GP Federation

  • Councils and residents close ranks to fight 'new ploy' to close Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals

     

     

    Four hundred people came to Hammersmith Town Hall on a cold Tuesday night (29th November) to hear about the fight against NHS proposals which will force the closure of Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals.

    Health services in the north west of London are already stretched after "Shaping a Healthier Future" (SaHF) plans (2012) resulted in the closure of Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals’ A&E departments in September 2014. Ealing lost its maternity unit in 2015 and its children's ward last June.

    In June 2016 local authorities in England were being asked to sign up to Sustainability and Transformation Plans ("STPs") but Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham Councils have refused to do so, saying that this would see the end of their hospitals as major providers of vitally needed blue-light A&Es and acute beds.

    The meeting was chaired by Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s Vivienne Lukey, cabinet member for health and adult social care.

  • This is the biggest change to the NHS you've never heard of: "STP"s

    The NHS has lost over 50 percent of its bed capacity in the past 25 years. Our bed to population ratios are now below Eastern European countries. Further hospital closures will simply be disastrous.

     

    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 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.

    In fact, we already have a major bed crisis. The NHS has lost over 50 per cent of its bed capacity in the past 25 years. Our bed to population ratios are now below Eastern European countries. Further hospital closures will simply be disastrous.