You are here:   Home How we're fighting back Healthcare Cuts and Privatisation Healthcare
Healthcare

NHS staff comment on Social Enterprise proposal

Friday, 30 September 2011 10:07
Print PDF

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)

 

 

"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)

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:

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 December 2011 10:10
 

Press Release: Transfer of NHS services to Social Enterprise halted, SATC says Keep services in the NHS

Friday, 30 September 2011 08:59
Print PDF

Stroud Against the Cuts says: "Offering Gloucestershire's NHS services to a social enterprise opens those services to privatisation, it does not save them from privatisation. The legal action will open those services back up to the NHS.  NHS Gloucestershire can and should keep these services in the NHS and avoid any need for any tendering process."
 

A Full Press Release is available be clicking 'Read More' below. BBC Gloucestershire have covered the story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-15124270

You can hear an interview with Caroline Molloy of Stroud Against Cuts on BBC Gloucestershire Friday 30th September morning here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p00kcfqj/Mark_Cummings_NHS_in_Gloucestershire/

Skip to 1:06:20 for the piece on NHS Gloucestershire and the legal challenge.

Last Updated on Friday, 30 September 2011 16:35 Read more...
 

Stroud District Council pass motion calling for scrutiny of NHS plans

Wednesday, 28 September 2011 21:53
Print PDF

[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
Print PDF

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
Print PDF

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
 


Page 13 of 14