chairman and Vice Chairman was brought forward on the Agenda and Margaret Moffat and George Kempton were appointed to these roles. This year Audrey will be a Trustee of the Fellowship and will succeed retiring Benevolent Fund Committee Chairman, Cynthia Matthews.
The Annual Report of the Honorary Treasurer, Paul Farenden, was received. He commented that he thinks the Fellowship should aim for 10,000 members and should be more involved in the NHS. The latter theme was also emphasised later by Patron Ethel Armstrong whilst John Rostill in his speech said that there was a lack of engagement with Trusts and more members should join as Trust members and stand for election as Governors. There were comments from the floor about the increased subscriptions which acted as a catalyst for some branches to close, especially small ones that were struggling. This view is also put forward in the National Council Report.
Cynthia answered questions from the floor about the Benevolent Fund. Only 3 grants, totalling £1,337 were made in the year ending 31st March 2017. The balance carried forward is £23,955 and members commented that £4,000 is a very small baseline for refusing grants (maximum £800) John Rostill said that branch members should be better informed about the Fund.
A talk by Danny Mortimer, CEO NHS Employers, covered recruitment to the NHS, the largest employer in the country with over 1 million employees. There were plenty of ideas and comments from the floor.
John Rostill OBE talked about the way forward for the Fellowship. He was concerned about vacancies for Regional Representatives, branch closures, the Benevolent Fund, ineffective publicity for 2018, the Web Site, involving a freelance journalist and no dates for Royal Garden Parties. He was more positive about 2018 and the 40th and 70th anniversaries, said it could be a make or break year, services in Westminster Abbey and York Minster, Open Days, a Big 70 Tea, Exhibitions eg Brighton, Health Heroes nominated by MPs, branches to write to MPs (with a pre-Christmas template). 70 people were in the NHS on 5th July 1948 and 4 are here – wants stories – need to train members as interviewers as Gwen Crossley from Manchester has been trained and has leaflets.
Ethel Armstrong, Patron, talked about 70 years in the NHS and her Media Experience.
Ken Jarrold CBE, Patron, was an excellent Question Time Chairman debating ‘The Future of the Fellowship’ with a panel of John, Paul, George and Ringo –Oops! I mean Margaret.
Anne Bailey