Press Release Stroud Against the Cuts 27/09/2015
Response to CQC inspection of services defended from privatisation in 2011-12
Last week, a team of inspectors from the CQC issued a report detailing their inspection of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust (GCS), which runs seven community hospitals including Stroud Hospital, health clinics including Beeches Green, and community services for adults, children and young people (1).
In 2011-12, Stroud Against the Cuts led a successful campaign to keep the services now provided by GCS in the NHS (2).
A spokesperson from Stroud Against the Cuts said: “Behind the rhetoric of care closer to home the reality is that here and around the country our local hospitals and services are being run down. We know that health workers are trying their best - but to have safe services we need to stop the expensive bureaucracy of running the NHS as a beggar-my-neighbour competition between fragmented parts and private providers. (3)”
Unite the Union (4), Gloucester Area Health Sector Branch, representing over 500 health workers, issued the following response to the Gloucestershire Care Services (GCS) Care Quality Commission (CQC) report:
"We are delighted that the staff of our community NHS trust have been given the recognition they deserve by the Care Quality Commission. Our staff are caring and compassionate health providers.
We wish to extend this message from the report to GCS administrative staff and front-line reception staff, and to the porters, drivers and other, less conspicuous, workers. Our staff, unselfishly, give much time of their own time to the role of enabling our more visible health professionals to carry out the job of keeping the county's population participating in society.
We take on board what the CQC has said about areas which are struggling, but view this as part and parcel of an NHS set up to work within a competitive market.
The market diverts money meant for caring toward repeated tendering and bidding for services and on outsourcing services or entire trusts and hospitals. Health staff are increasingly spending time undertaking administrative duties that drive this wasteful marketised system. We are, however, grateful that GCS has been able to remain an NHS Trust, having watched as our out-sourced neighbours across the south-west struggle with privatisation, shrinking of services and reduction in staff terms and conditions. And we are pleased to see the trust is putting in place improvement action plans and look forward to being a part of the process.”
Stroud Against the Cuts is encouraging people to join national protests at the Conservative Party Conference on October 4th - free transport is available via coach from Stroud, organised by Unison's Local Government branch in Gloucestershire - more details at: http://stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/fightback/healthcarecuts/44-events/192-manchester-oct-protest.html
Notes for editors:
1. The trust was rated "Good for caring but Requires Improvement for providing services that were safe, effective, responsive and well-led. Community inpatient services provided at the trust’s hospitals were found to be Outstanding for caring. Safety in the urgent care service was rated Inadequate." Read the full CQC report.
2. Stroud Against the Cuts and other anti-cuts groups in Gloucestershire campaigned against plans to hand services to a private company (a so-called 'social enterprise') or conduct a competitive tendering exercise over who would run the services. Across the South West, handovers of similar services to 'social enterprises' did take place. Peninsula Community Health (PCH) - one such body - recently announced it would not extend it's contract in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, blaming a "challenging financial climate".
3. A recent estimate by a group of Liberal Democrat MPs estimated the cost of the market system in the NHS at as much as £30billion a year. Dr Jacky Davis and other doctors and campaigners including the National Health Action Party have put it at £10billion a year. The Centre of Health & the Public Interest put it at a ‘conservative’ £4.5billion a year. Read Stroud Against the Cuts member Caroline Molloy's article "The billions of wasted NHS cash no-one wants to mention".
4. Contact details for Unite the Union in Gloucester
Stroud Against the Cuts on twitter
Stroud Against the Cuts on Facebook