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.
WE DEMAND FACT & FIGURES FROM HEALTH BOSSES TO SUPPORT THEIR CASE!
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
the number of people who currently need ‘community services’
how many health workers currently support their needs
details of what that ‘support’ entails. EG How much time will care workers have for each community visit?
how many more people will be needed to deliver ‘support’ if your new model is implemented
Bearing in mind there is already a shortage of community workers where will these extra ones come from?
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