League of Friends’ 49th Annual General Meeting – President’s report
President’s report for the League of Friends’ 49th Annual General Meeting
Thursday 31st March 2016 at 2000
Mr Chairman, members of the League of Friends, guests. As usual, it is always a pleasure to address the AGM as this gives me the opportunity to formally thank the staff of the hospital as well as the League’s committee for all their hard work.
For those of you who have had sight of the Spring Newsletter already, you will have read the comments of the chairman, treasurer and myself about the past year and the current state of the League. As I have said several times in these reports, I tend to find myself drifting towards commenting on the problems of the NHS but, being part of this huge organisation, I’m afraid we are not immune from them and they do impinge to a degree on the hospital.
But turning to more parochial – and much more pleasant matters – on behalf of the League, I should like to thank all the staff of the hospital whether clinicians, administrators or other support staff, for everything they do for both the in- and the out-patients. Led by the ward manager, Charlotte Di Clemente, and the locality manager, Debbie Gardner, they do a tremendous job under not always the easiest of circumstances and the League is pleased to be able to support them all. Specific comments in the CQC report last July about Bucks Healthcare Trust did not help staff morale although on a positive note it was stated that patients were very happy with the quality of the care they received.
Tonight is the League of Friends’ 49th AGM and, as I mentioned at last year’s AGM, the League was founded in 1967 when the hospital was at one of its lowest points and faced with closure. And so next year will be the 50th anniversary of the League’s founding – on May 31st – and we shall certainly be celebrating that date and the individuals who made it all possible and who, in effect, saved the hospital.
In the past year the League has funded, as usual, the purchase of various pieces of equipment as well as continuing with items of regular expenditure such as funding the Embleton Day Unit, the upkeep of the hospital gardens and the provision of newspapers and magazines for the patients.
I am grateful to the members of the committee for their work during the year especially for organising and carrying out the house-to-house collections which not only raise funds but also provide an opportunity to promote the League.
And another novel activity this year which helped to raise public awareness of the League and the hospital was a poster competition for pupils at the Buckingham First School. This project was organised by two of the committee, Charlotte Brown and Rachael Wilson, and the theme for the posters was, of course, Buckingham Hospital. The winning efforts from each of the year groups 3-6 were displayed in the local library with the overall winner being awarded a Kindle reader.
As well as acknowledging the committee’s work and thanking them, I must also thank the League’s officers. The secretary, Mrs Sheila Dawe, who amongst several duties produces meticulous minutes, the new treasurer, Mr John Beasley, who has instantly grasped the mechanics of the League’s finances and the erstwhile treasurer, Mr Alan Maidment, who although resigning officially at last year’s AGM continued to handle the finances for a few months until John could start.
I have deliberately left mention of the chairman, Mr John Wrigley, to the last as, to our great regret, he has announced his intention to stand down at this AGM – and although he is still to make his final report in a few minutes, this does give me the opportunity to say something about him.
I discovered two or three years ago that we do share the same birthday although I hasten to add he is senior to me. He counts a number of years of service to the League, first as treasurer, from 1996 when he succeeded Mr Bill Crisp, and then as chairman from 2009 onwards when he followed in the footsteps of Mrs Lesley Suggate, and he chairs the committee meetings with skill, enthusiasm and wit. Regrettably, despite his announcing his resignation some months ago, a successor is yet to come forward although contingency plans are in place to proceed without an elected chair unless later in this meeting someone, unbeknown to us, steps forward.
We are fortunate, however, that John won’t be using this newly gained time to tend his roses or take up kite flying, as he has offered to be co-opted to the committee, at least in the short term, meaning that we shall not lose his expertise completely.
Dr Roger Harrington
31st March 2016