First, Happy New Year to our supporters. It's been a very busy start to what is going to be a very active year in support of our NHS. Following the very successful meeting organised by H&F in December - thanks to all who came! - campaigners from Brent have extracted secret information from local NHS bosses using a Freedom of Information request. What we have learned is not reassuring about plans for OUR NHS. As we said in our press release:
Secret Plan to cut almost 8,000 NHS jobs and slash services in NW London.
Plans to slash NHS jobs and services have been developed in secret by NHS bureaucrats and only been uncovered thanks to a Freedom of Information request by a Brent health campaigner.
This revealed the NW London Delivery Plan for the STP Oct 16 labelled "strictly confidential not for wider circulation" and unseen even by some of the councils involved.
The plans include
The loss of 3,658 NHS jobs in NW London next year 17/18 - rising to 7753 job losses by 20/21
Almost 50,000 planned admissions and 222,370 outpatient appointments cut by 20/21. Already patient waiting times for planned operations are at record levels - these plans will only make things much, much worse.
The loss of 500 - 600 hospital beds with the closure of Charing Cross and Ealing as major acute hospitals
A reduction in A&E attendances by 64175 in the next 5 years.
More very ill patients have arrived at the remaining A&Es in NW London this year than ever before - there is NO evidence that there will not be a need for these departments and acute beds in the future. Merril Hammer, Chair of Save Our Hospitals, said ‘These plans threaten patients' lives. We need more beds and more staff, not ongoing cuts.’
The cost of planning this massive cuts and closure programme is spiralling out of control with many millions pocketed by private management consultants.
Faced with this crazy set of damaging proposals for NW London's health services it's no wonder Tracey Batten Chief Executive of Imperial NHS Trust (and the highest paid NHS CEO in London) resigned yesterday. Dr Batten is leaving her £340k job at Imperial to return to Australia. Imperial controls 5 hospitals across NW London. As Merril Hammer also said ‘Our campaign fears that Imperial management will spend months looking for a new CEO when they should be tackling the unprecedented A&E, bed capacity and treatment crises.’
Already, this has been picked up by Ross Lydall and used in the Evening Standard:
HOSPITAL STAFF WORKING FLAT-OUT
Supporters watching the BBC's documentary, HOSPITAL, will have seen Imperial Trust's staff working under almost unbearable pressure. At the Imperial Board meeting last week some of the key facts behind this pressure were revealed by clinical managers. Patients coming to A&E were waiting for hours to see doctors yet, as Prof. Tim Orchard, Director for Medicine and Integrated Care at Imperial, eloquently pointed out 'Patients who are coming in the the A&E need to be there. They have real conditions. They're often elderly. They need beds for several days. The trouble is, there are not sufficient beds.'
And another medical director pointed out that Imperial is falling way behind treatment targets in orthopaedics. The difficulty, he explained, is that need is rising but facilities are not expanding to meet genuine patient need. He also reported that many patients, offered private treatment, refuse because the private companies only treat simple conditions. This private treatment is paid for by the NHS and is therefore a loss of revenue to the NHS.
It is clear that inadequate funding and understaffing are putting patient health at risk.
WE ALSO NEED MORE NHS AMBULANCES
He fell off his bike, on black ice, rang emergency services but was left waiting on the side of the road before an NHS ambulance arrived. He was given some help by the crew of a passing private ambulance, but they did not have the appropriate training to treat him fully. When, eventually, the NHS ambulance arrived, Tom had a long trip to an Urgent Care Centre and then another long wait before being transferred to an appropriate acute A&E where his wounds were dressed publicly in a overcrowded waiting room.
PATIENTS SHOULD NOT HAVE TO SUFFER LIKE THIS! It is undercapacity in both hospitals and the ambulance service that leads to this poor treatment.
MARCH FOR THE NHS ON 4TH MARCH
JOIN SAVE OUR HOSPITALS
11.00am at Lyric Square - or from 12pm Tavistock Square, WC1
This is promising to be a massive demonstration in defence of our NHS. We urge all our supporters to attend if at all possible.
Can you help publicise the demo? We need your support to distribute leaflets as widely as possible. If you can help in your area, please contact us on SCH&X@gmail.com
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
Monday 30th January 5-7pm Healthwatch St Pauls Hammersmith. We will be leafleting from 4.45 with details of the demo.
SATURDAY 4TH FEBRUARY 2-4pm SPECIAL STALL LYRIC SQ. Valentine's Day special - come and sign our We Love the NHS Valentine's card and publicise the demo.
Wednesday 8th February 7.30pm Hammersmith Town Hall. SOH organising meeting. All welcome.
Saturday 11th February 2-4pm Stall at Charing Cross Hospital and Welcome to Unite the Community NHS bus. A good crowd would be good fun!
Tuesday 14th February 12-2pm Charing Cross Hospital - stall and presentation of Valentine's Card to Charing Cross hospital
Wednesday 15th February EALING PUBLIC MEETING - 7 - 9 pm Ealing Town Hall - Debate on Health Provision. Come and Support Ealing and H&F Councils in not signing up to closures of hospitals. (see www.ealingsaveournhs.org.uk )