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Stroud District Council pass motion calling for scrutiny of NHS plans

Wednesday, 28 September 2011 21:53
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[Immediate report, to be updated. The Citizen publised a story on this here: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/party-support-scrutiny-NHS-handover/story-13437142-detail/story.html]

On Wednesday, 28th September, Stroud District Council hosted an "Extraordinary Meeting" to discuss a motion put forward by Cllr Karen Cross (Labour) and Cllr John Marjoram (Green) regarding the transfer of NHS services in Gloucestershire to Gloucestershire Care Services Community Interest Company. The meeting was well attended my members of the public who filled the public gallery, with jeers and applause as appropriate.

After a fairly "extraordinary" debate (of the farcical kind), featuring several ammendments, a version of the motion was eventually passed unanimously by the Council. The text follows:

 

"RESOLVED: that this Council is concerned that the public view is that GLOUCESTERSHIRE'S COMMUNITY HEALTH SERVICES are being rushed into a new 'social enterprise' organisation without proper consultation or preparation. We demand proper scrutiny by the Health Community and Care Scrutiny Committee of Gloucestershire County Council so that all assumptions being made by Gloucestershire Community Health Service can be tested and alternative proposals can be considered.
 
 The following questions would be submitted by Cllr Apperley to the Health and Community and Care Scrutiny Committee of Gloucestershire County Council:-
 
·        What are the alternative possible structures and why is a social enterprise outside of the NHS considered the most suitable?
·        Who will actually own the company? Who appoints the Board? Who appoints the Chief Executive? How will staff actually be involved in the running of the company and the appointment of future managers?
·        What will be the terms and conditions for existing staff if or when they move to this organisation?
·        What assurances are there if the social enterprise fails?
·        What will be the terms of conditions for new staff?  
·        Will staff who transfer from the social enterprise back to the NHS loose out on pensions compared to those who remain in the NHS throughout? 
·        How will the local community be represented and what degree of control
will community representatives have?”

 

This ammended motion sadly removes the phrase whereby the "Council wholeheartedly condemns" the rushed transfer - terminology which was apparently too "inflammatory" for the Tories (inflammaTories?).

It also removes the statement that the council "wholeheartedly support[s] the stance being taken by the Gloucester and District Trades Council, Local Anti-Cuts Groups and the general public in fighting this major change to health provision in the County". Hardly suprising that the Tories could not stomach this.

A full report from the meeting will appear on this website in due course.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 September 2011 10:51
 

2nd press release - Demonstration and legal action to save our NHS

Saturday, 24 September 2011 13:23
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Over 500 people attended a demonstration in Stroud today to protest against plans to take local hospitals and community health services across Gloucestershire out of the NHS, and into a ‘Community Interest Company’ which is being badged a ‘social enterprise’.

The crowd, with shouts of ‘Whose NHS?  Our NHS!’, ‘The NHS is not for Sale’ and ‘Social Enterprise – No way!  We Demand Our Say!” wound through central Stroud, before listening to speeches outside Stroud's Subscription Rooms about how the plans are being fought both through legal action and through community and union action.

Photo courtesy Robin Hayward. More photos to come!

For a video of the march see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7s0vTzuNeA&feature=youtu.be

For more information and links to press coverage, click 'Read More'

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 19:45 Read more...
 

1st press release - legal action launched to prevent PCT social enterprise transfer

Friday, 23 September 2011 15:57
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www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/files/press release glos final.doc

A local resident has written to NHS Gloucestershire threatening legal action unless it agrees to withdraw its decision to transfer NHS primary and community care services, including 9 Gloucestershire Hospitals[i], to a “community interest company”. 

The resident is being supported by the local campaign group, Stroud Against Cuts[ii]  and his lawyers Leigh Day & Co Solicitors[iii] have written to the PCT this week, giving it notice that unless it agrees to halt the transfer plans by 4pm on Thursday 22nd September, judicial review proceedings will be launched. An interim injunction will be sought to stop the proposed transfer of services taking place on 1 October as planned.   

Caroline Molloy of Stroud Against Cuts said as follows:

“We have been advised that NHS Gloucestershire is acting unlawfully. It cannot just hand over all its NHS Primary Care Trust services to an unaccountable “Social Enterprise” or “Community Interest Company”. It must either keep the NHS services itself, or have a proper process that would allow services to be provided by another NHS body. Both these options would keep our health services in the NHS, and accountable to the public. NHS Gloucestershire has claimed all along they don’t want to privatise our health services, so we urge them to embrace our legal advice, squash this transfer and think again.” 

David Drew, Stroud’s former MP said:

“Transferring to a Community Interest Company would be costly and damaging to local health services, with massive extra bills for VAT and administration, and would be a stepping stone to privatisation within 3 years or less.”

 Stroud’s Mayor, John Marjoram said:

 “We are outraged that major changes to the way the NHS is run are being pushed through, with no consultation or due process, even before the controversial Health and Social Care Bill has been passed into law. A public meeting organised by Stroud Town Council on August 31st about the proposals revealed near unanimous passionate opposition to the plans.[iv]

Rosa Curling of Leigh Day & Co Solicitors said:

Our client considers the proposal to transfer community services to a company outside the NHS is likely to be highly detrimental to the NHS services which he and other Gloucestershire residents receive. If the PCT intends to enter into arrangements with a community interest company, it is first required in law to go through a process which allows other economic operators the opportunity of being awarded these contracts.

The PCT is under a clear legal duty to offer the opportunity to other economic operators, including NHS trusts which operate primary and community care services in counties near to Gloucestershire, to bid for these contracts. No such opportunity has been given and the attempt by the PCT to enter into a contract with a company outside the NHS, in such circumstances, constitutes an unlawful procurement process.”

 

Stroud Against Cuts is holding an emergency demonstration about this issue this Saturday 24 September, leaving from Park Road, near Stroud Maternity Hospital,  at 11am.[v]

Concerns that these plans[vi] are a stepping stone to privatisation are highlighted by Monday’s announcement that services provided by the first ex-NHS community health social enterprise, Central Surrey Health, will in future be provided by Assura Medical, a private owned subsidiary of Virgin, after the social enterprise failed to win a competitive contract.[vii] The Government had previously lauded Central Surrey Health as a flagship example of its ‘Big Society’ vision for healthcare.



[i] The hospitals affected are: Stroud, Berkeley, Cirencester, Dilke, Fairford, Lydney, Bourton (Moore Cottage), Moreton, Tewkesbury. Also affected are the following Clinics: Beeches Green Stroud, Stonehouse Health Clinic, Sandpits Clinic Dursley, Cinderford Health Centre, Coleford Health Centre, Lydney Health Centre, Hesters Way Healthy Living Centre, Hotts Health Centre Newent, Lydbrook Health Centre, Symn Lane Clinic (Wooton-under-Edge). Services to be transferred include all District Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Specialist Nursing, Out of hours medical and nursing services, Pharmacy, Sexual Health and Chlamydia screening, Podiatry, Dental services, Wheelchair services, Musculo-skeletal services, Telehealth and Specialist Domiciliary care.

[ii] Stroud Against the Cuts is a community group formed in 2010. For more information see: http://www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk

[iii] For more information on Leigh Day see: http://www.leighday.co.uk/Home. Leigh Day & Co is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). The firm's SRA number is 00067679.

[iv] See articles in the local papers for more information: ‘Passions run high at public meeting to debate hospital changes’ (http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/NHS-changes-branded-fig-leaf-privatisation/story-13251816-detail/story.html),  ‘NHS Changes branded fig-leaf for privatisation’ (http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/NHS-changes-branded-fig-leaf-privatisation/story-13251816-detail/story.html)

[v] The Protest called by Stroud Against the Cuts meets at 10.30am on Park Road, Stroud, GL5. A March to the Subscription Rooms, Stroud, GL5 1AE will leave at 11.00am, for a rally with local speakers at 12noon. For more information see: http://www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/fightback/healthcarecuts/38-healthcare/86-protest-against-step-to-privatisation-of-nhs-saturday-september-24th.html.

[vi] Similar plans are due to take effect in 20 PCTs across the country, particularly in the South West where 5 Primary Care Trusts are due to transfer most or all of their healthcare staff out of the NHS on 1st October. The SW Strategic Health Authority is headed by Sir Ian Carruthers, a member of David Cameron’s ‘kitchen cabinet’ of NHS advisors. (see: http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/clinical-specialisms/public-health/expert-panel-to-advise-prime-minister-on-nhs/5029315.article).

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 19:31
 

Protest against step to privatisation of NHS, Saturday September 24th

Thursday, 15 September 2011 21:27
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Protest against the transfer of Stroud Hospital and other Gloucestershire Hospitals and NHS services out of the NHS and into a Social Enterprise Company. Called by Stroud Against the Cuts.

Meet 10.30 for 11.00am, Saturday 24th September

Park Road (below the Maternity Hospital)

March to the Sub Rooms for a Rally at 12noon

- Keep our NHS Public: don’t hand our services to a Social Enterprise

Please help us to publicise this event by spreading the information above and by printing and distributing poster and flyers, click the links that follow for the poster and flyer files:

www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/files/SATC NHS Protest illustrated flyer.pdf

www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/files/SATC poster_2_A4.pdf

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Lobbying the County Council and it's Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Thursday, 15 September 2011 20:37
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The County Council's next Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) meeting is on Tuesday 20th September - 10.15am, Cotswold District Council chamber.

 

Stroud Against the Cuts will be lobbying this meeting outside from 9.30am. This map should show where the chamber is (the postcode is GL7 1SE if not). http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?hl=en&ie=UTF8&msa=0&msid=105049739461554593432.000473d786097eea30e6e&ll=51.711741. Please contact us if you would like to attend and we will try to co-ordinate transport.,-1.963377&spn=0.009307,0.022745&z=15&source=embed

 

We are also calling on people to contact the current Chair of the Health and Overview Scrutiny Committee (stephen.mcmillan@gloucestershire.gov.uk) and our local county councillors, see http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1 for contact details.

 

 

For points you might like to make in your emails, and reasons why we are targetting the County Council's HOSC click the link below

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