Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Turn Up on Tuesday

NW London's Shaping a Healthier Future programme was an early blueprint for the current Sustainability & Transformation Plan which is itself a blueprint for STPs across England - including spinning the cuts as improvements, pinning hopes on community services without adequate resources or evidence, no genuine consultation, an irresponsible speed and a lack of detail. Fortunately there's a growing understanding  that the government's STPs are effectively closure programmes. This week British Medical Association leader Dr Mark Porter warned that they risk being used as cover for cuts. Growing number of people across England are cottoning on and getting together to defend their NHS. Campaigners have forced secret plans to be published and an increasing number of local authorities and clinicians are condemning them including medical students at Imperial College:


NW London is still at the forefront of this opposition crucially in the refusal of 2 councils Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham to sign up to the STPs because of the plans to close Charing Cross and Ealing Hospitals. H&F Council has organised a public meeting on 29th November to let local people know what's going on and discuss what can be done - from window posters to leafleting to a possible legal challenge:


This meeting is important - so important that NHS bureaucrats have tried to rubbish it putting out a statement that CX hospital is safe  - but only for 5 years. What they don't say is that it is only still open because campaigners have fought for it, that they have neither the money or staff to provide a safe alternative and that despite their huge deficit they are still hoping to redevelop St Mary's and need CX open in the short term as a place to decant patients. Their long term plan is still to knock it down and sell it off getting rid of 300 plus beds and all acute services including an A&E. What will be left sounds like a glorified outpatient centre with a few beds and an urgent care centre.

Save Charing Cross and Ealing Hospitals Public Meeting called by H&F Council on Tuesday, Nov 29 at 7pm Hammersmith Town Hall

SOH Leafleting

To publicise this important meeting Save Our Hospitals is giving out leaflets do join us if you can:

SOH Leafleting Thurs Nov 24th 11 - 1 Hammersmith Hospital
SOH Leafleting Thurs Nov 24th 5.30 - 6.30 Barons Court tube
SOH Leafleting Thurs Nov 24th 5.30 - 6.30 Ravenscourt Park tube
SOH Stall Fri Nov 25th 5.30 - 6.30 Ravenscourt Park tube
SOH Leafleting Mon Nov 28th 11 - 1 CX Hospital 
SOH Stall Mon Nov 28th 5.30 - 6.30pm Ravenscourt Park tube
SOH Stall Mon Nov 28th 5.30 - 6.30 Hammersmith tube (Fulham Palace Rd entrance)

Saturday Stall
SOH Sat Stall Nov 26th 2 - 4 Shepherds Bush Market entrance Uxbridge Rd

Regards AD (SOH secretary)

Saturday, 19 November 2016

A&E, cancer and maternity units to close in major NHS overhaul

As detailed healthcare strategy plans emerge and opposition grows, local hospitals face the loss of thousands of beds

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh argues that centralising some types of medical care benefits patients. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images


Thousands of hospital beds are set to disappear, pregnant women will face long trips to give birth and a string of A&E units will be downgraded or even closed altogether as part of controversial NHS plans to reorganise healthcare in England.

A Guardian analysis of the 24 NHS regional plans that have now been published – more than half the total of 44 – has found that health service chiefs plan to push through an unprecedented centralisation of key hospital services across England.

Opposition to the plans is growing among campaign groups, councillors and a growing number of MPs, including Conservatives, in areas where major changes are planned amid fears that patients will be unable to access urgent care quickly enough.

Dozens of England’s 163 acute hospitals look likely to have services, including cancer, trauma and stroke care, removed as a result of the plans, which are at the heart of the new funding package for the NHS. The thinking behind the changes is that some NHS services can be rationalised and managed more efficiently, helping improve patient care, tackling understaffing and helping the NHS save £22bn by 2020 as part of the wider financial settlement agreed for the current parliament.

Prof Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS’s medical director, and clinical leaders involved in drawing up the plans argue that centralising some types of medical care benefits patients and improves their chances of a good outcome because doctors deal with more cases of certain ailments.

Many of the plans make clear that widespread staff shortages are another key driver. They hope that by concentrating sometimes scarce medical personnel in fewer places they can ensure consultant presence more often than otherwise and so help realise Hunt’s ambition of a more 24/7 NHS.

However, local resistance is building up as details emerge. Campaigners in Cumbria, for example, are warning that patients will die, including mothers and babies, if they have to travel 40 miles from Whitehaven to Carlisle for care – a journey that can take up to two hours depending on the time of day, weather and traffic levels, they say.

“Centralisation of services won’t work in Cumbria,” said Annette Robson, a campaigner from the We Need West Cumberland Hospital Group. The hospital’s A&E unit is set to be downgraded, with more serious urgent and emergency cases having to go to Carlisle for treatment.

“We are not asking for specialist services. We are asking for basic provision of a 24/7 A&E and a consultant-led maternity unit in Whitehaven,” she said. “If they go, there is no doubt that lives, including those of mothers and babies, will be lost on the 40-plus mile journey to Carlisle from Whitehaven.”

Many of the published plans give few details of their exact implications. But those that do make clear that several thousand beds in acute district general hospitals are likely to be cut. They include 535 in Derbyshire and 400 each in Devon and West Yorkshire and 30% of all beds in hospitals in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

South-west London will also see its bed capacity shrink considerably when one of St George’s (1,038 beds), Kingston (520 beds), Croydon (443 beds), Epsom (374 beds) or St Helier (525 beds) hospitals lose all their acute services, because the plans for that area say that five acute hospitals cannot be sustained.

The plans are the vehicles for implementing locally the NHS Five Year Forward View, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens’s blueprint for transforming services to cope with the growing demand for care while also delivering the £22bn of savings he has pledged to find by 2020.

Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has backed them, but stressed that potentially unpopular decisions will be taken by local NHS and council leaders, and not by ministers. Theresa May is said to have recently told Stevens to ensure that hospital closure plans did not become a big issue in newspapers.

Conservative MP Dr Daniel Poulter, who was a health minister until May 2015, said he feared the real potential of the plans to improve the quality of care could be lost because the need to make savings will become a top priority.


Mounting protests could coalesce into a political challenge for the government, he added. “Given that the NHS is often seen through the prism of hospital services changes and closures in marginal seats, the political consequences of how the plans are being forced to operate will soon be all too apparent,” Poulter said.

The exact number of bed losses will increase substantially as a result of plans in most of the 44 areas to provide a wide range of specialist medical services at many fewer sites than at present. The areas involved include parts of Somerset, Cheshire and Merseyside, Bedford, Luton and Milton Keynes. None of the 24 plans spells out who will be the winners and losers from the reorganisation.

Several hospitals face being “gutted” of key services, say critics. For example, Bedford hospital will lose its A&E and consultant-led maternity units and the ability to undertake most emergency surgery.

Similarly, plans to change utterly the role of Barnstaple hospital in Devon have already prompted a 4,000-strong protest march. Chester MP Chris Matheson has started a campaign to stop the closure of the city’s Countess of Chester hospital, which is at risk because of a mooted merger with two others.

Many hundreds of beds in community hospitals are also set to go, despite the key role they play in rehabilitating mainly elderly patients – for example, those who have had surgery or a fall. Devon plans to close four community hospitals altogether, as does Dorset (three) and Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (two).

All the proposals in the plans will be put out to public consultation, so may be changed as a result of opposition. But Stevens and other senior NHS bosses have made clear that a radical transformation in how the NHS functions is needed.

NHS England says that a huge increase in care outside hospitals, including in partients’ homes, and much greater efforts to keep people healthier for longer, will reduce the need for beds in hospital.

A&E units at hospitals in Macclesfield, Milton Keynes, Teesside and Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire are all likely to be downgraded.

Maternity care at the Horton hospital in Banbury, Oxfordshire, is likely to be supervised in future only by midwives, not doctors. Centralisation of childbirth units is also set to lead to downgrading at Yeovil hospital in Somerset, and also at as yet unidentified hospitals in Surrey, Birmingham and Solihull and Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, among others.

“Despite the flannel and platitudes these STPs are NHS England’s way of forcing local health bosses to make cuts, since genuine savings on this scale cannot be delivered,” said Dr John Lister, a health policy expert and co-ordinator of the Health Campaigns Together group.

But Prof Chris Ham, chief executive of the King’s Fund, said STP-driven downgrades of certain services were in effect painful medicine that the NHS had to take to ensure it survives.

“The public may be understandably concerned about travelling further to access A&E care. But in many cases that will be a price worth paying for a higher standard of care, and the same would apply to maternity services. Overall this is a painful process that the NHS has to go through,” added Ham.

An NHS England spokesman defended the plans as necessary modernisation. “Our NHS has constantly adapted to improve services for patients, taking advantage of new opportunities and making commonsense changes in areas that really matter to patients – making it easier to see a GP, providing more specialist services in people’s homes, speeding up cancer diagnosis and offering help faster to people with mental illness.

“We are talking about steady incremental improvement, not a big bang, tackling things doctors and nurses have been telling us for years. By continuing to adapt to a changing world, the NHS will be able to secure a better service for future generations”.

Stephen Naulls, medical student at Imperial College, writes about the campaign to SAVE Charing Cross Hospital..






























http://felixonline.co.uk/issuearchive/issue/1488/download/

Revealed: King's College Hospital patient was left waiting almost two days on trolley


Delay: the patient was at King’s College Hospital Alamy


A patient waited almost two days on a trolley in one of London’s biggest A&E units because of a shortage of specialist beds, it was revealed today.

King’s College Hospital, in Denmark Hill, was forced to keep the patient in its casualty department for 45 hours 50 minutes because a delay in finding a bed in a specialist psychiatric unit.

It was one of 15 cases between April and June in which the hospital trust kept patients on a trolley for more than 12 hours. All 15 were mental health patients and the delays were caused by the shortage of psychiatric beds in other hospitals.

The delays were exposed in responses to freedom of information requests by the Labour Party. They also show that St George’s Hospital in Tooting kept a patient on an A&E trolley for 36 hours 18 minutes — the second longest period in the country. This case also involved a mental health patient.

Patients are normally expected to be given a hospital bed within four hours of a decision to admit them. Across Britain 380 patients spent more than 12 hours waiting for a bed between April and June — compared with 130 in the same period the previous year. Over the 12 months ending in June, 1,264 people waited more than 12 hours.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “These freedom of information requests expose the reality of what’s really going on in our NHS under the Tories: hospital beds full, A&Es overflowing and patients waiting for longer than 12 hours on trolleys waiting to be given a bed on a ward.”

Cuts warning: Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (PA)


Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, MP for Tooting and a former A&E doctor at St George’s, added: “Wandsworth council has cut social care budgets by over £10 million this year, making it harder to treat people at home and to get them home quickly after a stay in hospital. This story isn’t unique, it’s happening up and down the country. The Government must give hospitals the funding they need. Without significant investment the situation will get worse.”

King’s said that as it had no psychiatric beds, such delays were beyond its control. “Regrettably, patients who spend the longest time in our emergency department tend to be those with serious mental health problems who require a bed at a psychiatric hospital,” a spokeswoman added. 

In its response to the FOI request, the trust said: “The process of detaining a patient under the Mental Health Act ... can exceed the emergency care target and occasionally involve a lengthy stay in the emergency department. Common causes for delays include the re-quirement for a second assessment from an independent psychiatrist, and the search for a bed. Demand for mental health beds exceeds capacity and it can take several hours.

“The patient cannot be moved until the bed has been identified and the patient seen and assessed by an approved social worker. Secure transport is then required.”

While waiting, “the patient will have a treatment plan, risk assessment and supervision. Staff will also ensure the patient has access to food, fluids and is cared for in a safe environment”.

St George’s said its patient was cared for in a dedicated assessment unit within but separate to the main A&E. A spokesman added: “Waiting times in our emergency department have re-duced significantly in recent months.

“In exceptional circumstances we are unable to transfer patients to a ward or another hospital as soon as a decision has been made to admit them. All patients are kept under observation, and given specialist care.”



Evening Standard 17/11/2016


STPs: Secretly Transmitted Privatisation

While councils in Greater Manchester collaborate with the plans to privatise our NHS, two councils at the other end of the country are refusing to cooperate as John Furse explains ….

Hammersmith & Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) called it a ‘public engagement’. But their October 3rd event at St Paul’s Church, Hammersmith proved to be more military than matrimonial in connotation. Angry Save Our NHS campaigners overrode the CCG’s agenda with repeated demands for information on NHS England’s Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STP). The STPs update NHS England’s 5-Year Forward View blueprint for restructuring the NHS and reducing its deficits. They involve major cuts, a drastic reconfiguration of health provision and making patients and their communities increasingly responsible for their own healthcare. The plans are seen by campaigners as the coup de grace in the dismantling of the NHS and handing over its profitable parts in marketable entities to the private sector.


In West London alone this would mean the axing of Charing Cross and Ealing Hospitals’ A & E departments, the loss of over 500 beds at Charing Cross, the sell-off of buildings and land for luxury flats development and its conversion to a modest clinic. A ‘gold rush’ for planned asset sell-offs at St Mary’s Paddington is anticipated. But much of NHS England’s plans remain shrouded in obfuscation and uncertainty.

Councils, along with CCGs and hospital trusts like North West London’s Imperial NHS Trust, have been made responsible for enacting the plans. But LBH&F and Ealing Councils are refusing to collaborate with the STP cuts. So far they’re the only two councils in England to do so. The councils’ refusal follows their commissioning of Michael Mansfield QC’s damning report on the 5-Year Plans for NW London. These demand the cut of a projected £1.3 billion deficit by 2020, the largest cut of any NHS ‘footprint’ in England, and the creation of a £55 million surplus, City-speak for making a business attractive to bidders. The STPs are being rushed through to complete this massive turnaround in only 4 years, without any clear assessment of the risks involved, who will be responsible for what, or plans for funding of services, critics say. That the NW London plans are costing the taxpayer £1.3 billion to implement, much of it for business consultants like US behemoth McKinsey, doesn’t enhance their standing. Meanwhile, by withholding adequate funding, the Government continues to fragment and weaken the NHS as a public service, with chronically overstretched A & E services, a beds crisis accentuated by the privatisation of hospital wards and care homes, and lengthy waiting lists.

The STPs do contain some reasonable sounding proposals for modernising the NHS – the use of new technologies, service rationalisations and efficiency savings. But as a well-established local GP says; “All this could be done by the (non-privatised) NHS”. Like many GPs he sees privatisation, with all its financial incentivisation and division of doctors, staff, services and units into competitive entities, as detrimental to his patients’ interests. How can patients trust doctors who are being forced to work as business people driven by market imperatives? Human relationships and collaboration between medical practitioners, GPs and their patients have always been key to the NHS’ exceptional public esteem. “Competition has no place in public healthcare. And the idea of asking for a credit card is repugnant”, the local GP states.

Privately provided services, with shareholder dividends, costly bank loans, large add-on ‘management’ fees and high executives’ rewards, are also a lot more expensive than publicly funded ones, as the saddling of the NHS with over £80 billion in repayments on private sector hospital investments (PFIs) of £11.6 billion has proved. International studies show that the admin costs of private sector marketing – tendering, consultants, lawyers, billing, accountants, auditors – double, even triple, public sector admin costs. NHS admin has soared since privatisation. The £200 million costs of ‘health tourism’ pale in comparison to the estimated £5-10 billion or more that privatisation is costing taxpayers every year. That’s where waste really lies.
How our healthcare costs will be met, if not by inexpensive State investment and modest tax increases on the best off, is also obfuscated. At a Parliamentary Health Enquiry in May Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt invoked the USA’s private health insurance-based model. Apart from being the most expensive in the world this privatised system is notorious for putting corporate profits before patients’ needs. Those that are seen as risky – smokers, drinkers, the ageing, those with a medical or mental history – face hefty premiums or can be denied insurance cover. Claims by ‘customers’ who they do accept can be whittled down to leave patients footing outstanding bills. Unsurprisngly healthcare costs are the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the US.
When confronted by local Save Our Hospitals campaigners at Imperial Trust’s AGM on September 14th Board Chairman Sir Richard Sykes, Glaxo
​ ​Smith
​ ​Kline’s former chair, invoked European models of public healthcare. But none of these systems, with combinations of health insurance and patients’ payments, are as cost-effective as our old tax-funded and publicly provided NHS, as international studies have shown. Where once our nationalised NHS was a world leader a recent OECD report placed the now part-privatised NHS 28th out of 30 for healthcare resources, with fewer doctors, nurses, beds and medical scanners than most wealthy countries. We have only 2.7 beds per 1000 compared to 6.3 in France, 8.2 in Germany and 13.3 in Japan.

Hammersmith & Fulham CCG abandoned its event’s scheduled round-table confabs with local residents on executing the plans as campaigners tore into the lack of proper public consultation and the STP’s lack of a clear strategy or business plan. “You have a responsibility to defend the health of local residents!” said one local campaigner. “We have a responsibility to work within our budget” responded the CCG’s supremo Clare Parker. The budget has indeed been imposed on them by NHS England. Its CEO Simon Stevens, a former senior executive of US private healthcare and insurance giant United Health, is seen by campaigners as the Government’s hatchet man. He has the same Nuremberg defence as the CCGs – ultimate responsibility for public spending lies with the politicians. And the Government appears bent on privatising as much of the NHS as it can by 2020.

In 1977 Thatcher pin-up Nicholas Ridley declared to the Conservatives’ Economic Reconstruction Group “Denationalisation should not be attempted by frontal attack, but by a policy of preparation for return to the private sector by stealth. We should first pass fresh legislation to destroy the public sector monopolies. We might also need to take power to sell assets. Secondly, we should fragment the industries as far as possible; and set up the units as separate profit centres.” The STPs are bringing to a head over 30 years of this stealthy NHS privatisation under both Labour and Tory administrations. “Only the public can save the NHS” says East End GP and NHS campaigner Dr Youssef El-Gingihy. That’s you, dear reader.

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:
http://www.healthcampaignstogether.com/pdf/Resource%20pack.pdf

and here: https://weownit.org.uk/blog/its-our-nhs-dont-slash-trash-and-privatise

For the Facebook event for the National Demonstration "It's Our NHS" look here: 
https://www.facebook.com/events/1771664639725061/

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?







Monday, 14 November 2016

SECRET PLAN TO AXE HOSPITALS...



NHS plans to close hospitals and A&E departments kept secret from the public, investigation finds
Health managers have been told not to reveal the plans to the public or the media
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/hospital-closures-stps-secret-kept-nhs-ae-public-kings-fund-england-chris-ham-stp-a7415836.html



Sustainability and transformation plans in the NHS
How are they being developed in practice?

Shortage of 3,000 A&E doctors revealed amid warnings NHS faces 'toughest winter yet'

Jeremy Hunt is criticised for his role in £650m Virgin hospital deal

Virgin Care among firms with lucrative NHS deals and a tax haven status
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/21/ow-lucrative--deals-go-to-firms-that-use-tax-havens?CMP=share_btn_tw


Campaigners demand Brexiteers live up to £350m NHS promise and pay junior doctors more
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/350m-nhs-brexit-promise-bus-junior-doctors-chris-grayling-a7415286.html?utm_content=bufferaf0bf&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

It looks to me that the NHS is on the verge of a collective nervous breakdown.
http://myemail.constantcontact.com/How-difficult-is-that.html?soid=1102665899193&aid=9ioK0cmKVwI


"​
Heartening to see 'Save Charing Cross Hospital' posters going up in H&F residents' windows. Public 
​meeting​
 at Town Hall on 29 Nov, 7.30pm.
​" Cllr Ben Coleman








Popular Posts

Follow by Email