SLCH July 2015 march 015

Marching to defend Longton Cottage Hospital

On Monday 28 September around seventy local people turned up for the second of our public consultation meetings in Florence Social & Sports Club – just a stone’s throw from Longton Cottage hospital.

Many were angry that local Health Bosses who have already closed the hospital’s beds did not accept our invite to attend this meeting.

This is clearly a snub to the nearly 10,000 people who have signed our petitions against their plans. They claim to have launched their ‘formal consultation’ on 14 September but refuse to turn up to explain their case to local people who demand the right to be heard.

In a letter to SAVE LONGTON COTTAGE HOSPITAL they say, “We are afraid that on this occasion we will be unable to attend”. In response we told them,

We find it difficult to understand or accept that your CCG’s cannot find a representative to send to our next public meeting taking place just a stone’s throw from Longton Cottage Hospital. This is particularly the case when you consider that the total number of Board members that sit on your two respective CCG’s is twenty five people. Are you seriously suggesting that you cannot find one or two Board members who are capable of putting the case for the changes that you are proposing to make?“

The reality is that these Health Bosses know, and we know, that they cannot justify on medical grounds what they are attempting to railroad through – the dismantling of our local hospitals to ‘save’ money. They proved this at the first of our real consultation meeting in Longton when they were not able to give facts and figures to support their plans.

The three key Health Bosses who are driving forward their plans are Marcus Warnes, Stuart Poynor and Andrew Bartlam. The CCG’s which they run are the same CCG’s that are plotting the sell-off of our cancer care and end of life services to private companies.

In a futile attempt to back up what they are saying these Health Bosses have produced a “MY CARE MY WAY – HOME FIRST” document. In it they use the results of a survey that received a measly 261 responses to support their arguments.

This represents just 2.61% of the 10,000 who have said NO to their plans!

And to gain their ‘support’ they still had to commit to a number of ‘caveats’ which we think are unachievable. We reject their claim that adequate health care could be provided in the community by implementing their plans.


Their ‘caveats’ are listed below. Each one is followed by questions that we demand the 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 now 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 will 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 workers where will these extra ones come from?

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

B) “Reassure the public about the future of community hospitals” The only way that the ‘public’ could be ‘reassured’ about the future of our community hospitals 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 these 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 in Stoke-on-Trent where patients at home are being told to phone a number if they need help. Is this what is meant by ‘followed up’? CCG’s need to give specific details of what is meant here. For example, how often will patients be ‘followed up’, by whom and 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 in the process of 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


  1. Are attendances at A & E reducing?? Only then should CCGs think about moving forward. I fear that timing and implementation are ill thought out! NHS England’s 5 year forward view does not encompass CARE & EMPATHY for service users without which any sort of quality service is unachievable. Sooooo worried, scared and concerned for all


  2. In light of the recent media campaign launched by Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, which was basically a vitriolic attack on junior doctors, it comes as no surprise that the CCG and SSOTP believe that they can ride roughshod over the concerns and skepticism of the people. When you have the person responsible for health policy running a campaign of dark propaganda against the people who keep the NHS alive, be they doctors, nurses, surgeons, therapists, technical staff or cleaners, it gives the green light to people like Warnes, Poyner and the rest of the privatisation hit squad to simply ignore public opinion and drive through the so-called ‘service improvements’, which in reality we all know are obstacle clearing programmes, to smooth the way for the private health sector and force upon the population the much vaunted ‘American System.’ In a country of 250 million, 46 million cannot afford basic healthcare, the legal definition of which is,’Access to a GP and emergency medical treatment.’ That’s the future of healthcare in this country, if we allow Longton Cottage to become yet another statistic in the erosion of public services. People will suffer needlessly, they will become more ill as a result and yes, people will die. And for what, so that a select group can get richer? Longton Cottage isn’t just a local issue. It’s a chance to take a stand and tell the thieves in their ivory towers to back off. It’s our NHS, it’s not for sale!!!!!


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