Don't forget to keep signing our petition: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/keep-gloucestershire-s-nhs-public/sign.html
Below is our most recent press release. We're trying hard to keep this website up to date, but if you are a reading this as an employee of a media organisation, do email or call for the latest information.
PRESS RELEASE 13/02/2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
or Caroline Molloy 07931 302507
GLOUCESTERSHIRE PEOPLE POWER ON SHOW AGAIN
Summary: Last week, Thursday 9th February, a Gloucestershire resident discovered that his legal case heard in the High Court in London would not be answered by a defence. Instead, NHS Gloucestershire, the Defendants, agreed not to proceed with their plans to 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) in an out of court settlement.
In the recent case, Gloucestershire health bosses had planned to transfer the county’s community health services, including over 3000 NHS nurses, physiotherapists, health visitors and podiatrists (1), out of the NHS on 1st October 2011. At 2.15pm in Court 19 of the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday, NHS Gloucestershire and Michael Lloyd issued a joint statement in which the Primary Care Trust agreed to withdraw plans to transfer hospitals, health clinics and services out of the NHS. They agreed to go back to the drawing board, to consult the local community and health workers about what they want, and to seek NHS options, which do not require a competitive tendering process (2). Maternity and prison health services were transferred to the Acute Trust (Gloucester and Cheltenham Hospitals) and the 2gether Trust (mental health services) last year, which campaigners argue indicates there are at least two possible routes to keep the rest of Gloucestershire's community health services in the NHS.
The joint statement marks the latest stage in a campaign that has involved thousands of people in protests, public meetings, petitions and fundraising (3). Campaigners have pledged to continue to work with health workers, unions and the general public in pushing for the services to remain within the NHS.
James Beecher, Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts said: “We’re winning, but we have not won yet. We will need to continue to work together as citizens and health workers, making our views known, and we will be organising a public meeting as soon as possible (4). We continue to collect signatures on our online ‘Keep Gloucestershire’s NHS Public petition (5). As Nye Bevan said, “The NHS will continue to exist for as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it”. We hope our local health services will more remain in the NHS, publicly owned and accountable, for many years to come.”
Caroline Molloy, a spokesperson of Stroud Against the Cuts, added: “We are delighted that options for community health services in Gloucestershire to remain within the NHS are now back on the table. This is what the community wanted. This outcome would not have been possible without the work and support we have received from the people of Gloucestershire”
Statements of support have been flooding in from members of the public, health staff and national figures (6), many of these are available on the Stroud Against the Cuts website: www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk (7), along with further information about the case.
Click Read more for notes (1) to (7).
Notes for editors:
(1) Without the legal challenge, Stroud General Hospital, Beeches Green health clinic and other community hospitals, health clinics and services in Gloucestershire would have been transferred to a private limited company outside the NHS. The services that would have affected included 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 were also to be transferred to Gloucestershire Care Services Community Interest Company. Nine community hospitals (Stroud, Cirencester, Dilke, Fairford, Lydney, Bourton (Moore Cottage), Moreton, Tewkesbury, and the new Vale Hospital in Dursley) and nine health clinics (Beeches Green Stroud, Stonehouse Health Clinic, Cinderford Health Centre, Coleford Health Centre, Lydney Health Centre, Hesters Way Healthy Living Centre, Holts Health Centre Newent, Lydbrook Health Centre, Symn Lane Clinic (Wotton-under-Edge)) were also part of the plans.
“Lloyd v Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust
In a joint statement issued today, NHS Gloucestershire and claimant Michael Lloyd said: “Both parties agree that the public of Gloucestershire deserve the best possible NHS services. We recognise the need for efficient use of public funds and believe that an end to legal proceedings is in everyone's interest - particularly patients. NHS Gloucestershire is pleased to be able to report that it has agreed terms to settle the Judicial Review brought by Gloucestershire resident, Mr Michael Lloyd. The PCT recognises that it is important to maintain the confidence of patients, public and staff in decisions made concerning NHS services in our county. Accordingly, and in view of the matters raised in court and without in any way accepting that there is merit in the legal complaints made by Mr Lloyd, the PCT has agreed not to implement its decision to enter into a contract with GCS at this time.
The PCT has agreed that it will start a new process to explore the best option for providing community services in Gloucestershire. As part of that process, NHS Gloucestershire will advertise for expressions of interest for the provision of NHS services in Gloucestershire. The PCT will take necessary steps to ensure an appropriate level of staff and public engagement. Following this step, the PCT will then make a decision concerning whether to enter into arrangements with another NHS body for the provision of community healthcare services in Gloucestershire or whether its preferred option is for the provision of services through a different arrangement, including the possibility of such services being provided by a Community Interest Company. The relevant community services are presently being delivered by staff employed by the PCT. This arrangement will continue whilst these processes are followed through. Mr Lloyd acknowledges that the PCT have responded properly to local concerns by taking the above steps and is grateful to the PCT for doing so. NHS Gloucestershire acknowledges that this has been a difficult time for care services staff and they want an outcome which is the best for staff and patients alike. They also wish to minimise as far as possible uncertainty for its dedicated and professional staff.””
(4) The Public Meeting will be held in The Subscription Rooms Stroud. Date and time are TBC, but journalists will be informed as soon as possible (and by the end of this week at the latest).
(6) A response to the outcome by Unite the Union is available on their website (http://www.unitetheunion.org/news__events/latest_news/unite_reaction_to_gloucestersh.aspx), and is included here in hull: “Unite, the country biggest union, has responded to today’s (Thursday, 9 February) Judicial Review decision into the outsourcing of community health services, by reiterating the union’s commitment to ensuring that health services remain within the NHS. Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust agreed not to implement its decision to enter into a contract with Gloucestershire Care Services – a social enterprise organisation. The decision relates to the Judicial Review brought before the court by a Gloucestershire resident 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). Unite national officer, Rachael Maskell said: “We believe that Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust should remain in the NHS and will continue to campaign to secure this. “This outcome shows that proper procedures must be followed, including proper consultation with the workforce. This is another spanner in the works for David Cameron’s damaging health reforms and is an example of how under his plans public money will be wasted on lawyers rather than patients.”
(7) Some of the messages received have been uploaded, but this is an ongoing process, as there are a large number of messages to process. For the latest selection see: http://stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/fightback/healthcarecuts/38-healthcare/112-messages-received-since-the-outcome-of-the-legal-case-from-staff-gloucestershire-people-and-nhs-campaigners-nationally.html