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Press Release 07/08/2012 FUTURE OF NHS HANGS ON HIGH COURT SCALES

Tuesday, 07 February 2012 11:41
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07/02/2012 Press Release: FUTURE OF NHS HANGS ON HIGH COURT SCALES

Summary: A Gloucestershire resident takes to the High Court in London tomorrow, Wednesday February 8th in a bid to stop the transfer of all nine of the county’s community hospitals and local health services out of the NHS and into a standalone ‘Community Interest Company’ (CIC). Gloucestershire health bosses’ plans to transfer the county’s community health services, including over 3000 NHS nurses, physiotherapists, health visitors and podiatrists (1), out of the NHS in October 2011 have been halted due to the legal action and a campaign in Gloucestershire that has involved thousands of people in protests, public meetings, petitions and fundraising (2).

If successful in today’s permissive hearing, the case will then proceed to full Judicial Review the following day (Thursday 9th) in the High Court in Aldwych, London. The case will be heard from 10.30am to 4.30pm on both days.

 
The case is being taken by Michael Lloyd, 75, a retired railwayman from Stroud, Gloucestershire. Mr Lloyd said: “I’m worried that if local health services leave the NHS they will be more vulnerable to cuts, more fragmented, more bureaucratic and less accountable. Staff tell me they are frightened for their future, and have had no say in leaving they NHS they take pride in working for.”
 

Solicitors for Mr Lloyd, Leigh Day & Co (2). are bringing a case that NHS Gloucestershire has acted unlawfully by not allowing proper consideration of other options, including those that would keep local health services in the NHS. Rosa Curling of Leigh Day & Co. said: “NHS Gloucestershire had a number of options open to it, some of which would allow the community services in the area to remain provided by a NHS body. They failed to properly consider these options and their subsequent decision to award the contract to the social enterprise company is therefore unlawful.”

 

 

 
Caroline Molloy from local anti-cuts campaigners Stroud Against the Cuts (3), who are supporting Michael Lloyd’s case, said: “NHS bosses are using harmless sounding terms like social enterprise and making baseless claims about their potential benefits. But experience from other areas shows that where social enterprises have taken over services, patient care has suffered due to higher costs, and the need to turn a profit. Even where health social enterprises have been praised, once services have been transferred out of the NHS they have been forced to compete with multinational health companies waiting in the wings, and have been unable to, as in Central Surrey.”(4)
 
A National Audit Office report last year described health social enterprises (such as CICs) as “a first step towards stimulating a market” in the NHS (5). People across the region remain largely unaware that, even before the passage of the widely opposed Health & Social Care Bill (returning to parliament today), much of the South West’s community health services were transferred out of the NHS in October last year.
 

Dr John Lister of national campaign group Health Emergency said: “It is vital to expose this type of deal to public scrutiny, despite the determination of health bosses to keep them under wraps. It is a scandal that changes like this, which can have a huge effect both on the vulnerable people that use these services, and on the livelihoods of thousands of healthcare workers have been taken behind closed doors.”

Despite assertions to the contrary, John Lister adds “There is no compulsion on health bosses to open these services up to social enterprises or the private sector: in most of England community health services continue to be successfully provided by the NHS, and that's how it should be in Gloucestershire.”

 
 
If successful in the court hearing, campaigners pledge to do everything in their power to raise awareness of the situation and force local NHS bosses to listen to the public and keep services in the NHS.

 

For notes, click Read More

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 February 2012 14:55 Read more...
 

Date set for Legal Hearing regarding the future of Gloucestershire's NHS services

Tuesday, 17 January 2012 12:54
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For a short video recaping the situation regarding the transfer of local health services out of the NHS and the legal challenge we are supporting, click the following link:  

 

Date Set for Legal Case Opposing

Transfer of Gloucestershire’s Health Services out of NHS

The Judicial Review that Stroud resident, Michael Lloyd (supported by Stroud Against The Cuts) is pursuing, opposing the transfer of nine Gloucestershire community hospitals, including Stroud General, nine health clinics and other county wide services and staff out of the NHS and into a Social Enterprise or Community Interest Company called Gloucestershire Care Services[i], is due to be heard on February 8th, at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
If the Judicial Review is successful, it means the court will have decided that the process of transferring Gloucestershire’s health services out of the NHS and into a Community Interest Company was illegal and will have to be restarted. The management of NHS Gloucestershire will be faced with a choice concerning Gloucestershire’s community health services. They can either decide to try and outsource services or they can pursue various NHS options open to them. [ii] Outside the South West the most common model for community services is merger with other NHS Trusts.
James Beecher, Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts[iii] said: “This action has been taken, and is being supported by Stroud Against The Cuts, because Mr Lloyd believes that social enterprise companies are not an alternative to the break-up and privatisation of the NHS but are part of that process. Social enterprises act as stepping stones to privatisation, allowing the private sector to compete for contracts after only a few years. [iv] When a social enterprise competes with big business, it is like local corner shops up against Tesco. We believe that setting up a social enterprise is damaging to patients and staff who risk the loss of NHS pay, conditions and pensions”
“The real choice is not social enterprise versus big business, it is between the NHS and the break-up of the NHS,” said Chris Moore. “There is no long term future for Gloucestershire Care Services, any more than there is for the other social enterprises in the Region.”
Mr Lloyd said: “There is a place for private enterprise, but not within our NHS and that is why I have chosen to take this legal action. The NHS needs to be about collaboration not competition. Private companies will only get involved if they can make a fast buck.”
“We’re pleased that the idea of moving health services out of the NHS is now going to get legal scrutiny. We encourage anyone who is interested in our campaign to look at our website www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk, and to attend events we will be organising in the near future”, added James Beecher.

For the full press release including the endnotes, click Read More. A list of links to press coverage follows: 

http://www.hsj.co.uk/hsj-local/pcts/gloucestershire-pct/court-date-set-for-nhs-gloucestershire-judicial-review/5040213.article

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 January 2012 12:08 Read more...
 

Statements from Staff on NHS Gloucestershire's proposals to move local health services out of the NHS

Wednesday, 07 December 2011 10:10
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This is a page where we will publish statements from staff so they are able comment publicly but anonymously on NHS Gloucestershire's plans to transfer over 3000 staff, 9 community hospitals, 10 health clinics and a number of county-wide health services to Gloucestershire Care Services Community Interest Company, on the consultation process, and on the legal challenge that SATC is supporting to stop the transfer. We invite members of staff to send us anything from short statements to long testimony regarding these issues. Please email any statements or queries to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , a supporter of the campaign who is an member of NHS staff and union member, or send via post to: Keep Gloucestershire’s NHS Public, c/o SATC, The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud, GL5 1DF.

We are also looking into how we can create a space on the website where anonymous comments can be uploaded.

 

Statements Received:

1. "I am a 'bank' community staff nurse working for NHS gloucestershire. I am pleased that there is hope that the social enterprise could be stopped. The social enterprise is in my view definately underhand and money driven. My new social enterprise contract amounts to a a pay cut of over £4,000 annually based on a 37.5 hour week. I am incredulous. I am NHS, I wear an NHS uniform. I am an NHS nurse bitterly disappointed with changing to social enterprise. NHS Gloucestershire claim that they "will retain the same staff, buildings and clinics" and that "Staff transferring into the new organisation will recieve the same terms and conditions". But not for 'bank' nurses in the NHS." (NHS employee, Gloucestershire, via email)

2. "The one thing that the NHS has always enjoyed is the fact that its staff have a great pride in what they do, and the fact that they do it for the common good. Everyone I have spoken to, my own staff, my peers and my managers all agree that the NHS is where they have wanted to work and where they would like to continue working. No-one sees the transfer to a CIC as anything but a not particularly subtle way of privatising the largest health provider in Gloucestershire. The real tragedy, as far as I am concerned, is the fact that so few members of the public realise it. Unless something drastic happens in the near future, more than half of all the health provision in Gloucestershire will be in the hands of a private enterprise. Although the change may appear seamless at first, despite political remonstrations to the contrary at some time the CIC will become vulnerable, and the threat to its services and to the people who depend on them will become only too apparent. This will almost certainly occur when it's too late to do anything about it." (NHS employee, Gloucestershire, via email)

3. "As a member of NHS Gloucestershire staff, I am pleased to hear that Stroud Against the Cuts has successfully delayed the transfer to Social Enterprise. I have no wish to see any of our hospitals or services taken out of the NHS. I believe the local people will suffer if we lose the NHS status and that it leaves the services open to privatisation in a big way. The management of Gloucestershire Care Service CIC seem to imply that all the staff are looking forward to the transfer but as there was no consultation about these change's I do not know where they are getting the impression that the staff are for this change into the private sector. Thank You Stroud Against the Cuts for putting up a fight for the local people and the staff that work in the services. Another thing I am really worried about is the GP's becoming accountants I feel at the moment if a doctor tells a person they do not need to see a consultant we believe them but in the future can we be sure? It may be because they don't want to use their budget or that they have no money left, all this will cost lives. 
I am proud to work in the NHS.  It is what makes Britain Great.
This is our NHS - we want to keep it public." (NHS employee, Gloucestershire, via email)

4. "Dear Readers, Like most healthcare workers I became a nurse because society has a moral obligation to provide healthcare to all based on need alone, I did not become a nurse to provide investors with profits and will refuse to let my work,or own healthcare needs be exploited by investors, which make no mistake is the intended outcome of this transfer from NHS to Social Enterprise. Healthcare must be owned and available to all it is the only civilised way. The lack of consultation is a disgrace, Thankyou Michael Lloyd and S.A.T.C. We won't give up." (NHS employee, Gloucestershire, via email)

5. "I have just left the above Trust [NHS Gloucestershire] after working in the same role for 10 years and am disgusted at their proposals. They are making staff who have dedicatedly provided excellent service to our patients apply for their own jobs, some staff they are even saying that they cannot apply with no logical reasons for this.  These are staff who have done this job for decades in some cases and have never had poor appraisals or reviews. The problem with this PCT is that they look after their own. It is about time that the funds for providing care for our patients were put in at the bottom of the structure, making sure that staff who deliver this care on the front line and their immediate managers were funded and then cuts made through the vast amount of tiers above when the money runs out.  This trust are cutting valuable front line staff and not valuing the service and experience they provide.  Patients will suffer in the long run, the hospital is losing valuable dedicated staff daily and at this rate the Trust will not have a work force capable of running the service. I thought the government were going to cut bureaucracy as stated in the ‘white paper’ but this isn’t happening.  This Trust are rushing towards social enterprise to make sure that this top heavy management structure can still keep control.  I went to the original meetings where ‘choice’ was not given, they had already made up their mind that social enterprise was the best route for them, staff and patients don’t come into it.  If the GP consortium’s are going to take over in 2013 we should wait until then to see what is required instead of running along into a dead end with no chance of a ‘u’ turn.  This Trust has wasted so much money on IT systems that are not fit for purpose, land purchase that was extremely overpriced, plans for new hospital and reduction of bed space when we are meant to be joining a competitive market.  Their decisions do not make sense and I fear that there is a hidden agenda." (former NHS Gloucestershire employee, received via email)

 

 

6. "I really didnt want to do this at first but after yet another management briefing (e-bulletin) telling us all how the legal challenge will open us up to privatisation and how we cannot be in the NHS, I felt I had to write. I attended the Wendy Savage talk and I heard the lawyer talking about the local health services. She was very clear. She stated that a judge cannot decide what the PCT does, he can only ensure the law is not broken. In effect, if the campainers win, any competitive tendering wil be the CHOICE of the management. This is because they do not have to put us up for competition if they choose an NHS option. She said that we can be a community NHS trust because the only stopping them was that the Dept of Health dont want it - so it not law preventing them. The only stopping them from letting us be a community trust is a lack of back bone.  They also told us before that we cannot be with the acute trust because jobs will be lost. It hasn't happened in South Glos though. Only reduced numbers of offices, not reduced jobs. If we become a 'social enterprise' (which a CIC is not very close to) I will look for work elsewhere and I have colleagues who have said the same." (NHS Gloucestershire employee and Unite member, via email.

Statements from elsewhere:

 

"We were never consulted on any choice. They made it very clear that the social enterprise was the only option. Even now my colleagues know very little about it." (NHS Nurse, cited in Guardian.co.uk article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/healthcare-network/2011/oct/05/nhs-gloucestershire-community-interest-company-transfer?newsfeed=true)

 

An Open Letter to the Board of NHS Gloucestershire

Thursday, 24 November 2011 12:46
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The following open letter has been sent by Stroud Against the Cuts to the Chief

Executive and Chair of NHS Gloucestershire, and to the local press. SATC urges

members of the public, in particular health workers, to write similar letters to the PCT

and their elected representatives, making their views known. Letters can be sent

via email to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or in the post to Jan Stubbings, Chief

Executive, NHS Gloucestershire, Sanger House, 5220 Valiant Court, Gloucester Business

Park, Brockworth, Gloucester, GL3 4FE (You may also want to send copies to the

non-executive directors who make up the board 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 , 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 ,

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 , 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 ). If you are an elected representative and would like your name

publicly added to the list of signatories, please email us via:

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .stroudagainstcuts.co.uk

                              23rd November 2011

Dear Jan Stubbings,
An Open Letter regarding Keeping Gloucestershire’s NHS Public
We are writing to appeal to you to halt the proposed transfer of Gloucestershire’s NHS
Community Services out of the NHS and into a “social enterprise”. On behalf of the
residents of Gloucestershire we urge you to instead choose one of the options still
open to you to keep these services (including nearly 4000 staff and nine hospitals)
within the NHS.
We know from the level of support our campaign has received (including hundreds that
attended a public meeting in late August and a subsequent demonstration in
September, and the unanimous cross-party concern expressed by Stroud District Council
amongst others) that the overwhelming majority of patients, staff and residents want
our health services to remain within the NHS. There is an outcry about the failure to
consult or even inform the public about your plans, which reveals the truth behind the
spin that these plans are “patient led” or will increase “staff ownership”.
[Click Read More below to see the full letter and current list of signatories]
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 December 2011 10:51 Read more...
 

Statements from the Public on the NHS Transfer

Wednesday, 19 October 2011 19:41
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As well as anonymous statements from staff affected by the proposed transfer of many
of Gloucestershire's NHS services to a social enterprise, we are also receiving statements
of support from the public - and are happy to publicise them where appropriate.

The following is a powerful email we received from John and Josie in Tuffley reminding us
why we must campaign to save our NHS:

"My husband and I are both just shy of 80 years old, We are both able to just
remember a time before the NHS. You might wonder why I am writing to you but We
feel that there are not many of us that can remember our parents fear when
illness struck the family. I would just like young parents to think how they
would feel if they were in a situation my parents were in when I was taken ill
as a young child I required a operation which they had to pay for. They didn't
have the money to pay and without the help of my grandparents and neighbors
there was no way I could have had the operation. I was lucky good neighbors and
my grandparents did a collection but I know my parents went through hell
wondering how they could find the money. If any of us needed see a doctor my
parents had to wait until pay day, money was so short you only went if there
was no choice as to pay meant cut backs on the food which for us was sparce
anyway.

The NHS was the most wonderful thing to happen to Britain, when my child
required a operation no problems, no worries. People just cannot imagine how
the NHS changed our lives.  The reduction in child mortality, longer lives for
adults, suffering was treated and the country had healthier and happy people.

My husband and I are healthy active people, and live a full retirement neither
of us are on any medication and are very lucky and this is due to the NHS. Now
we are wondering if our children and grandchildren will have the same future we
have had, as without the NHS private care is still out of the range of most
working families.

PLEASE CONTINUE TO FIGHT TO SAVE OUR NHS AND KEEP OUR LOCAL SERVICES IN THE NHS"

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 20:10
 


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