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Stroud Against The Cuts

Our Open Letter on new parking system at Beeches Green Health Clinic - to PropCo and ParkingEye

Saturday, 16 July 2016 12:56 administrator
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Dear PropCo and Parking Eye, [the former manages land at NHS sites, the latter
is the company contracted to run parking systems at Beeches Green]

Re: Installation of number plate recognition costus igneus equipment at Beeches Green Health Centre in Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 4BH.

We are a Stroud-based community action group and we have received a number of complaints regarding the new parking system at Beeches Green. We have sent the following to PropCo and Parking Eye.

We would like to register our disapproval – we believe the new system is unnecessary and is resulting in unfair and unjustifiable impacts. Neither patients nor people who work in NHS/Social Care at the site should be forced to pay to park.

Staff in the various facilities at Beeches Green report many patients – daily - complaining of confusion regarding the use of the registration machines, many unsure if they are meant to be paying or registering for free parking. The signs are complicated and the two sections of car park (free/paid) are not clearly defined as separate - those with literacy problems may have difficulty with the signs (1% of the population are illiterate and 4% severely dyslexic). Many patients have paid unnecessarily due to fear of charges from Parking Eye and many more have simply not realised that they had to register, resulting in fines. For a several weeks, the pay machines were broken – with several people being fined as a result due to their not having access to the mobile phone app which was presented as the only alternative way to pay.

We have spoken to members of staff who tell us that they had never received reports of patients being unable to park under the previous system, though parking was sometimes difficult. When parking became difficult in the past, the caretaker was very successful in preventing non-NHS users from leaving their cars at the site.

The new system does not only prevent non-NHS users, but also excludes users and staff of services relating to the new Redwood building and the mammography unit. Previously, many of the people working in this new building were able to park within other parts of the estate. As a part of the NHS, users and staff of the breast screening unit were also able to park for free. Now we have a system where staff and users of some – but not all – NHS and social care services have to pay to park. This has led, amongst other things, to the breast-screening unit moving to a site further from the town centre, creating inconvenience and confusion for those accessing the services.

We request answers to the following queries:

Please can we have sight of the impact assessment carried out prior to installation of the new system?

Please can you explain why those using the Blue Badge scheme have to pay for parking when they use NHS services not within the older health centre or podiatry unit?

Please can you clarify the legal basis for escalation of parking charges (a £100 charge is threatened if £60 is not paid in the first two weeks)? Can you confirm that it is the case that the number plate recognition cameras/computer will record length of stay and that fines should be comparable to the applicable rate for parking?

Please can you provide details of the cost of the installation and its up-keep vs the cost of using a car park attendant?

Yours sincerely,

Stroud Against The Cuts
Last Updated ( Saturday, 16 July 2016 12:59 )

Celebrating the anniversary of the NHS - press release

Friday, 01 July 2016 15:56 administrator
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Press Release 01/07/2016 - Stroud Against the Cuts

Campaigners to celebrate 68th birthday of NHS

What: Celebratory gathering with 1940s music, open mic for tributes and speeches, facepainting, ‘NHS colours’ theme

Where: Pocket Park, next to Trinity Hall, opposite Stroud Hospital

When: 6-8pm Tuesday 5th July, photo-call 6.30pm

Contact: James Beecher – 07734 058789 | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Following a weekend of events exploring the past, present and future of the NHS held at Stroud Valleys Artspace last week, community group Stroud Against the Cuts are holding a small gathering to celebrate the anniversary of the founding of the NHS on 5th July 1948, and are inviting people to attend to share stories of their experiences.

The event comes as the overnight closure of the Minor Injuries Unit at Stroud Hospital, and parking fines at Beeches Green Health clinic are regular features in local news, and as questions arise over whether funding for the NHS will increase as hinted by the successful Vote Leave campaign.

Earlier this year, NHS doctors took historically unprecedented strike action and Gloucestershire has recently seen the A&E at Cheltenham downgraded, non-emergency ambulances handed over to private company Arriva to manage, and some NHS pharmacy services now handed to Lloyds Pharmacy. Nationally, waiting lists are up and there are widespread stories of access to and quality of treatment declining.

James Beecher, one of Stroud Against the Cuts organisers’ said: “On the NHS’s birthday we’ll be celebrating its founding principles and its importance to healthcare provision. It is necessary to have a health system that enables access to healthcare when you need it, provided by well-trained, well-rewarded workers. We want a health system that provides comprehensive, high quality care – promptly and universally, and paid for in the fairest way – through progressive taxation. To be affordable, such a system will need to be publicly owned and run – which is far more efficient. All of this has been under threat in recent decades, but it has rarely been more important than now that we come together to defend and extend the NHS.”

Recently the group held a weekend of events featuring international health policy expert John Lister, a Corporate Watch workshop on researching the private companies taking over the NHS, and advice for health and social care workers, as well as film screenings, music and comedy. Stroud Against the Cuts led a successful campaign in 2011/12 to defend local community health services from privatisation, and is set to launch a petition against the parking fines and arrangements at Beeches Green.


Celebrating, Defending, Reclaiming our NHS - a weekend of events

Thursday, 28 April 2016 20:33 administrator
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Ahead of the anniversary of the founding of the NHS on July 5th 1948, we've organised a weekend of events exploring the past, present and future of the NHS and how we can campaign to ensure healthcare for all.


We're kicking it all off with 20 questions on the NHS at The Retreat pub quiz - 9pm at the Church St pub (just off the High St, by Sunshine Health Food shop).


The main event is a day of talks, workshops and stalls, 10am-5pm on Saturday 18th - including workshops on researching privatisation, organising in health and social care workplaces and in community campaigns. There will be activities for children at the SVA (12.30-1.30pm), and parents will be able to leave children at the regular creche at the nearby Stroud Baptist Church on Saturday morning.

Caroline Molloy - Editor of OurNHS will offer tips on campaigning and attempt to answer all your niggling NHS questions (11am-12noon), Mark - a Unison rep and member of the Protect CCHP campaign which successfully fought privatisation of children's NHS services in Bristol and South Gloucestershire - will provide a training session for health and social care workers on organising in workplaces (12.30-1.30pm), and Corporate Watch will run a session on researching the private companies taking over our NHS (1.30-3.30pm).
Other health workers and speakers will join us for a panel debate, and we'll have a keynote speech on the past, present and future of the NHS (3.30pm - 4pm, followed by Q&A and debate till 5pm).

This is accompanied by a weekend-long exhibition at the Line Gallery in John St - "How Come We Didn't Know" - featuring Keep Our NHS Public member Marion Macalpine's series of photographs exploring the hidden privatisation of our NHS.

We're also screening Michael Moore's documentary comparing health systems internationally and the health insurance industry, SiCKO, 7-9pm on Saturday night and further entertainment comes in the form of HEARTBEAT! A night of comedy, video and music at the SVA, John St. 8pm - late on Friday night, and a 'Doctors and Nurses' closing party with the Vine Club 9.30pm - late on Saturday night.

Attendance to all events bar the Vine Club Closing Party is free - but we will be seeking to recover costs and collect donations to help us fund our NHS campaigning activity.


For more information read our latest newsletter for our supporters.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 12 June 2016 18:38 )

International Health Policy Expert to speak at weekend of NHS events - Press Release

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 09:43 administrator
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Press Release – 14/06/2016 – Stroud Against the Cuts

International Health Policy Expert to speak at weekend of NHS events

Support for event from The Retreat, which held an NHS Pub Quiz on Monday 13th

‘Healthcare for all’ is a special NHS weekend of events organised by community group Stroud Against the Cuts that will take place at the Stroud Valleys Artspace and nearby venues from 5pm on Friday 17th till 5pm on Sunday 19th June. The event will include:

  • Keynote speech from Dr John Lister (3.30-4.30pm, Saturday 18th
  • Screening of Michael Moore documentary (7-9pm, Saturday 18th
  • An informative photographic exhibition (open 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday)
  • A day of information and workshops (Saturday 10am-5pm)
  •  A comedy night (7pm-late, Friday 17th), and more

Providing a keynote speech at the event from 3.30-4.30pm at Stroud Baptist Church is international health policy expert John Lister, of Health Emergency. Dr Lister is a Senior Lecturer in Journalism, and Health Journalism at the Coventry University Department of Media and Communication with a PhD in Health Policy. He is a founder member of Keep Our NHS Public, and a board member of the International Association of Health Policy. In 2008, to mark the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service, John researched and wrote a major book: The NHS After 60, for Patients or Profits. He is also the author of two books on international health reform: Health Policy Reform: Driving the Wrong Way? and Global Health vs. Private Profit, and one of the authors of NHS For Sale – Myths, Lies & Deceptions, published last year (copies of which will be available at the event).

John will presenting a keynote speech on the past, present and future of the NHS, followed by a panel debate with Stroud’s Caroline Molloy, Editor of campaigning journalism website OurNHS openDemocracy. All weekend there will be an exhibition at the Line Gallery in John St - "How Come We Didn't Know" - featuring Keep Our NHS Public member Marion Macalpine's series of photographs exploring the hidden privatisation of our NHS, which has been touring the UK.

Stroud pub The Retreat is supporting the event with drinks for the exhibition Private View, and donated £50 as part of a pub quiz on Monday night which featured NHS questions supplied by Stroud Against the Cuts.

The weekend event will also feature a workshop on researching privatisation from Corporate Watch, and advice for health and social care workers from a member of a successful campaign against NHS-privatisation in Bristol. HEARTBEAT! A night of comedy, video and music at the SVA, John St. on Friday night – run in chatshow format by Joe Reeve as Elvis will feature stand-up poet Jonny Fluffypunk, Stroud’s female improvisational trio Brewhaha and Brighton-based psychology lecturer and author Dr Carl Walker’s ‘Picked Up, Patched Up and Sent Home’ show, – as well as music from Stroud Global Beats. A ‘Doctors and Nurses’-themed closing party will be hosted by the popular Vine Club on Saturday night (tickets £7 / £6 in advance). Full details are available on the Stroud Against the Cuts website.

James Beecher, one of the organisers of the event said: “We hope our ‘Healthcare for all’ weekend will help people understand what is happening to the NHS and inspire them to take action – we’re really excited to be bringing such knowledgeable speakers to Stroud, and would encourage people not to miss the opportunity to learn from them.

Notes for editors:

1. Details of the NHS weekend are available on SATC’s website, and further information about each of the events is available on Facebook: How Come We Didnt Know? NHS Privatisation Photographic Exhibition Friday 17th -Sunday 19th June, Heartbeat! A night of NHS Comedy, Video & Music - Friday 17th June, 7pm – late, Saving our NHS - workshops, talks & stalls - Saturday 18th June 10am-6pm, SiCKO - Stroud screening of Michael Moore doc - Saturday 18th June 7-9pm, Vine Club- Doctors & Nurses – Saturday 18th June 9.30 – late.


Supporting the junior doctors strike

Thursday, 28 April 2016 08:58 administrator
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Stroud Against the Cuts is supporting junior doctors as they oppose imposition of an unsafe and unfair new contract of employment. Learn about the junior doctors dispute via the BMA's special website.

Below are some videos featuring local junior doctors speaking about the dispute and explaining why they have been left with no option but to take strike action

Farzad Sadaat speaks at a public meeting organised by Stroud Against the Cuts in February:

Charlotte Walker speaks at the rally at the end of the March for the NHS on 12th March in Cheltenham - organised by Stroud Against the Cuts, Momentum Cheltenham & Gloucester, Gloucestershire Socialist Party and Keep Gloucestershire's NHS Public.

Sarah Tomlinson speaks at the rally at the start of the March for the NHS:


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