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Stroud Against The Cuts

Protect NHS staff, Protect Our NHS - Public Meeting Monday 8th February

Friday, 22 January 2016 11:23 administrator
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WHAT: Public Meeting on how we can support health workers and protect our NHS

WHERE: Stroud Old Town Hall, The Shambles, GL5 1AP

WHEN: Monday 8th February, 7-9pm

 

Stroud Minor Injuries Unit was recently forced to close overnight due to a shortage of staff. 50 protestors gather hold a banner reading "Protect NHS Staff, Protect Our NHS - fight the #juniorcontract"

Our local non-emergency ambulance service in Gloucestershire is run by private company Arriva. The local A&E at Cheltenham has been downgraded. Around the country, government policies and funding cuts are leading to closures, restrictions, longer waiting lists and privatisation. Health workers are under attack.

 

But there is a fightback - Junior Doctors recently took historic strike action, students and nurses are organising against the removal of bursaries that fund training, and campaigners in Bristol and elsewhere are winning local battles against privatisation. Join us to discuss how we can help protect NHS staff, and protect the NHS.

 

This public meeting will involve short presentations from Protect CCHP - who have been successfully keeping Virgin out of children's health services in Bristol, specialist, campaigning news project OurNHS, and (TBC) a Junior Doctor and member of the British Medical Association.

More details to come, but please put the date in your diary.

 

Find out more, let us know you're coming, and help us publicise the event on Facebook.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 28 January 2016 22:39 )
 

Upcoming events January 2016

Friday, 08 January 2016 15:06 administrator
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Upcoming events: January - February 2016

10th January, 7 - 9.30pm
Screening of Naomi Klein film This Changes Everything (TCE) at the Lansdown Hall (link to Facebook event).
An epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change, TCE connects the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there, presenting seven powerful stories of struggle from communities on the front lines and suggesting we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.
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Monday 11th January, 7-9pm
Stroud Against the Cuts co-ordination meeting. All welcome to join us in planning action by the group. Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to submit agenda items or comments.
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Tuesday 12th January, 8am-12noon minimum
Picket lines as Junior Doctors restrict work to Emergency care only
48 hrs from 8am Tuesday 26th January to 8am Thursday 28 January - Emergency care only
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Wednesday 13th January, 7.30pm
First meeting of new Stroud Radical Reading Group - at The Ale House pub, discussing Rosa Luxemburg's pamphlet 'Reform or Revolution' (link to freely available version of the text) which looks at the worth of social reform within a capitalist system.
Find our more on the Facebook page for the reading group: "It is our first meeting so come along even if you have not read the book and just want to discuss or learn about the text! If you have any questions or access requirements then get in touch below or at our email address: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it "
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Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th January, 8am-12noon minimum
Picket lines as Junior Doctors restrict work to Emergency care only
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Saturday 30th January, 10.30 - 4pm.
Defending Our NHS: a conference for campaigners and trade union activists, London Welsh Centre. Health Campaigns Together would like to invite every activist and every  group to this Conference of information, discussion and debate. Register Now. For more information email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
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Wednesday 10th February
Full withdrawal of labour by Junior Doctors - 8am to 5pm, picket lines 8am - 12noon.
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Saturday 27th February, 12noon, London
Stop Trident national demonstration (Facebook event page). "CND is calling a national demonstration to protest against Britain's nuclear weapons system: Trident.

Join us to say No to government plans to buy a new system at a cost of £100 billion. Parliament will be voting on this in 2016. So this is urgent

Last Updated ( Friday, 08 January 2016 15:21 )
 

Press Release: Stroud Against the Cuts support lecturers on strike at Stroud College

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 13:55 administrator
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Press Release, Stroud Against the Cuts, 10/11/2015

Stroud Against the Cuts support lecturers on strike at Stroud College

Members of Stroud Against the Cuts visited the picket line at Stroud College today to show solidarity with members of the University and College Union (UCU) who are taking strike action over pay cuts and attacks on further education (FE). Lecturers have suffered a real terms pay cut of over 17% in recent years – with take home pay declining in value in each of the last six years. Trade unionists and their supporters say the strike is not just about pay – but about defending the quality of further education against cuts.

Robin Lewis, Chair of Stroud College UCU branch said: “We were asking the Association of Colleges for a £1 per hour rise which they’ve declined and actually the offer is a pay freeze. Clearly that’s quite derisory and caused a lot of anger within the sector, so we’ve come out on strike against that. In real terms our pay has dropped year on year – we get 1% sometimes, sometimes we get nothing and that’s been going on for at least four or five years now. Since 2008 we’ve had an 18-19% pay cut in real terms, so lecturers are starting to feel that enough is enough. It’s also in general about cuts in the FE sector. We have had some really drastic cuts and the whole sector is struggling now. Many of our class sizes have increased enormously – students are getting a much worse deal now from colleges because of that. Lecturers are more and more under pressure, the workload has increased dramatically – so the quality of provision is now starting to be affected by those cuts”

James Beecher, Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts said: “The government’s assault on public services includes a range of attacks on Further Education – and we must stand up to defend it. Stroud Against the Cuts supports Further Education workers and supports the strike. The cuts under the coalition have already caused redundancies – including here in Stroud. Class sizes are growing, courses are being cut and education is being undermined. Now the government is planning a further funding cut of 25% - potentially threatening nearly half of England’s sixth-form colleges and one in three further education colleges with closure.”

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The current cuts to adult education budgets are a devastating blow to colleges and will change the face of further education in many parts of the country. Funding for adult skills has already fallen 35% since 2009, and the latest reductions could be the final nail in the coffin for some courses.  Not everyone needs or wants to study an apprenticeship, but colleges are being forced to prioritise apprenticeships over other kinds of learning. This will shut the door on many learners who use adult education as a springboard for improving their skills. On top of the reduction in budgets, the focus on rationalisation and efficiency through area reviews can only lead to a narrower curriculum and risks leaving many students high and dry if their aspirations don't match local economic priorities. Colleges need stable investment to continue to help people of all backgrounds fulfil their potential'

Notes for editors:

For more information see the UCU’s page on the dispute and strike.

Stroud Against the Cuts produced a video from the picket, from which Robin Lewis’ quote is taken.

On government funding cuts and potential closures see the UCU press release or “Education budget cuts could see closure of four in ten sixth form and further-education colleges”.

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 November 2015 13:59 )
 

Support Junior Doctors on Tuesday 12th January

Sunday, 29 November 2015 22:18 administrator
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Support Doctors Tuesday 12th January

Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis, Member of BMA Junior Doctors Committee National Executive has written an excellent "CALL FROM THE BMA - TO OUR FELLOW WORKERS, TRADE UNIONISTS AND ACTIVISTS: WE NEED YOU", which is worth reading in full. Essential excerpts are copied below:Junior Doctors on BMA protest with placards "Just finished 12 days, worked 120 hours - we have 7 Day NHS!" "Save us to save patients and save our nhs - No New Contract!"


"Junior Doctors across England will be commencing industrial action on Tuesday 12th January. We are opposing this government’s attempt to impose an unsafe new contract on the medical profession. It is our view that the proposed contract represents an existential danger to the NHS as an institution.

You may be aware that the BMA had initially suspended its planned industrial action at the start of December and returned to talks with the Department of Health. That decision was made in good faith. However, over the last few weeks, in the course of negotiations with Government we have encountered only intransigence. It is clear that the government perceives our contract issue as pivotal for its attempt to “reform” the NHS towards a neoliberal, commercialised system. It is therefore evident to us that we have no choice but to transform our 98% ballot mandate into action." 

The BMA currently plan to take action on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 12 January 8am to 8am Wednesday 13 January - Emergency care only
  • Tuesday 26th January 8am to 8am Thursday 28 January - Emergency care only
  • 8am to 5pm Wednesday 10th February - Full withdrawal of labour

Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis concludes his article by saying: "We are in no doubt that Osborne, Cameron and Hunt will use the proposed doctor’s contract as a tool for achieving the destruction of safe terms and conditions throughout the NHS and throughout the public sector. The Conservative Party is attempting to stretch the NHS into an ostensibly 7-day elective service whilst simultaneously launching the biggest assault on NHS resources in its history. The politics of austerity represents a clear and present danger to the nation’s health. A victory for the Junior Doctors would signify the first real crack in the entire edifice of austerity in the UK. Please stand with us. And when you need us, ask us. We will stand by you."

Stroud Against the Cuts encourages supporters to stop by local pickets to talk to those taking strike action and pass on messages of support and solidarity.

Picketing will be from 8am - 12noon at least, locally at:

Gloucester Royal Hospital (GRH)

Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH)

Members of SATC will attend the CGH. Get in touch with James Beecher on 07734 058789 if you would like to attend but wish to discuss sharing transport.

The following hospitals in the region will also hold pickets - in case these sites are easier for any of you to stop by on commutes/lunchbreaks:

Southmead Hospital (NBT, Bristol); University Hospitals Bristol (UHB, Bristol); Royal United Hospitals (RUH, Bath); Musgrove Park Hospital (Taunton); Yeovill Hospital (Yeovil); Weston General Hospital (WGH, Weston); Great Western Hospital (GWH, Swindon);

Meet the doctors events are being planned for the afternoon Bath, Swindon, Taunton, and in Bristol at: Millenium square fountains; Broadmead; Clifton triangle; Turbo island (Stokes croft); North street.

Check the Stroud Against the Cuts twitter account and the BMA twitter account on the day and the #junioraction tag for updates.

Two articles explaining the dispute:

1. "The connection between the junior doctors’ contract and the American corporate takeover of the NHS".

2: Six Reasons Junior Doctors Are Preparing to Strike.

 

Last Updated ( Friday, 08 January 2016 15:32 )
 

SATC and Unite the Union Gloucester Area Health Sector Branch respond to CQC report on Gloucestershire Care Services

Sunday, 27 September 2015 21:23 administrator
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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

 

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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

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http://stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/

Stroud Against the Cuts on twitter

Stroud Against the Cuts on Facebook

 

Last Updated ( Sunday, 27 September 2015 21:39 )
 


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