29 Aug 2011

Save Our NHS - Stroud meeting

Wednesday 31st 7-7.30pm at the Subscription Rooms in Stroud there will be the 'Save our NHS' meeting that will include a UNISON speaker and our MP. It looks set to be very interesting. Meanwhile below is the text from our local Green Party leaflet that we have been handing out over the weekend.

In 2006 3,000 people marched to save Stroud Maternity Hospital but we lost other key services like Weavers Croft. It is vital that these changes do not go-ahead. Please join the meeting and voice any concerns.See copy of my latest email to our MP here.

What’s happening to the NHS?

The sell-off of the NHS started under the Thatcher era with cleaning, catering and portering. We got MRSA! It was continued under Blair with ‘outsourcing’ of clinical services, hospital building and management. It is now known that billions of pounds have been lost to the NHS through inefficient PFI (Private Finance Initiative) projects. Now under Cameron/Clegg the trickle has become a torrent with the NHS ‘reconfigured’ from the top down as a ‘service buyer’ rather than a ‘service provider’.

Privatisation pushes costs up….

Private companies earn money for their shareholders, directors and advertising to win more ‘customers’. The extra costs will come from your taxes. Private companies ‘cherry pick’ easier, more profitable treatment, leaving the complex or time consuming treatments of the elderly, obese or those with mental health needs to the public sector – a two-tier system is created.

Our NHS is efficient…..

A recent study showed our NHS to be the second most efficient in the world, far more efficient than the American system that Cameron is trying to copy.

You have seen what can happen….

The collapse of Southern Cross Care Homes shows what can happen when essential services are left to the private sector. They can be asset stripped and go bankrupt. The poor, young and old will be most vulnerable if the local hospital goes bust.

A broken promise….

The Conservatives promised before the election there wouldn’t be another top-down re-organisation of the NHS. We now have the largest top-down re-organisation of the health service since it was started in 1948. The re-organisation is due to cost at least £3billion and cause years of chaos. We need the NHS to be left to do what it does best – treat patients!

What’s proposed for Stroud?

It is proposed that our general hospital and nearly all other NHS services in Gloucestershire be taken out of NHS management and be managed by a so-called ‘Community Interest Company’.  3,000 staff currently working for the NHS would be transferred to this new company. These changes are being pushed through incredibly fast:

·      Why has there been practically no consultation with staff (as they are expected to run it)?
·      Why is there is no indication how ‘the community’ (you and me) will be able to exert our ‘interest’ in this company? How will there be accountability to patients?
·      Even if transferred staff keep their employment rights, what about any new staff employed by the company?
·      Will the company be able to be taken over or sold?
·      Why are these changes being proposed – what is wrong with the present service?

The Green Party believes the NHS should be:

·      Publicly owned and run for the benefit of patients, not shareholders – our health should not be treated as a market;
·      Free at the point of use – abolish existing charges for prescriptions, eye tests and dental treatment and ensure NHS chiropody is widely available;
·      Provide free social care to the elderly – if the Scots can do it so can we in England and Wales. This would cost about £3bn in 2011 – about the same as the current re-organisation! It would also create 120,000 jobs.
·      Accessible, local community health centres - providing a wide range of services, including out of hours care, and as an additional tier of healthcare rather than a replacement for your GP.
·      Focus more on preventing ill-health - including tackling unhealthy lifestyles and environmental pollution.
·      Patients should have choice, but not phoney choice – most of us simply want good treatment at our local hospital.
·     Treat patients with dignity – patients have both rights and responsibilities, they are not customers who can come and go.
·      We support social enterprise as an alternative to private enterprise – not as back door privatisation of public services.

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