You are here:   Home How we're fighting back Healthcare Cuts and Privatisation Healthcare An Open Letter to the Board of NHS Gloucestershire

An Open Letter to the Board of NHS Gloucestershire

Thursday, 24 November 2011 12:46
Print PDF

The following open letter has been sent by Stroud Against the Cuts to the Chief

Executive and Chair of NHS Gloucestershire, and to the local press. SATC urges

members of the public, in particular health workers, to write similar letters to the PCT

and their elected representatives, making their views known. Letters can be sent

via email to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or in the post to Jan Stubbings, Chief

Executive, NHS Gloucestershire, Sanger House, 5220 Valiant Court, Gloucester Business

Park, Brockworth, Gloucester, GL3 4FE (You may also want to send copies to the

non-executive directors who make up the board This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ). If you are an elected representative and would like your name

publicly added to the list of signatories, please email us via:

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .stroudagainstcuts.co.uk

                              23rd November 2011

Dear Jan Stubbings,
An Open Letter regarding Keeping Gloucestershire’s NHS Public
We are writing to appeal to you to halt the proposed transfer of Gloucestershire’s NHS
Community Services out of the NHS and into a “social enterprise”. On behalf of the
residents of Gloucestershire we urge you to instead choose one of the options still
open to you to keep these services (including nearly 4000 staff and nine hospitals)
within the NHS.
We know from the level of support our campaign has received (including hundreds that
attended a public meeting in late August and a subsequent demonstration in
September, and the unanimous cross-party concern expressed by Stroud District Council
amongst others) that the overwhelming majority of patients, staff and residents want
our health services to remain within the NHS. There is an outcry about the failure to
consult or even inform the public about your plans, which reveals the truth behind the
spin that these plans are “patient led” or will increase “staff ownership”.
[Click Read More below to see the full letter and current list of signatories]
We have seen no good arguments for transferring services out of the NHS into a social
enterprise, and much cause for concern. If transferred the services will be owned by a
private company (a so called Community Interest Company- CIC), required to turn a
profit and forced to cut corners in patient care to do so. As a private non-NHS body it
will be saddled with extra VAT and substantial extra costs for administrative functions
that were previously provided centrally by the NHS.
It will no longer be publicly owned or accountable and the public will have little right of
redress if problems occur. Within three years – or much sooner, if services are judged
to be failing – services will be opened up to the possibility of a private sector takeover.
In Hull, within three months of transfer to a CIC private companies were invited in to
cherry pick and take over clinics that were perceived to be failing. Cut loose from the
NHS family our health services will no longer be able to draw on NHS expertise, funding
reserves, purchasing power and economies of scale. They will be far more vulnerable to
takeover by multi-national companies in the future, particularly in the light of changes
proposed in the Health and Social Care Bill. We actually have direct evidence of this: in
the first test of this policy, Central Surrey Health lost its bid for contracts for
community services to a private healthcare company owned by Virgin.
We know staff are proud to work for the NHS and are angry that they were not given a
proper say in this proposal. Time and again we have heard staff say that hardly anyone
supports this transfer. Consequently we believe that skilled frontline staff will leave
(indeed, are already doing so), placing our local services at risk.
The lack of community engagement means that the proposed CIC cannot possibly
succeed against such a widely and deeply felt level of opposition. Few here want this
and we suspect that this is your own view also.
Therefore we hope you will concede the clear legal advice as highlighted in the recently
issued judicial review which is that you can legally keep services in the NHS and you
do not have to open the services up to private sector competition. For instance it
would be possible to set up a new NHS trust. There is no legal barrier to this; it would
be a matter of Department of Health approval.What you cannot do is just hand NHS
services over to a non-NHS body like a CIC without considering matters in a proper and
lawful manner. Nor can you truthfully claim that the CIC is the only option and there
are no NHS options available, when it is quite clear that in many other areas in
England other PCTs have chosen to place these services in existing trusts or newly
created trusts and have not considered a CIC to be appropriate. We are very concerned
that staff have been given inaccurate information on this matter and hope you will
rectify this. Were the legal case to succeed, you will be required to reconsider your
decision and we are quite clear that these NHS options will still be open to you. It is
only if you deliberately choose to pursue the CIC option that you will have to consider
open competition.
We therefore urge you to stop all the uncertainty for staff and patients and accept that
the best solution for community services in Gloucestershire lies within the NHS, thus
avoiding the need for continuing legal argument and expense.
 
Yours sincerely,
Stroud Mayor and Stroud District Cllr John Marjoram
Stroud District Cllr David Drew
On behalf of Stroud Against the Cuts – a broad coalition of residents, service users and
workers, members of political parties and trade unions and concerned individuals.
 
Also signed by: 
Dr. S. G. Subbuswamy
Gloucestershire County Councillor Steve McHale (Leader of the GCC Labour group)
Gloucestershire County Cllr Brian Oosthuysen
Gloucestershire County Cllr Sarah Lunnon
Gloucestershire County Cllr Sonia Friend
Stroud District Cllr Philip Booth
Stroud District Cllr Molly Scott Cato
Stroud District Cllr Catherine Farrell
Stroud District Cllr Simon Pickering
Stroud District Cllr Martin Whiteside
Stroud District Cllr Simon Pickering
Stroud District Cllr Geoff Wheeler
Stroud District Cllr Paul Denny
Steve Lydon, Chair, Stroud Constituency Labour Party
Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 December 2011 10:51