The Risk of Public Cuts to the NHS

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telegraph

SNP ministers defeated on NHS cuts

September 28, 2016

Scotland’s Health Minister is under pressure to review a series of cuts and closures to local NHS services after the SNP government lost its first parliamentary vote since May’s Holyrood election. MSPs backed by 64 votes to zero a Labour motion demanding Shona Robison “call in” and review health board plans to downgrade or close services across the country. The 62 SNP MSPs abstained. Although the vote was not binding on the minority SNP government, Anas Sarwar, Labour’s health spokesman, called on ministers to “respect the will of parliament”. The party used an earlier debate to highlight how maternity services at the Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria and Inverclyde Hospital in Greenock, paediatric services at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and trauma orthopaedics at Monklands Hospital in Airdrie are all at risk.

It also highlighted concerns over the future of inpatient services at the Centre for Integrated Care in Glasgow, cleft palate services at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh and the closure of Glasgow’s Lightburn Hospital. Watched from the public gallery by local campaigners, Ms Robison said no final decisions have been made and that an established process is in place to determine if a particular service change is deemed major. But all the opposition parties swung behind the Labour motion to give Nicola Sturgeon’s government its first defeat since losing its majority in May’s election. The SNP would also have been defeated last week had Labour leader Kezia Dugdale registered a vote against the Nationalists’ council tax plans.

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SOURCE = The Telegraph

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ITV

NHS should get £5bn per year ‘Brexit bonus’, former health secretary says

September 22, 2016

The NHS should be given a “Brexit bonus” of £5 billion per year after both the Leave and Remain camps promised more money for the health service in the run up to the referendum, the former health secretary has said. Speaking as a guest speaker at the NHS Providers annual lecture, Lord Lansley said: “At the referendum, on one hand the public were told that staying in would mean a strong economy and more money for the NHS

“On the other hand the public were told that leaving would mean redirecting the EU budget and more money for the NHS. “So for political reasons, both campaigns told the public that whatever was going to happen in the future there would be more money for the NHS. So the public have a right to expect it. “They have a right to expect a Brexit bonus for the NHS.” Lord Lansley added that the extra funding should be given to the NHS from 2019, the earliest point at which the UK could have left the EU.

Copyright © = ITV News

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Daily Record

Labour say ‘axe set to fall’ on local hospital services as they hit out at SNP over brutal NHS cuts

September 13, 2016

LABOUR has hit out at the SNP amid claims that the “axe is set to fall” on a number of local hospital services. A dossier from the party raises concerns over the future of maternity services at the Vale of Leven hospital in Dunbartonshire and at Inverclyde hospital in Greenock, along with children’s services at Royal Alexandra hospital in Paisley, and orthopaedics at Monklands hospital in Airdrie. Health Secretary Shona Robison said these are “valued local services” and that the Scottish Government has not approved proposals being made by Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board.

But Labour leader Kezia Dugdale will press the Scottish Government on the NHS as she joins with campaigners outside the Royal Alexandra Hospital. Speaking ahead of that Ms Dugdale said: “Thousands of families depend on the help and support they get from their local hospitals. “It would be completely unacceptable for the SNP to shrug their shoulders and look the other way.” She claimed that in the run up to May’s Holyrood election “The SNP promised to protect these services” but added that following the vote “now those promises are set to be broken”.

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SOURCE = Daily Record

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Mirror

Fatalities ‘just a matter of time’ say parents of babies born at roadside because of Tory NHS cuts

September 11, 2016

Three sets of parents whose babies were born at the side of the road say lives will be lost if nothing is done to turn back the tide of Tory NHS cuts. In 2014, Stafford County Hospital’s maternity unit became midwife only – with all consultants moving to another hospital. This means if there is any chance of complications, expectant mothers have to travel for at least an extra 35 minutes to give birth – longer with traffic. Since the change, a number of babies have been born at the roadside, with one arriving at a bus stop, another on the hard shoulder of a busy motorway and a third outside a wildlife park. Although these three tots were delivered healthy, their mums believe it is only a matter of time before tragedy strikes.

Lynda Thompson-McNaught, 31, was told she couldn’t give birth at SCH – three miles from her Stafford home – and would have to travel 18 miles to Stoke Royal University Hospital. But, on the way, the ambulance had to pull over at the Trentham Monkey Forest wildlife attraction so daughter Cerys could be delivered. The mum-of-two said: “We went past the maternity unit right here in Stafford to drive all the way to Stoke. I was scared out of my wits. “It was only when I finally heard Cerys cry, that I could relax.” Lynda’s partner Andy Cliff, 30, missed his daughter’s birth after driving separately to SRUH. He said: “Jeremy Hunt is crippling the NHS with a lack of staff and lack of investment. “The Tory government are doing what they did with miners in the 1980s – demonising them so they can close hospitals just like they closed the coal mines.”

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SOURCE = The Mirror

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The Independent

This is the biggest change to the NHS you’ve never heard of

August 30, 2016

The government’s Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STP) have been shrouded in secrecy. Despite being the biggest change to the NHS since the Health & Social Care Act 2012, they will not be voted on them in parliament. So what exactly are the STPs? The NHS will be divided up into 44 footprints, but you need a glossary to translate these terms. Sustainability means cuts. This is part of the drive towards £22bn in cuts by 2020 – bearing in mind that we’ve already had £15bn in NHS cuts in the last parliament generating a manufactured crisis. Cuts mean a massive programme of hospital closures across the country and it will also lead to mergers and permanently selling off the NHS estate of land and assets.

The bogus narrative around unsustainability and unaffordability has been spun by the private healthcare and insurance industry, captured politicians and the media. In truth, we spend much less on healthcare than other advanced economies. In order for these footprints to receive funds, there are strings attached. The footprints will have to sign up to transformation, which basically means privatisation. The footprints will have to adopt unproven models of care. The bigger picture here is integrated healthcare. It sounds great but it’s imported from the US. The NHS five year plan – the Five Year Forward View – specifically states that the NHS should emulate US style integrated or accountable care. Integrated care organisations are springing up all over the place. This is all being sold as care in the community, but there are no extra resources for GP and community services.

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SOURCE = The Independent

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The Independent

How the NHS is being dismantled in 10 easy steps

August 27, 2016

Nobody’s told you, but the government’s Health and Social Care Act has legally abolished the NHS. On the surface, it appears that nothing has changed. You can still see your GP or go to hospital and receive care free at the point of delivery. But behind the scenes, something else is going on: the NHS is being privatised. As a GP in Tower Hamlets, I want to tell my patients what’s really going on. Over the last 30 years, successive governments have dismantled our national health service – and here’s how they did it.

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SOURCE = The Independent

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BBC News

NHS cuts ‘planned across England’

August 26, 2016

Plans are being drawn up that could see cuts to NHS services across England. The BBC has seen draft sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) which propose ward closures, cuts in bed numbers and changes to A&E and GP care in 44 areas. There have been no consultations on the plans so far. NHS England, which needs to find £22bn in efficiency savings by 2020-21, said reorganising local services is essential to improve patient care. But the Nuffield Trust think tank said while STPs could lead to “fundamental changes”, many of the plans do not meet the financial targets set by the government and will face a “dauntingly large implementation task”.

Laura Townshend, director of the campaign group 38 Degrees, said the plans had received very little public or political scrutiny. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “A key concern is why it hasn’t been this transparent up until now. “These plans are due to be signed off this October – a matter of weeks away”. The STPs are being drawn up by local health and social care leaders, although many remain unpublished. They were asked to find potential savings and efficiencies at the end of last year to meet financial targets set out by the former Chancellor George Osborne and NHS England head Simon Stevens.

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SOURCE = BBC News

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guardian logo

NHS plans closures and radical cuts to combat growing deficit in health budget

August 26, 2016

NHS bosses throughout England are quietly drawing up plans for hospital closures, cutbacks and radical changes to the way healthcare is delivered in an attempt to meet spiralling demand and plug the hole in their finances, an investigation by the Guardian and campaign group 38 Degrees has revealed. Without the changes, the NHS at local level could be facing a financial shortfall of about £20bn by 2020-21 if no action is taken, the research suggests. The cost-cutting shakeup is being overseen by NHS England, but is already sparking a series of local political battles over the future of services, and exposes the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to fresh criticism after his controversial role in the junior doctors dispute. Last year’s Conservative manifesto pledged an extra £8bn a year for the NHS by the end of this parliament, as demanded by the NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens, in his 2014 “five-year forward view”. But Stevens made clear that was the minimum money needed, and radical reforms to the way healthcare is delivered would also be necessary to make the NHS hit its budgets.

NHS England has divided England into 44 “footprint” areas, and each was asked to submit a cost-cutting “sustainability and transformation plan” (STP). The Guardian has seen the detailed plans for north-west London, while 38 Degrees, a crowdfunded campaign group, commissioned the consultancy Incisive Health to collate and analyse proposals from across the rest of England. The picture that emerges includes:

  • In the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland region, there are proposals to reduce the number of acute hospitals from three to two.
  • In the Black Country region of the West Midlands there are proposals to reduce the number of acute units from five to four and close one of two district general hospitals.
  • A reduction in the number of face-to-face meetings between doctors and patients in north-west London through the use of more “virtual consultations” and a proposal to give patients coaching to help them manage their own conditions without seeing a doctor.

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SOURCE = The Guardian

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unison

Fighting cuts and privatisation in the NHS

The NHS is facing threats more serious than at any time in its history. Services and jobs are threatened, with some employers using the economy as an excuse to attack staff pay, terms and conditions. This has an impact on patients. UNISON believes that patients come before money. Our priority is to make sure that the NHS is safe for patients and staff. In England the Health and Social Care Act is pushing the NHS towards becoming a full-scale market where private companies bid to provide services. Although Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have generally avoided taking this path, they are still under pressure to privatise services – this pressure is being increased as budgets get tighter.

The NHS in England has been told to find £20bn of cuts by 2015. The government is portraying the cuts as efficiency savings that would be reinvested in patient care. But this is a myth; the treasury took back £1bn of the £1.4bn saved by the NHS in the past year. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland budgets are also tight as the Westminster government’s austerity policies take effect. In Scotland NHS funding has been increased but the increase was cancelled out by the demand on local boards to make efficiency savings. In Wales the NHS has received a ‘flat cash’ settlement, in effect a real-terms decrease in funding and in Northern Ireland the NHS has been told to save 6% a year for the next three years.

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SOURCE = Unison

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