PRESS RELEASE 13/03/12
Contact: James Beecher 07583 497887 or Caroline Molloy 07931 302507
Campaigners to launch ‘Keep Gloucestershire’s NHS Public Pledge’ at public meeting
• Photographs and interviews with campaigners can be organised on request (call James on 07583 497887 or Caroline on 07931 302507).
NHS Campaigners are holding a public meeting in the Sub Rooms, 7pm, Thursday 15th March, to explain what last month’s high court outcome means for NHS services locally, why the campaign to Keep Gloucestershire’s NHS Public now needs people to show their support more than ever, to discuss the way forward, and to launch a ‘pledge’ to ‘Keep Gloucestershire’s NHS Public’.
Speakers at the meeting will include Michael Lloyd, 76, who took the case to the High Court, and Caroline Molloy and James Beecher of Stroud Against the Cuts, who were with Mr Lloyd in court. There will be a chance for attendees to ask questions, voice their views and have their say about how the campaign should proceed.
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James Beecher, Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts said, “This event is partly about celebrating the achievements so far, and paying tribute to Mr Lloyd whose actions have ensured that so far, our community hospitals and health workers remain in the NHS. But this is only the first step in the campaign to secure these services in the NHS, so we urge everyone to come along and hear how they can get involved in the campaign. NHS Gloucestershire has been sent back to the drawing board, and told to look for NHS options for our community health services. But without widespread pressure, they may not look hard enough for NHS options – and the private sector is still waiting in the wings.”
Caroline Molloy of Stroud Against the Cuts added, “We know that local health bosses have been under pressure from a government busy trying to introduce more market forces into the NHS. We want these services to stay in the NHS, publicly owned and accountable to all of us. The court ruling makes clear they CAN stay in the NHS but it is up to all of us to make sure they DO stay in the NHS.”
At the meeting, attendees will be invited to sign a ‘pledge’ to show their commitment to ‘Keeping Gloucestershire’s NHS Public’, which local politicians and health workers will also be invited to sign.
Notes for editors:
(1) Without the legal challenge, Stroud General Hospital, Beeches Green health clinic and other community hospitals, health clinics and services in Gloucestershire would have been transferred to a private limited company outside the NHS. The services affected include District Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Specialist Nursing, Out of hours medical and nursing services, Pharmacy, Sexual Health and Chlamydia screening, Podiatry, Dental services, Wheelchair services, Musculo-skeletal services, Telehealth and Specialist Domiciliary care.
(2) The court order: On February 9th 2012, following Michael Lloyd’s application for a Judicial Review in the High Court, NHS Gloucestershire (the PCT) agreed a legally binding ‘Consent Order’ which states: “The PCT agrees that it will:
consider a wide range of options, including entering into an arrangement with an NHS Trust for
the delivery of [community health] services...
take reasonable steps to ensure an appropriate level of staff & public engagement”
And then “make a decision as to its preferred means of providing community healthcare services in Gloucestershire”
In a media statement jointly issued with Mr Lloyd (as part of the Court order) NHS Gloucestershire clarified that this means it has agreed:
“not to implement its decision to enter into a contract with GCS[-CIC] at this time” (in other words, not to proceed with its plans to transfer all its clinical staff out of the NHS and into a ‘Community Interest Company’)
To “start a new process to explore the best option for providing community services in Gloucestershire”, and to
“minimise as far as possible uncertainty for its dedicated and professional staff”