You are here:   Home How we're fighting back Healthcare Cuts and Privatisation Healthcare PRESS RELEASE: CRUNCH POINT ARRIVES IN LONG CAMPAIGN AGAINST LOCAL NHS PRIVATISATION


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Interview/Photo Opportunity: Monday October 15th, [campaigners from across Gloucestershire will attend an extraordinary board meeting and  respond to the decision on the future of Gloucestershire’s health services]. Contact: Caroline Molloy, Stroud Against the Cuts - 07931 302507

On Monday, October 15th, the Board of NHS Gloucestershire will hold an extraordinary meeting to decide whether Gloucestershire’s community health services will be run by an NHS Trust, or opened up to bids from the private sector.

This marks a decisive moment in Gloucestershire campaigners’ long running campaign to keep the county’s community hospitals, clinics and health services in the NHS.  Earlier plans to transfer Gloucestershire’s community hospitals, clinics and health services [1], to a “social enterprise” (a non-NHS body) on 1st October 2011, were halted in an eleventh hour legal challenge by retired railway worker Michael Lloyd, 76, from Stroud, in Feb 2012.

On Wednesday 10th October 2012, NHS Gloucestershire revealed the outcome of a public consultation, which they were obliged to conduct as part of the legal settlement reached with Mr Lloyd. NHS Gloucestershire state [2] that “During the 12 week engagement period, NHS Gloucestershire has received a significant level of feedback regarding the future management of its community health services. The overwhelming majority of respondents, from all groups, expressed a preference for Option 1 – the establishment of a new NHS Trust.” (emphasis added). Of 2,564 responses, 96% voted for Option 1, in addition to a petition of 6,530 signatures expressing support for Option 1.

James Beecher from Stroud Against the Cuts responded by saying “We would like to thank all those who completed the survey and who’ve helped the campaign get to this stage. We’ve always said that putting our health services out to tender was unnecessary and that staying in the NHS via a new NHS Trust was possible, popular, and appropriate.  We’re glad that NHS Gloucestershire has now made clear that this is a valid option and one for which, as they say themselves, support is “overwhelming”.”

Caroline Molloy from Stroud Against the Cuts added “Having established that both patients and staff want our NHS to remain in public hands, without tendering, that this is entirely possible, and the considerable disadvantages of going out to tender, it would be astonishing and irrational if the board instead opted for ongoing uncertainty and the risk of private take-over.  We urge the board to listen to the public, and to allow staff to get on with the job of looking after patients within the NHS.”.

The court settlement also required NHS Gloucestershire to survey NHS staff, and the report released on Wednesday [3] again states that their “overwhelming preference” is “to be a standalone organisation in the form of an NHS Trust”, with 1,482 staff voting for this option ( 91.03% of the responses).

The report also confirms that going out to tender would be a lengthy and complex process which could lead to services being split up, that a private sector takeover would incur additional costs which would have to be recouped in ‘efficiency savings’, and if this option were chosen, the ownership of hospital and health buildings would be transferred out of the NHS, to a company called ‘PropCo’.

Notes to editors:

[1] The services that are under discussion include eight community hospitals (Stroud, Cirencester, Dilke, Fairford, Lydney, 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)), as well as services such as District Nursing and Podiatry.

[2] For the report on the public “engagement exercise” see: [1]

[3]     For the report on the survey of affected staff see: [3]