Excellent response today in Hanley in support of the NHS. It was part of many such protests, demonstrations outside hospitals and in city centres across the country.
Save Longton Cottage Hospital (SLCH) campaigners were joined by the nurses union RCN members, Stoke Socialist Party members and other local activists to give out leaflets to hundreds of people. Many people queued up to sign petitions, take away badges, leaflets etc.
RCN members are carrying out a summer of nationwide protests over their pay which has fallen by a staggering 14% in real terms since 2010.
The SLCH campaign is fighting to get the hospital’s beds re-opened and to stop it’s closure.
These campaigns like many others across the country are all part of the battle to stop the Tories from dismantling and privatising our NHS. And they will continue until we force the Tory government to scrap their plans.
SLCH is affiliated to Health Campaigns Together. The national campaign group which organised the marvellous demo to save our NHS in London on 4 March 2017.


Join us to celebrate 69 years of the NHS and to continue the fight against the government’s under-investment in the NHS and its hard-working staff.

Wednesday 5th July 12noon -2pm
Blue Clock Tower, Hanley

The protest is being hosted by Save Longton Cottage Hospital (SLCH) campaign group and the nurses union, the RCN. It will be just one of the many protests that will take place around the country on 5 July to celebrate our NHS.

We are calling on all local groups, trade unions and individuals who want to defend our NHS and its staff to come along to our protest. Bring your banners or posters if you have them or maybe make some if you haven’t!

  • SLCH is affiliated to Health Campaigns Together which helped organise the marvellous demo of over 200,000 in London on 4 March.
  • RCN members are taking part in a summer of protest over pay, which has fallen by a staggering 14% in real terms since 2010.




John Morrey explains why we need to fight to defend our NHS

In the two years we’ve been running the #SaveLongtonCottage campaign we’ve seen the beds at Longton, Bradwell and Cheadle taken away, Leek Hospital loses its beds in October and now Haywood has been placed on the list ‘considered for closure’.

The CCG, doing the dirty work for the Tories, argue that Royal Stoke can cope with a huge increase in patient numbers, therefore we have no need for local beds in local hospitals. This is a ridiculous position to take, as the many staff and patients we’ve spoken to are in no doubt that Royal Stoke cannot cope with the workload it currently has. Loading more work onto a hospital that is already stretched beyond reasonable and safe limits is a recipe for disaster.

This situation is not unique to North Staffordshire, the NHS as a whole is facing ever increasing pressure as a direct result of government policy. Their response to the concerns of NHS staff is to dismiss them as ‘complainers and malcontents who are resistant to change’. No. They are dedicated, hard working, conscientious people who see the public service that they love, that they know the true value of, being downgraded, purposely overloaded and all for one reason. To enable the government to claim that the NHS, OUR NHS, isn’t up to the job so let’s bring the private sector in to make it all better. You only need look to the railways and the utility companies to see that privatisation does not make things better, it simply makes money for the private sector, taking profits away to the tax havens of the rich and resulting in a bad deal for the public who provide the funding in the first place.



Join us to celebrate 69 years of the NHS and to continue the fight against the government’s under-investment in the NHS and its hard-working staff.



The protest is being hosted by Save Longton Cottage Hospital (SLCH) campaign group and the nurses union, the RCN. It will be just one of the many protests that will take place around the country on 5 July to celebrate our NHS.

We are calling on all local groups, trade unions and individuals who want to defend our NHS and its staff to come along to our protest. Bring your banners or posters if you have them or maybe make some if you haven’t!

  • SLCH is affiliated to Health Campaigns Together which helped organise the marvellous demo of over 200,000 in London on 4 March.
  • RCN members are taking part in a summer of protest over pay, which has fallen by a staggering 14% in real terms since 2010.

Not enough beds – operations cancelled again!

Problem? “Planned operations have been cancelled because critical care beds are swamped with victims of a flu outbreak. The routine cases were called off as no beds were left for them to be moved to for recovery after leaving theatre.” See the Sentinel 22 March here …..

Conclusion? We do not have enough beds to deal with an outbreak of flu. But there is an ‘outbreak of flu’ every year at some point.

Answer? Re-open beds at Longton Cottage Hospital, scrap ongoing plans to close more beds and provide sufficient beds to ensure that there is never a shortage of beds again.

Sentinel says, ‘Nowhere to go’ for 150 patients? We say “RE-OPEN BEDS at Longton Cottage Hospital NOW!”

Checkout the report in the Sentinel 17 February here ……

We say,

Local Health bosses have spent many hundreds of thousands of pounds over a year trying to convince themselves that closing 37 beds at Longton Cottage Hospital was a great idea. In the process they ignored the more than 10,000 local people who stated in writing their opposition to their plans.

Yesterday in the Sentinel (see link above) we had the latest ‘shortage of beds’ story in a long line of similar revelations in recent years.

When are these local Health bosses on their bloated salaries going to accept that their so-called ‘New Model of Care’ is a failure? And it will continue to be a failure because of on-going cuts in government spending in the NHS and plans to privatise services as much as possible.

The time has surely come for the local Health bosses to admit that their closure of beds at Longton Cottage Hospital are making the situation worse and that they should be re-opened now to provide at least some of the beds that are so desperately needed.

“Delays at A&E can’t go on” – Time to re-open beds at Longton Cottage!

In the Sentinel 22nd December 2015 under the headline, “36 hospital beds open to prevent winter crisis”, an unnamed ‘NHS official’ told us, “Last year the health care economy experienced severe winter pressures which resulted in unacceptable waiting times for patients accessing A&E.

This is why we have spent much of the last year planning a number of measures to help the system work better for patients and staff”.

Since then we have seen the winter’s first patient to wait on a trolley in A&E for more than 12 hours. In the Sentinel 9th January under the heading “Delays at A&E can’t go on” we are now told by CCG chief officer Marcus Warnes that, “Significant measures have been taken by partners to address the challenge but the sustained improvements expected have not happened as planned.

Despite best efforts from all we are just not making progress. We are certainly better placed now than at this time last year as a huge amount of work has been done to re-shape the system but there are still cases of people being in the wrong place clinically.”

But Marcus Warnes along with others running our local CCG’s are the ones responsible for closing 37 beds at Longton Cottage Hospital and refusing to reopen them despite the obvious need for extra beds. They have spent over a year and hundreds of thousands of pounds carrying out a so called consultation. This ‘consultation’ is basically designed to convince people that we don’t need those beds and that we don’t really need Longton Cottage or all our other local hospitals.

Now they talk about bringing in ‘experts’ to sort out this mess. But ‘experts’ are not needed. There are empty wards at Longton Cottage and beds in ‘storage’. Surely it’s quite simple! Re-open those wards, bring the beds out of storage to be used whenever they are needed to take pressure of the A&E. In this way potential fatalities could be prevented BEFORE they actually take place.

Read more at: http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Outside-help-failing-E-Royal-Stoke/story-28476721-detail/story.html#ixzz3wp6eTpPW

“Shortage of beds – worst is yet to come”

According to a recent report, Hospitals are reporting significant problems discharging patients. In some areas, 20% of hospital beds are occupied by patients ready to leave hospital but cannot be discharged because of a lack of community services available to care for them. See more here …

Royal College of Emergency Medicine president Dr Cliff Mann predicts the “worst is yet to come”.

He says, “The majority of hospitals have endeavoured to increase the number of beds available to cope. Despite this, elective operations have had to be cancelled and postponed as bed capacity is insufficient to cope.”

So why have our local Health Bosses spent TWO YEARS carrying out an expensive and sham consultation to force the closure of 37 valuable beds at Longton Cottage Hospital?

SAVE LONGTON COTTAGE HOSPITAL has said from day one that the NHS Health Bosses so called consultation is merely a marketing exercise for what they have already decided to do. That is, to do what they are paid to do – dismantle and privatise our NHS.

Their six public ‘consultation’ events are now over. They have taken place, in the Moat House, Etruria, Fenton Manor, Longton, Leek, Bentilee and Cheadle. We estimate that less than 50 ordinary local people have attended these meetings in total.

Why have local people shunned their events? Because, we don’t like being conned! Health Bosses have failed to answer crucial questions surrounding their ‘consultation’. How can a serious consultation be carried out about closing the beds at Longton Cottage when they have already been closed! And how can they claim that their ‘New model’ of care in the community is viable when, “patients ready to leave hospital but cannot be discharged because of a lack of community services available to care for them” is the real situation which exists right now – before further cuts to NHS funding?

SAVE LONGTON COTTAGE HOSPITAL demonstrated how a real, meaningful consultation should have been carried out at our first consultation public event in Longton on 17 August. That is, with representatives of Local Health Bosses AND of those opposed to their plans given an equal opportunity to put forward their cases for and against.

This is one reason why there was almost three times more local people at this one event than at all of their 6 public ‘consultation’ events added together.

And the unanimous rejection of their proposals at our Longton public meeting was one reason why all of their 6 events were stage-managed to limit the attendance and make sure that they were strictly controlled. Read a detailed report of their Moat House event here.


After the consultation sham ….

“Where next in the fight to save Longton Cottage Hospital?”

Monday 30 November at 7.30pm in OUR BAR, London Rd, Stoke.

All Welcome

NO to consultation scam! – YES to SAVE LONGTON COTTAGE HOSPITAL!

SLCH - outside Moat House consultation meet

Sham consultation inside the Moat House as dozens honk car horns outside to show their support for SAVE LONGTON COTTAGE HOSPITAL

We have argued from day one that the ‘consultation’ being carried out by local Health Bosses is a sham. It has nothing to do with consultation but everything to do with attempting to sell a decision that they have already made.

Their first ‘consultation’ meeting on Friday 23 October in the Moat House Hotel, Etruria confirmed what we have previously said. There were just 23/24 people in attendance which is not surprising when it took place in the daytime in a ‘posh’ hotel in an area that is beyond walking distance for anyone without transport. This means that tens of thousands of people who were working at that time along with thousands of others without transport were in effect ‘locked out’ or ‘priced out’ of this gathering.

Around half of the 24 people present were from the local CCG’s! It felt like they were trying to convince themselves that closure of Longton Cottage Hospital beds is necessary and that their own ‘new model’ of health care in the community will actually work.

Local Health Boss Marcus Warnes was given about 20 minutes to present their case. No time was given to anyone to present an alternative view. We were told by Marcus that this was not a consultation about Longton Cottage Hospital but about their ‘new model’ of community health care.

Only brief questions were allowed. Andy Bentley, representing Save Longton Cottage Hospital, was interrupted by the ‘impartial chair person’ because his question was too long! (See below)

Those at the meeting were then divided up into three different groups for more questions and discussion. Even here it was felt necessary to pack the groups with local CCG employees and others who are being paid to try to sell their plans. In effect, the event was a stage managed marketing exercise to sell their ‘new model of care’.

Compare this with the first consultation meeting organised by SAVE LONGTON COTTAGE HOSPITAL (SLCH) on 17 August in St Gregory’s Church in Longton. An impressive 120 local people attended to hear Health Bosses Marcus Warnes, Stuart Poynor and Andrew Bartlam present their case. Importantly, an equal amount of time was given to Andy Bentley and Irene Sutton to argue why thousands of local people are opposed to their plans. This event attracted local councillors, NHS staff being affected by the closure of LCH beds, other NHS workers, young people, pensioners, trade union reps etc.

After the speakers there was a very lively discussion with anyone allowed to ask questions of any or all of the speakers and importantly to make their own contributions if they wished to. None of the speakers or others were ‘advised’ that only certain issues were relevant.

This led to a more representative view of what support there is or isn’t for the closure of our NHS beds at Longton Cottage, it’s future and the idea that an effective ‘new model of care’ can be achieved in a period where billions of pounds are being taken out of our NHS.

Not one person who attended this event supported the Health Bosses’ closure of beds or that their plan would provide an adequately staffed and funded ‘new model’ of care.

Since that meeting, requests for local Health Bosses to speak at later SLCH public meetings have been turned down or ignored by the CCG’s. Presumably, they much prefer the ‘Moat House model’ of event which they feel they can police and control to suit their own agenda.

These are the reasons why we refer to their ‘consultation’ as a sham. We have previously set out what we think a real consultation would consist of ie – for local people who own the NHS not just to be ‘consulted’ but that they should be part of the decision making process. (see here)

We asked Andy Bentley what he thought of the CCG’s first consultation meeting just after it had finished.

At our first SLCH public consultation meeting and elsewhere Marcus Warnes has rubbished Longton Cottage Hospital as being too old,not fit for purpose and that it needs replacing. He used this false argument to try to justify that we needed a ‘new model’. Now he tells us that Longton Cottage Hospital and the closure of our beds has nothing to do with their ‘new model’ of community care!

But the real reason he doesn’t want to talk about Longton Cottage is that he has met angry opposition to the closure of our community beds which threatens the continued existence of the hospital itself.

He has refused to acknowledge publicly that 10,000 people have signed our petition against what they are doing.

He and other local Health Bosses refused to listen to 200 people who marched against his plans.

He has ignored the views of Stoke-on-Trent city councillors and local trade union leaders.

It’s not surprising therefore that most locals see his ‘consultation’ as a costly scam.

In short, he and other Health Bosses, are being well-paid with tax payers money to dutifully follow the orders of a government that is determined to dismantle and privatise our NHS.

But we are just as determined to fight him all the way to defend Longton Cottage Hospital and our NHS and that is exactly what we will do.

As the Health bosses ‘consultation’ meeting took place inside the Moat House dozens of passing motorists honked their horns in support of our fight to keep Longton Cottage Hospital open”.

Jamie Chatfield told us, “While we all agree that it would be nice for more people to be able to be cared for in their own homes, I have concerns that this new model of care will put more and more pressure on district nurses, who are already under-staffed and overworked.
I also feel like this new model is being put into place to create an excuse to close local hospital beds as part of a wider process of carrying out central government cuts and privatisation of the NHS: these are the same people who want to carry out privatisation of cancer and end-of-life care across Staffordshire!”
  • Marcus Warnes is the Chief Operating Officer at the North Staffs Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

  • Andrew Bartlam is Clinical Accountable Officer at Stoke-on-Trent CCG

  • Stuart Poyner is Chief Executive Officer of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust

  • Irene Sutton – ex-Senior Staff Nurse at Longton Cottage, now at Bradwell Hospital

  • Andy Bentley – Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition (TUSC) regional organiser.

  • Jamie Chatfield – TUSC supporter and SAVE LONGTON COTTAGE HOSPITAL campaigner



We are constantly told by well-paid, unelected local Health Bosses that we ‘can’t afford to keep running local hospitals like Longton Cottage’. But this is not true!

Just three of the top bosses of our 2 local CCG’s and Staffordshire & Stoke-on-Trent NHS Partnership Trust are raking in around £400,000 a year to cut, close or privatise our NHS services

But this is nothing compared to daylight robbery being carried out by ‘management consultants’ leeching of our NHS. Hospital Trusts spending on these ‘experts’ doubled between 2010 and 2014 to a staggering £640 million! – enough to run 3 medium sized hospitals or pay for another 2,000 nurses.

On top of this the cost of hiring temporary staff to cover shortages has gone through the roof. In 2013 the Department of Health published plans to cut the £24 billion bill by 25%. Instead it has GROWN by 25%!

There are now 149 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) hospitals in Britain valued at £12.27 billion. But tax payers through the NHS will pay £70.5 billion for them to construction companies. That is almost a colossal £60 billion that the privateers are leeching off the NHS!

So the next time you hear local Health Bosses saying we can’t afford to keep 37 beds running in Longton Cottage or that we can’t afford to keep Longton Cottage (or other local hospitals) open then you can give them the facts and figures which prove that the only thing they are being ‘economical’ with is the truth. We believe some people call it lying!


Firstly, we need to stop paying a fortune to local Health Bosses to destroy our NHS. Secondly, we need to get rid of ‘management consultants’ and allow people who actually work in the NHS to run it. Thirdly, we need to scrap PFI contracts with the debt written off and drive the privateers out of OUR NHS. Fourthly, we need to employ NHS staff on proper contracts with trade union rates of pay in sufficient numbers to run a fully publicly funded NHS.





Petition with 10,000 names handed over to Health Bosses outside Longton Fire Station

Petition with 10,000 names handed over to Health Bosses outside Longton Fire Station



Below is a list of ‘consultation’ events that the public can attend. We urge you to go along to at least one of them to tell them we want our beds re-opened, our Hospital to stay open and adequate health care provided in our community to those who need it. They are making it difficult for the public to attend by having all but one meeting in the daytime in remote venues and asking you to ‘register’ on-line at http://www.northstaffsccg.nhs.uk/my-care-my-way BUT DON’T LET THAT STOP YOU!

You can also register by calling 01782 298192 or E-MAILING mycaremywayhf@staffordshirecss.nhs.uk

* Fri 23 October  1pm-4pm  Moat House , Festival Way, Etruria ST1 5BQ                               * Tues 3 November   2pm-5pm  Fenton Manor, City Road, Fenton ST4 2RR                                * Mon 9 November 6pm-9pm  CORE Normacot Road, Longton. ST3 1PR                                     * Fri 20 November 3pm-6pm  Staffs Moorland Council, Stockwell Street, Leek ST13 6HQ         * Mon 23 November  10pm-1pm  Bentilee Com. Centre Dawlish Drive, Bentilee ST2 0EU       * Fri 27 November  2pm-5pm  Guild hall, Tape St, Cheadle ST10 1BG


If you can’t attend a ‘consultation’ meeting (or even if you can) you can respond to 3 questions in an online survey at

https://www.elesurvey.co.uk/f/613554/860d/ to tell them what you think

* * * If you send them an email to register for a meeting or answer any survey questions please e-mail us a copy at savelongtoncottage@gmail.com – So we can make sure that your messages etc are not ignored.


Health bosses are asking “If you would like to ask for someone to come to a meeting please call 01782 298192” If you do, please invite a speaker from SAVE LONGTON COTTAGE HOSPTAL as well by calling 07845893607.


E-mail – letters@atthesentinel.co.uk with a copy to savelongtoncottage@gmail.com or write to The Sentinel, Bethesda St, Stoke-on-Trent ST1 3GN

Another part of the 10,000 name hand over outside Longton Fire Station. Pictured with petitions is Chris Caci a supporter of TUSC and Save Longton Cottage Hospital.

Part of the 10,000 name hand over outside Longton Fire Station – Chris Caci a supporter of TUSC and Save Longton Cottage Hospital.


Local Health bosses closed all Longton Cottage beds BEFORE their ‘consultation’ on closing them had started!

Their ‘consultation’ is a sham – ours isn’t!

At our 1st public meeting in Longton 3 highly paid Health Bosses were verbally hammered by locals angry at their plans.The 3, Marcus Warnes, Stuart Poynor & Andrew Bartlam are also behind the privatisation of our cancer care treatment

Their ‘My Care My Way – Home First’ health care plan will not work!

Their real aim is to close Longton Cottage, followed by other local community hospitals. Why? Well it has NOTHING to do with providing improved care in the home. It’s all about dismantling our NHS & privatising the more profitable parts.

Their own ‘survey’ says there needs to be a number of key things in place for their “MY CARE MY WAY – HOME FIRST” plan to work which they cannot guarantee. They are each listed below and followed in turn with questions we want answers to. Heath Bosses say that they will ……………….

A)“Ensure that there is capacity in community services to support” their plans

But we say, to do this it’s necessary to produce facts & figures publicly which show ……….

  1. the number of people who currently need ‘community services’

  2. how many health workers currently support their needs

  3. details of what that ‘support’ entails. EG How much time care workers have for each community visit?

  4. how many more people will be needed to deliver ‘support’ if your new model is implemented

  5. Bearing in mind there is already a shortage of community health workers where will these extra ones come from?

  6. Will they be properly trained and employed directly on trade union rates of pay & conditions or be from agencies?

B) “Reassure the public about the future of community hospitals”

The only way that the ‘public’ can be ‘reassured’ is if you guarantee their continued existence. So far you have refused to do so. Will you do that now?

C) “Ensure that there will be support for spouse/family/carer”

To do this it is necessary to produce facts & figures now publicly which show

1) the number of spouses/families/carers who currently need ‘support’

2) how many health workers currently support their needs

3) details of what that ‘support’ entails

4) how many more people will be needed to deliver this ‘support’ if your new model is implemented

5) where will these extra people come from?

6) Will workers be properly trained? Will they be employed directly on trade union rates of pay & conditions or will from agencies?

D) “Ensure patients will be followed up in the community”

This is so vague that it effectively has no meaning! There are cases now locally of patients at home being told to phone a number if they need help. Is this what ‘followed up’ means? We need specific details of what is meant here. EG how often will patients be ‘followed up’, by whom for how long?

E) “Ensure that this is carefully implemented”

This is also so vague that it effectively has no meaning! Health bosses need to state what is meant by ‘carefully implement’.

F) “Ensure investment is made to support changes to the model of care.”

The government is taking another £22 billion out of our NHS. Even if the ‘investment’ is found from somewhere to ‘support the changes’ where will it come from? It could only possibly be found by cutting funding from another service provided by our NHS. Which service/s would that be?

“Trusts spending on ‘management consultants’ has DOUBLED  between 2010 and 2014 to £640 million. That’s enough to pay for THREE MEDIUM SIZED HOSPITALS OR 2,000 NURSES!” (read  more about this at HEALTH SERVICE – CONDITION CRITICAL)

So instead of telling us that we ‘can’t afford’ to keep 37 beds open in Longton Cottage Hospital we suggest that you stop handing our money over to an army of ‘management consultants’ who’s remit is to dismantle and privatise our NHS!

For Health Bosses to carry out any sort of meaningful consultation our questions need answering.

We demand, in the name of 10,000 local people who are backing the SAVE LONGTON COTTAGE HOSPITAL that these answers are provided by local Health Bosses.

savelongtoncottage@gmail.com                                                http://www.savelongtoncottage.org