Dear friend of the NHS,
Save Gloucestershire NHS - URGENT
I am writing to ask for your urgent help. On 1st October this year, if Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust management has its way, all 4,000 health services staff – all the staff at our local hospitals, our district nurses, health visitors, podiatrists, physiotherapists and more - will leave the NHS, to be transferred to a new ‘Social Enterprise Trust (SET)’.
· A massive step towards privatisation – the SET is a private company which will be required to turn a surplus. The SET will have only a short contract, after which private healthcare companies, many US-based, will be invited to bid to take over. This could even happen within months if the SET fails, as many believe it is being set up to do.
· No accountability – decisions will be made in secret, with no requirements to consult anyone.
· Lower terms and conditions for staff (as legal protections aren’t strong enough) and lower standards of care for patients as corners are cut to turn a surplus.
· More admin and more cost – every reorganisation of the NHS has resulted in a dramatic increase of admin costs. In Hull, the first SET, they’ve built a new wing for the extra finance staff needed, taking money away from frontline services that are literally running short of bandages. The SET will also be liable for VAT – an extra annual bill of at least half a million pounds.
NHS management claim the ‘Social Enterprise Trust’ is somehow ‘more inclusive’, whilst simultaneously refusing to consult staff or even tell the public anything about these plans. This shows they realise that if people knew what was happening, there would be massive opposition. Where workers and communities have fought together, from Essex to Bolton, such plans have been stopped.
At an emergency Gloucestershire Trades Council meeting held at Unite’s offices on 18th August 2011, it was unanimously agreed to fight this proposal with all resources available to us, working with unions & local anti-cuts groups. We are taking legal advice, and need everyone to raise their voices collectively.
Please help us:
1. Distribute copies of this message (and display the enclosed poster) as widely as possible – in your community, in your workplace, and to your union branch members – stop them keeping us all in the dark! This letter and the poster will be posted on our website in downloadable format shortly.
2. Show your opposition by attending the meetings and rallies we are calling – meetings to be held 31st August 7pm Sub Rooms, Stroud, and 5th September, Forest of Dean, and (further details to follow)
3. Lobby your local MP and County Councillors (individually and/or collectively with your union branch or community group) to intervene to halt these misguided plans, at least until staff and the public have had a chance to consider them properly. Details of where to write to, and also how you can lobby in person at their surgeries, will be posted here shortly.
4. Write to the local press to express your opposition to these plans, your support for the NHS and solidarity with the staff there who are being threatened by management.
5. Please also encourage others to take the steps listed above.
And if you can do more please email
. Also please see our website (updates to follow soon) for details of more that you can do, including how to contact Gloucestershire PCT and the South West Strategic Health Authorities, the bodies responsible at local and regional level.
The wider context:
Also on 6th September the Tory government will try and force its Health and Social Care Bill through parliament, unless Tory and Liberal MPs can be persuaded to oppose it. This bill massively opens up the NHS to privatisation, despite David Cameron’s claim to have ‘paused’. Meanwhile, however, those in charge are using Gloucestershire as a test case for taking our NHS off us anyway – led by Sir Ian Carruthers, Chief Executive of South West NHS, who is one of Cameron’s closest health advisors. If you are lobbying your local MP, please don’t forget to ask them to vote against the health bill on 6th September. For more information on this aspect see www.keepournhspublic.org.uk and www.healthemergency.org.uk.
Thank you in advance for your help,
Stroud Against Cuts