Drawing together NHS and other public body facts for Jan 2012 - Jan 2017
it concludes that we cannot afford to close any more Type 1, blue light A&Es
as there are an insufficient number at present and they are barely coping
- and are on downward trend.
The demo on 4th March was certainly well-prepared, noisy and well-attended, but just how many protestors were there? The estimates varied a lot. I was told by a Police Superintendent in Whitehall that the number was "10-15 thousands" which seemed to me on the low side. But other sources, including a BBC news report on line, suggested 250 thousands. So what was it?
A protestor made a Freedom of Information request to the Metropolitan Police and on 5th April the answer was....."The searches failed to locate any information relevant to your request, therefore, the information you have requested is not held by the MPS [Metropolitan Police Service]". This is despite an announcement, made twice from the stage erected in Parliament Square, that the number of demonstrators was ..... 250 thousands.
This is not so much "fake news" as "no news".
Someone, somewhere wants to bury this demonstration.....
Hugely successful demonstration by NHS campaigners in central London on 4th March 2017
They came from all over the country united in their concern for the present state of the NHS and their fears for its future. Different sources estimate attendance from "tens of thousands" to 250,000.
From "Save Our Services Cumbria" (Whitehaven Hospital), to "Hands off Huddersfield Royal Infirmary", to "Calderdale 999Call for the NHS" (above), to "Defend our NHS York", to "Bristol Protect our NHS", to "Sussex Defend the NHS", all were protesting about planned or actual A&E, acute units or whole hospitals closures. Health Campaigns Together and the People's Assembly had done a superb job calling together dozens of NHS campaign groups and organizing the biggest NHS demonstration in central London in decades.
The range of banners, placards and costumes were wonderfully imaginative.
The campaigners assembled in Tavistock Square at 12 midday, where they listened to Dr John Lister from Health Emergency, BMA, and nurses and midwives representatives, Dr Philip Hammond (GP, comedian and "Private Eye" columnist), SOH Chair Merril Hammer and the Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham, Stephen Cowan, among others. The National Health Singers sang their now famous NHS anthem.
As we squeezed through the streets near Covent Garden I asked a waitress outside a cafe how long the protesters had been coming through. She answered: "Two hours". I hugged her!
At Parliament Square I asked a police Superintendent how many we were. He answered 10 - 12,000. This seems on the low side given that we filled Parliament Square and the approach from Whitehall. Anyway it was definitely "tens of thousands". This is an utterly enormous number given that there has been NO publicity about the Slash, Trash and Privatize plans for the general public to understand what is at stake. Only those with a special interest - NHS personnel and students, trade unions, campaigners and politicians - have grasped that now is the culmination of an insidious attack lasting 40 years on every part of the NHS, from the Junior Doctors' contract and the removal of student nurses' bursary to the waste of the internal market (adding 10% to admin costs), the CCGs set up under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, PFIs (cost x 6 or 7 - "Wonga" hospitals) and the serial "re-disorganisations" foisted on the NHS by highly paid, unwanted management consultants like McKinsey, and their plans for US-style Accountable Care Organisations.
At Parliament Square John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, Dr Louise Irvine (Lewisham campaign and National Health Action Party) and many trade union leaders addressed the crowd.
The weather was good, the mood was one of anger, anxiety but also solidarity. There were so many placards with Nye Bevan's famous words:
PS: Please return the Save Our Hospitals Charing Cross and Hammersmith placards - we will need them for another outing soon, I'm sure!
#OurNHS 4 March 2017 HCT Demo
Imperial CEO resigns
The rising pressures on Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust finally took their toll yesterday. Dr Tracey Batten, CEO of the trust with three of the busiest acute hospitals in west London, resigned after the Board meeting in public at Charing Cross yesterday, Wednesday 25th January 2017.
The timing of this resignation could not be worse, with A&E attendances rising to unmanageable levels, a growing waiting list for surgery both emergency and elective, and a programme of redevelopment at a critical point at St Mary's and in the wider context of the "Shaping a Healthier Future" business plans.
Dr Batten was brave and honest to allow the BBC full access to Imperial's hospitals over 6 weeks. The documentary series "Hospital" is being broadcast on BBC2 on Wednesdays at 9pm, available later on the i-player.
The Trust is closely helped by PwC for day-to-day financial management, although we were assured at the Board meeting on Wednesday that it "can pay its bills".
NW London is one of the 44 NHS "footprints" in the most advanced stages of preparation for the implementation of its "Sustainability and Transformation Plan". It is known to be closely watched by the Department of Health. The pressure of implementing completely unwarranted and impossible cuts has, it is believed, prompted this resignation. We look forward to Imperial acknowledging that the evidence shows increased demand for beds, not for cuts in beds and staff.
Postscript: On 6th February Dr Batten informed us that in 6 months she will be going back to spend time with her ageing parents in Australia.
The current STP is the Oct 2016 version. In January 2017 the finance spreadsheets and the Delivery Plan were obtained by FOI. They reveal job cuts of 8,000, outpatients cuts of 222K, planned admissions cuts of 50K and A&E admissions cuts of 64K cumulatively by 2020/21. 500-600 beds will be cut by end March 2021.
People's Inquiry into NW London NHS - commission chaired by Michael Mansfield QC
The Inquiry's findings have been published on Wednesday 2nd December 2015. The full report can be accessed here.
“Deeply flawed hospital plans must be halted immediately” says Michael Mansfield QC
Please click here to read the Save Our Hospitals submission.
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