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Gloucestershire District Nurses Speak Out

Tuesday, 03 December 2013 15:48
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Stroud Against the Cuts have become concerned about changes to the provision of District Nursing in Gloucestershire lately, and have sought answers to questions from Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust (GCS) and the Health Care and Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee at Gloucestershire County Council. We have also demonstrated our support for District Nurses at a lobby of the board of GCS.

The comments below have all come from individual District Nurses in Gloucestershire, partly in response to an invitation made by SATC. We continue to invite District Nurses to get in touch with information or anonymous comments on the changes so that we can help to publicise what is happening ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | 07583 497887).


1. "The proposals mean we are expected to cover extended hours but we have been told that there will not be any more district nurses, so this means an obvious dilution to the service we currently provide. On top of this there are nurses who are unable to take on the the new shift pattern because of their circumstance. For instance, a number of them are single parents. These staff are effectively being forced to hand in their notice. This will dilutes the service even more - at least until they recruit, which always takes considerable time.

Previously we have visited patients in pairs, but in May the lone working policy was changes so we will visit patients alone. We are very concerned that we will have to go out alone in the dark to places/people who are unfamiliar to us. We've been told there is no evidence to show that we are more likely to be attacked at night than during the day - but we have not been shown any evidence to back this up. Some staff will have no base, and instead have been told they can 'hot desk' at one of the 54 desks in the new social services office due to open in January, which is impractical - not least in terms of patient confidentiality."


2. "I am concerned about how the changes to work hours will affect the service as it seems the number of staff working for the current service will be diluted over additional hours. I am personally unsure how I will be able to fit my job around child care and my partners shift pattern and so on if I'm forced to change my work hours. The change in hours is quite dramatic rather than a slight adjustment - this is really stressful! I worry that when people hear that there is a large cash injection they will think it will enhance our service but the money is actually aimed at a different part of the service [the rapid response element, see below comment from Stroud Against the Cuts]."


3. "There are so many of us that are deeply concerned with the proposed changes. Staff are facing dramatic changes in their life circumstances with is causing a great deal of anxiety. Many experienced staff are unable to work the proposed hours due to other commitments. If the Trust go ahead with their plans I think we will lose, completely unnecessarily, these experienced staff. A loss in experienced staff may put patient care at risk and lead to a poorer service. Documents are no substitute for relationships built up over time. We don't understand why new nurses couldn't have been recruited to cover an extension in hours, rather than existing staff having their hours completely changed."

"Our service will not be able to cope with extending the day to cover 15 hours rather than the 11 hours we currently cover. The trust reports there is £3.9 million to support this service, however the more conversations I hear, the more I believe this money is really for the rapid response service only. Even if we are entitled to some of this money, how on earth can we recruit and train staff in time for the roll out of this service? The length of time it takes to train a community nurse should not be underestimated, due to the unique nature of them working alone, often having to be self reliant"


4. "I am completely against the changes proposed. Despite repeated requests, staff have not seen any evidence that supports the need to change our current service provision. I have not known of any occasions where a patient's needs have not been met by our current shift pattern. However, we are already just about managing our caseloads with the current hours/staff. Now we are being asked to cover additional hours without additional District Nurses, I really believe patient care will actually be compromised by the changes. On a personal level, this is causing me great anxiety and stress. Due to other commitments I cannot work the proposed shifts and will be looking for another job in the near future. This makes be very sad indeed as I am in the privileged position of loving my job."

Last Updated on Monday, 16 December 2013 19:10

District Nurses - we can work together

Friday, 29 November 2013 14:37
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Dear District Nurses of Gloucestershire,

We've been hearing strong concerns from GCS staff - both district nurses and others - about planned changes to working conditions such as shift patterns and shifts to work location. We know that staff are very concerned about the impact this will have on patients in terms of quality of care, continuity of care, and safety.

We share these concerns. This isn't about  'resisting change' for the sake of it, as some staff have been told. As members of the public, we are very worried that it seems some quite basic questions which will impact on patients too, have not been properly thought through and that the knowledge of frontline staff about what actually will and won't work in practice, seems not to be being listened to enough.

We have been trying to help by highlighting concerns in the press, writing to GCS, etc.


We can continue to speak out, but you have the networks and knowledge that is vital to gather and share information.

How you can help us:

1. Please continue to send us quotes (which we will anonymise before using on our website/in articles)
with your concerns, particularly about how the changes will impact patients. These quotes can be as short or long as you like. Send to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (we previous utilised anonymous staff comments in the successful campaign against turning Gloucestershire Care Services into a social enterprise)

2. Please encourage others to do the same, by sharing this information, our website (, articles (such as this one on our demonstration of support with District Nurses) and press releases (eg. this one on our concerns regarding District Nurses) with your networks.

3. If you have not already done so, please do send your concerns in writing to your union reps, so they can report concerns collectively in the workplace.

We are doing our best to help, but when we have raised these concerns as members of the public with the most directly involved councillors (those on the health scrutiny committee) they have either not responded or have told us (in the case of Labour councillors) they are reluctant to raise concerns
because (they say) the unions have not raised any. We are not convinced this is the case - and even if
it were, we are dissatisfied with this answer from councillors, who are here to represent the public. As noted above, there are obvious grounds for public concern.

The more evidence there is of people on the frontline speaking out, the harder it becomes for these concerns to be dismissed. We are happy to help anonymise this speaking out to protect you, though this is also the union's role. Please also think about asking your GP contacts if they will speak out publicly about what is going on, eg in the press.

We really value the work you are doing in the NHS and appreciate the difficult pressures you are under. I hope we can work together to make some difference even if its just to let people know what's going on.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 November 2013 18:38

Stroud Against the Cuts supports Cheltenham A&E campaign

Friday, 29 November 2013 10:52
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In July 2013 the acute Hospital Trust in Gloucestershire downgraded A&E services at Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH) between 8pm and 8am. During this period the A&E Department will be staffed by Emergency Nurse Practitioners (ENPs), rather than specialist A&E Consultants and Doctors. This means some patients are now referred to Gloucester or Frenchay in Bristol instead of Cheltenham.

The Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce has instigated a campaign, called REACH (Restore Emergency At Cheltenham Hospital), which is working with local businesses, local residents and other campaign groups such as 38 Degrees and Stroud Against the Cuts to achieve the following objective:  



"To have a fully functioning, fully staffed A&E Department operating 24/7 re-instated at Cheltenham General Hospital, which serves a population of at least 200,000 in Cheltenham, Tewkesbury Borough and the North Cotswolds, at the earliest possible opportunity.”


REACH add that "The focus of the REACH campaign is, as the title suggests, to secure the re-establishment of a full 24/7 Accident and Emergency department at Cheltenham hospital to serve the people of that town and the surrounding districts of Gloucestershire. The campaign is also keeping a watching brief on the related A&E services: the 111 phone line; ambulance provision; and the out of GP hours service. All of these appear to be under pressure and all impact on the quality of response to patients at times of acute needs."

Stroud Against the Cuts supports the objective and work of the REACH campaign. For more information see:

Last Updated on Friday, 29 November 2013 11:03

NHS - latest news from Keep Our NHS Public and others

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 18:05
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As many Stroud Against the Cuts supporters joined due to our involvement in the Keep Gloucestershire's NHS Public campaign (which successfully prevented Gloucestershire's community health services being privatised), we want to keep you informed of NHS issues. The below stories come via our affiliate membership to the national campaigning organisation Keep Our NHS Public and subscription to the Open Democracy: Our NHS email list. If you would like to recieve such updates by email, and engage in discussion about them, you can join a yahoo group for those concerned about NHS cuts and privatisation in Gloucestershire:


Update to 10/03/2014

Our NHS: Caroline Molloy -  Coalition MPs vote through sweeping hospital closure powers. The controversial Clause 119 of the Care Bill, dubbed the ‘Hospital Closure Clause’, has won a crucial vote in the Commons. The decision is likely to be met with anger by campaigners... The Clause broke the Coalition Agreement promise to "end the centrally mandated closure of A&E and maternity wards", instead making it far easier, many Labour MPs alleged. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, did not attend until the closing summary of the debate, a move which was labelled as "extraordinary" by Grahame Morris MP and seemed to leave some on his own benches unimpressed... Many MPs highlighted the importance of local hospitals, and concerns that increasing financial difficulties could suck more hospitals and other health services into ‘backdoor reconfiguration’ if the Clause was passed. Read the full article here:

Clive Peedell - Outsourcing cancer care - the biggest and most reckless NHS privatisation yet? In the biggest outsourcing to date, the NHS has announced it is tendering a huge £700 million contract for providing NHS cancer care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, along with another £500million for end of life care in the region. It’s a dramatic indication of the rapidly increasing commercialisation and privatisation of the NHS. In the messy fight over the Health & Social Care Act, during the ‘listening pause’ the Coalition promised parliament the changes they had made to the legislation included “ruling out any question of privatisation”... Private sector providers will only be interested in managing the high volume, low complexity work, leaving more complex and uncommon cancer care to the established NHS centres. The NHS will lose both government money and already scarce staff to the private sector. Read the full article here:

Our NHS: Andrew Causon: "The NHS, the LibDems & the "Undesirable Contact Man"." Last month one of the Lib Dems biggest donors, Sudhir Choudhrie and his son Bhanu Choudhrie, were arrested by the Serious Fraud Office in connection with alleged bribes paid by Rolls-Royce (makers of military jets) to the Chinese and Indonesian governments. The Choudhries and their healthcare business Alpha Health are one of the Lib Dems largest donors, giving them a total of £1.26 million over the last 10 years, including hefty individual donations. In November last year Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes accepted a £60,000 donation from Sudhir Choudhrie. At the time of their arrest the Guardian reported that Sudhir Choudhrie was on the Indian government`s list of "dubious" middlemen whom government agencies must keep at arm's length. The official term is "Undesirable Contact Men" (UCM)... A few months later, in March 2004 Choudhrie’s healthcare business Alpha Health gave the Lib Dems their first £10,000. In September that year the Orange Book – Reclaiming Liberalism was published. This was a collection of essays by the party`s right-wingers, included one on “reforming” the NHS by disgraced former banker David Laws. On May 2005 Alpha Health made its second donation; this time of £100,000. Five months later, Nick Clegg, then a leading candidate for party leader gave an interview to The Independent, where he told Marie Woolf: “One very, very important point – I think breaking up the NHS is exactly what you do need to do to make it a more responsive service. I don’t think anything should be ruled out.” Read full article

Daily Mirror: "Firm with links to top Tory sucks £2.6 million from NHS 'reforms' he helped push through."

A firm boasting a close advisor to the PM on its board of directors has sucked £2.6m from the NHS in 10 months by filling vacancies caused by Tory health reforms. Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi – who helped push the controversial GPs’ funding system through the Commons – was appointed non-executive director of recruitment firm SThree in 2008. And the firm has been staffing new Clinical Commissioning Groups set up under the Health and Social Care Bill, via an arm of its international business specialising in “Healthcare & Life Sciences sectors” called Real Staffing... Dr Clive Peedell of the National Health Action Party, said: “It looks like a collosal amount of money going out of the NHS which could be spent on direct patient care instead of going to shareholders.”
Read the full article

(worth pointing again, at this point, to this "Compilation of Parliamentary Financial Links to Private Healthcare", by Social Investigations)


BBC News: 'Worrying shortage of senior NHS nurses'.

The NHS has lost nearly 4,000 senior nursing posts since 2010, putting patient care at risk, warns the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). The void includes ward sisters, community matrons and specialist nurses and has been brought about by cost saving reorganisation, it says. According to the most recent data, in November 2013, the NHS was still short of 1,199 full time equivalent (FTE) registered nurses compared with April 2010. The RCN says that hidden within wider nursing workforce cuts are a significant loss and devaluation of skills and experience in the NHS, with 3,994 FTE nursing staff working in senior positions. Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: " These cuts are a short-term attempt by trusts to find efficiency savings, yet they will lead to a very serious and very long-term crisis in our health service."
Read the full article

Also covered in Hospital Doctor here:

The Financial Times: "Private groups invited to help NHS buy services."
The NHS has for the first time asked the private sector to help purchase billions of pounds worth of services for hospitals and GPs. NHS England on Tuesday advertised for companies to compete for work worth at least £5bn advising the new doctor-led clinical commissioning groups, which spend more than two-thirds of the NHS budget buying care for patients... It also highlights the opportunities for private sector investment in the service despite political sensitivity. Roughly 30 bidders, including Serco, Optum, part of United Health, and Assura, are expected to compete for the work, which will see them appointed to a “framework” of preferred suppliers, which can be used by hospitals and GPs to buy services more quickly.Voluntary sector providers, local authorities and NHS organisations are also expected to bid, many in partnership with private sector companies such as Capita or KPMG, for example.

Rabble: Story on Allyson Pollock talk on the privatisation of England's NHS, given in Canada.  Pollock is the Founder and, between 2005-2011, co-ordinator for the Centre for International Public Health Policy University of Edinburgh.. Read the full story here:

South Yorkshire Times: "Further strike action for Doncaster care staff."

Care UK staff in Doncaster are set for a further seven-day strike after union members could not come to an agreement with bosses over terms and conditions. Unison representative Jim Bell met with Care UK morning, when he gave legal notice of a further week-long industrial action. A seven-day strike was held last week after union members, who care for some of the most vulnerable people in society, voted overwhelmingly for action over management threats to slash their wages by up to 50%. Mr Bell said: “We had a meeting brought about by ACAS last Friday and heard the company had made marginal improvements on the transitional payments from 12 to 14 months, but there has been no movement on holidays or sick pay. We spent a day with ACAS and that offer was unanimously rejected. Members are 100 per cent committed to defending their terms.”
Read the full article

Independent: "NHS faces ‘managed decline’ unless it is properly funded, says health chief."

The NHS cannot survive in its current form and problems could escalate to the point where anyone who can afford it will choose to go private, the chief executive of NHS England has warned.
Read the full article 


Read updates for previous weeks by clicking 'read more' below:

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 March 2014 12:45

Stroud Against the Cuts supports District Nurses

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:01
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Members of Stroud Against the Cuts demonstrated their support for District Nurses in Gloucestershire on Tuesday 12th November 2013, outside the Board meeting of Gloucestershire Care Services (GCS) in Stroud. GCS is the Trust which employs District Nurses and is currently conducting a consultation regarding changes to working conditions. The consultation ends on Friday 15th November. Stroud Against the Cuts encourages District Nurses to:

  • Complete the formal consultation making clear their individual and collective concerns.
  • Contact union representatives with concerns: RCN - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Unison - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Contact Stroud Against the Cuts to discuss concerns:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it / 07583 497887

Our previous press release can be viewed here. A further press released will be issued ASAP.


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