Sell-off defeated, but fight to defend the NHS goes on…
Our victory in 2013-2014 against the threat of ward closures and job cuts showed what could be achieved when local people – residents, patients, hospital staff, trade unions, politicians and a number of concerned local celebs – came out to defend our hospital.
We were told that plans for huge cutbacks in services would be scrapped and a new strategy put in place to guarantee our hospital’s future. But big savings are likely to be needed as the new government imposes further austerity on our public services – including the NHS.
Despite what it says about protecting health service funding, hospitals are likely to face savage cuts – while privatisation is an increasing threat as large parts of the NHS, including hospital and community services such as district nursing and mental health, are packaged up and sold off to private companies who will cut care provision and jobs in a bid to boost profits.
Join our campaign to keep our local hospital and oppose these threats before it is too late.
For more details about the progress of the campaign, and a list of future actions, visit the “Meetings and events” section of the website.
Full media coverage here
Lest we forget…
These, the founding principles of the NHS, are a reminder of what we are fighting for… and what is under threat as the government renews its attacks on our health services.
DWHC joins NHS protest in Manchester
Thousands of NHS campaigners – including a contingent from DWHC – converged on Manchester on Sunday 4 October for the protest at the Tory party conference.
Up to 100,000 people joined the march, called by the TUC to demonstrate against the government’s austerity policies and the attacks on union rights and the NHS.
The march had the backing of the People’s Assembly. Rights groups said cuts in benefits have targeted the most vulnerable – including children, the elderly, the disabled, the sick and the mentally ill, as well as the unemployed and low paid – while the government has given millionaires a handout through tax cuts that will vastly increase their wealth.
NHS unions were angry that staff are being laid off or having to work longer hours for less pay. With rising costs, the government’s five-year freeze in NHS funding means further severe reductions will have to be made, which could see hospitals, A&Es and GPs surgeries plunged into a deepening crisis this winter.
Two-thirds of hospitals are already facing deficits averaging £22 million. The overall NHS deficit is expected to reach £2 billion this year.
Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, in a speech to the rally at the end of the march showed the government was facing opposition. He said the protest was “sending a very clear message” to the government that a fightback was under way.
No to privatisation of out of hours service
The procurement of a new £50 million out of hours contract covering all five North Central London clinical commissioning groups – Camden, Islington, Haringey, Barnet and Enfield – has been put on hold until April while the CCGs hold “public engagement” meetings to try to win over opposition.
How well the OOH service is run – if it is also combined with the 111 emergency phoneline, which is another part of the plan – will have a big impact on the number of people turning up at A&E. We want the service to be run by local doctors, not by a big private medical company. That’s why we are saying the “public engagement” exercise is not enough and why we are calling for proper public consultation so that the view of most people that the new service should not be privatised is taken into account.
People’s Inquiry warns of danger to London hospitals
The People’s Inquiry into London’s NHS completed its information-gathering stage at Lewisham Hospital, having held seven public hearings in different parts of London, and received evidence from around 100 people, including DWHC.
The six-person panel, which included Roy Lilley and the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee, has now published its report, which makes grim reading for defenders of London hospitals under threat of closures.
But the authors of the report say there are ways out of this mess. Their aim in highlighting the current crisis is to open up debate and discussion on NHS policy in the run-up to the next general election, and pin the blame firmly on the government.
The outcome of that election could decide whether our health service survives. London NHS services ‘unravelling’ – BBC News
Read the panel’s recommendations here