|Puckshole resident Michael Lloyd|
We will need to campaign vigorously to make sure our NHS services remain public even if we win the case. Below is the press release from Stroud Against the Cuts - see also the video I edited here on the talk by Prof Wendy Savage.
Date Set for Legal Case Opposing Transfer of Gloucestershire’s Health Services out of NHS
The Judicial Review that Stroud resident, Michael Lloyd (supported by Stroud Against The Cuts) is pursuing, opposing the transfer of 9 Gloucestershire community hospitals, including Stroud General, 10 health clinics and other county wide services and staff out of the NHS and into a Social Enterprise or Community Interest Company called Gloucestershire Care Services[i], is due to be heard on February 8th.
If the Judicial Review is successful, it means the court will have decided that the process of transferring Gloucestershire’s health services out of the NHS and into a Community Interest Company was illegal and will have to be restarted. The management of NHS Gloucestershire will be faced with a choice concerning Gloucestershire’s community health services. They can either decide to try and outsource services or they can pursue various NHS options open to them. [ii] Outside the South West the most common model for community services is merger with other NHS Trusts.
James Beecher, Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts[iii] said: “This action has been taken
because Mr Lloyd and supported by Stroud Against The Cuts believe social enterprise
companies are not an alternative to the break-up and privatisation of the NHS but are part of that process. Social enterprises act as stepping stones to privatisation, allowing the private sector to compete for contracts after only a few years. [iv] When a social enterprise competes with big business, it is like local corner shops up against Tesco. We believe that setting up a social enterprise is damaging to patients and staff who risk the loss of NHS pay, conditions and pensions”
“The real choice is not social enterprise versus big business, it is between the NHS and the break-up of the NHS,” said Chris Moore. “There is no long term future for Gloucestershire Care Services, any more than there is for the other social enterprises in the Region.”
Mr Lloyd said: “There is a place for private enterprise, but not within our NHS and that is why I have chosen to take this legal action. The NHS needs to be about collaboration not competition. Private companies will only get involved if they can make a fast buck.”
“We’re pleased that the idea of moving health services out of the NHS is now going to get legal scrutiny. We encourage anyone who is interested in our campaign to look at our website www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk, and to attend events we will be organising in the near future”, added James Beecher.
The Judicial Review is supported by Stroud Mayor John Marjoram, ex-MP and SDC councillor David Drew, County Councillors Sarah Lunnon and Brian Oosthuysen along with many other councillors, trade unionists, health workers and local campaigners.[v]
Click Read More for Notes for editors:
[i] Without the legal challenge, Stroud General Hospital, Beeches Green health clinic and other community hospitals, health clinics and services in Gloucestershire would have been transferred to a private limited company outside the NHS. The services affected include District Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Specialist Nursing, Out of hours medical and nursing services, Pharmacy, Sexual Health and Chlamydia screening, Podiatry, Dental services, Wheelchair services, Musculo-skeletal services, Telehealth and Specialist Domiciliary care are also to be transferred to Gloucestershire Care Services Community Interest Company. Nine community hospitals (Stroud, Cirencester, Dilke, Fairford, Lydney, Bourton (Moore Cottage), Moreton, Tewkesbury, and the new Vale Hospital in Dursley) and nine health clinics (Beeches Green Stroud, Stonehouse Health Clinic, Cinderford Health Centre, Coleford Health Centre, Lydney Health Centre, Hesters Way Healthy Living Centre, Holts Health Centre Newent, Lydbrook Health Centre, Symn Lane Clinic (Wotton-under-Edge)) are also part of the plans.
[ii] NHS Gloucestershire could retain the services in house, as is happening in Devon. Alternatively, they could set up a standalone community NHS Trust, or transfer services to another NHS body, such as the 2gether Trust, both of which are routes which have been pursued elsewhere in the country.
[iii] Stroud Against the Cuts is a community group formed in November 2010. For more information see: http://www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk
[iv] In September, Central Surrey Health – a flagship healthcare social enterprise – lost out on a £500 million contract to Assura Medical, a private healthcare company 75% owned by Virgin Central Surrey Health story see: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8e187d7c-e2cc-11e0-93d9-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz1YaQCdKWz and http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/patrick-butler-cuts-blog/2011/sep/19/social-enterprise-big-society-gets-reality-check.
[v] The current list of signatories to an Open Letter written to the PCT by SATC includes:Dr. S. G. Subbuswamy, Gloucestershire County Councillor Steve McHale (Leader of the GCC Labour group), Gloucestershire County Cllr Brian Oosthuysen, Gloucestershire County Cllr Sarah Lunnon, Gloucestershire County Cllr Sonia Friend, Stroud District Cllr Philip Booth, Stroud District Cllr Molly Scott Cato, Stroud District Cllr Catherine Farrell, Stroud District Cllr Simon Pickering, Stroud District Cllr Martin Whiteside, Stroud District Cllr Simon Pickering, Stroud District Cllr Geoff Wheeler, Stroud District Cllr Paul Denny, and Steve Lydon, Chair, Stroud Constituency Labour Party.