Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Street protests could halt hospital closures - NHS boss

Plans to shut down Lewisham's A&E and maternity units sparked protests in2013 CREDIT: TELEGRAPH

Hospital closures planned to shore up NHS finances could be derailed if enough people take to the streets in protest, a health service chief has said.
Chris Hopson, leader of England’s hospitals sector, said public unrest and opposition by local MPs could scupper so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), which are billed as crucial to the long-term viability of the health service.
On Monday the respected think tank The King’s Fund heavily criticised health bosses for trying to organise the sweeping closure of hospitals and NHS units in secret, moves which it said could put lives at risk.
It’s very difficult for the NHS to proceed with wholescale change if you’ve got people out on the streetsChris Hopson, NHS Providers
Yesterday Mr Hopson, Chief Executive of NHS Providers, said architects of the schemes were so far failing to engage local communities, which “have the ability to sink plans they don’t support”.
“It’s very difficult for the NHS to proceed with wholescale change if you’ve got people out on the streets marching with placards and banners and saying “don’t do this”,” he said.
“Fundamentally you can’t make big changes to service provision without taking local people with you.”
The plans follow an admission in May that the provider sector overspent by a historic £2.45 billion in the last financial year.
The country has been divided into 44 areas, with each ordered to come up with a proposal that both closes the gap and caters for booming patient demand.
So far the plans involve the closure of one of five major hospitals in South West London, an A&E unit in the North East of England, the loss of almost 600 beds in Devon and the possible closure of two A&E units in St Helens and West Lancashire.
Mr Hopson yesterday said unit closures were too widely being regarded as a “silver bullet” to make the “overambitious and undeliverable” plans conform to tight budgets.
“We have become obsessed by the money and not got the public engagement right,” he said.
“We are also trying to do it too quickly.”
But Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS medical director, has this week there was “plenty of time” for the public to shape the changes.
Sustainability and Transformation Plans are the governments latest weapon in implementing cuts and privatisation to our National Health Service. 

​Watch this video clip:

For a detailed explanation of what they entail, look here:

and here:

For the Facebook event for the National Demonstration "It's Our NHS" look here:

Don't let Jeremy Hunt, Simon Stevens and Theresa May give our healthcare to private companies. Join the demo, join the fightback!

Ask your councillors not to Slash, Trash and Privatise the NHS

Your local councillors can push back NHS privatisation by saying no to the so-called 'Sustainability and Transformation Plan' (STP) for your area. These plans are being forced on councils in secret. They will be used to justify more privatisation and leave the NHS in such a state that it's impossible to run effectively. Councils need to: 
  • Publish and scrutinise the plans - at the moment, only 15 out of 44 have been published
  • Refuse to sign up to the plans - just like they have done in Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing and Sutton
Use the letter below to write to your councillors. The more you personalise it, the better. What's your major concern? What's happened to the NHS in your local area? Are there any services you or your family use that you are worried about?

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