Friday, 21 October 2016

October 2016 newsletter

October 2016
Dear Supporter,

September and early October have been busy months for the campaign.


Before the AGM of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust on 14th September, SOH supporters demonstrated outside the meeting, handing out our information leaflet on STPs. Chair of the Governing Body, Sir Richard Sykes, was ‘caught on camera’ by campaigners. He acknowledged that the NHS is underfunded, that there is no room for more efficiency savings and that ‘we’re killing staff’ through overwork. This was taken up by BBC London News. Here’s the BBC version of our video:

Supporters also attended the AGM itself, asking important questions about the STP – the financial basis, time scale, lack of public consultation and the future of both Charing Cross and Ealing Hospitals. We were told that CX would not be turned into a local hospital within the next 5 years, but this was still their expectation. They have been forced to accept that the services out of hospital are simply not there now. The same assurances don’t seem to be forthcoming for Ealing Hospital.

We attended the Imperial Board meeting later in the month, where Dr Tracey Batten, CEO of Imperial, publicly announced that she would be meeting with officers of SOH to look at how consultation might be improved. Clearly a sign that what we are saying is causing NHS bosses to be worried!

H&F CCG CONSULTATION MEETING ON THE STP (Sustainability and Transformation Plan)

By carefully planning for this meeting on 3rd October, SOH supporters and other members of the public were able to stop the CCG continuing with its ‘sales’ agenda for the meeting. We insisted that, rather than scheduled ‘sales’ workshops, there should be more questions and discussion contributions from the public. The introductory presentations from Health bosses were a gloss on what the STP means. They were followed by a counter argument from Steve Cowan, leader of H&F Council, which, with Ealing Council, has refused to sign the STP. Cllr Cowan stressed that the plans still include closure of Charing Cross Hospital in the future and Ealing much sooner. He also pointed out that the plans are working towards more cuts and more privatisation in the NHS.

SOH campaigners raised the important issues of lack of real consultation, of failures to provide evidence for their claims that moving care out of hospitals would work, of increasing pressures on GPs etc. And we gained a promise – yet to be fulfilled – that the CCG would send Merril, our Chair, the background papers providing both clinical and financial evidence for their plans … We will see… But, despite the ever increasing workload on GPs now and even more under the STP, Dr Tim Spicer, Chair of the CCG, stated explicitly that there is unlikely to be an increase in GP numbers. It would appear that, under the STP, GPs surgeries would be “reconfigured”, perhaps closed, with a smaller number of locations and that patients might lose their traditional and trusted relationship with their local GP surgery. We suspect the public (us!) won’t accept this!

STPs are clearly not going to work – and certainly not in the context of ongoing cuts to the budgets of local authorities and, in real terms, to health care.

If you live in H&F or in Ealing Boroughs, please write to your local councillors to say how much you support these councils’ rejection of STPs.

For those in other boroughs, please write to local councillors pointing out that the plans simply cannot work and that all borough councils will share the blame for the underfunding of our healthcare.

Across the country, in each of the 44 STP footprints, local people are finding that their local health services are under unprecedented attack. It is still the case that many areas have not published their STPs – the NW London STP was one of the first published because of a Freedom of Information request from campaigners in Brent. Other areas are also organising and protesting against the plans to cut health budgets and to reorganise health services – more and more acute hospitals are under threat.

SOH joined other London campaigns and campaigners from Grantham, Huddersfield and Banbury to protest at closure and reorganisation plans at a rally in Trafalgar Sq on Monday 10th October. London campaigners – from SOH, Ealing and Lewisham – were there to support the northern campaigners as they presented their petitions to the Dept of Health and to Downing Street.

The monthly Ipsos-MORI poll of public attitudes published across the media this week, shows concern about the NHS moving to the top priority again, a concern shared across the country because of the underfunding and undermining of the NHS and even further cuts to public health provision – a key feature of STPs.

Together we can fight these plans;  together we can win!


Thanks to all who joined us at the North End Road Autumn Market on 8th October – and thanks to H&F Council for again helping us to be there! We distributed leaflets, spoke to many people, got more signatures for our petition, received donations – and distributed badges and t-shirts for a donation!


A warm thanks to all those who have helped us deliver leaflets – in H&F and much more widely. Local supporters have already distributed many thousands of leaflets – with more about to be distributed.

We regularly produce leaflets with updated information for distribution. If you would like to join those who are delivering in their area, could you please email us at giving us contact details and we will get back to you.

SOH is a campaign group of local volunteers who are fighting to protect our health service. We are entirely dependent on contributions for our work. If you would like to contribute – and many thanks to those who have already done so! – you can send a contribution to Save Our Hospitals, 7 Kimbell Gardens, London SW6 6QG or pay directly into our account with Lloyds: Sort Code 309897 Account No. 39956060

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