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Monday, 04 November 2013 13:14
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CONTACT - CAROLINE MOLLOY 07931 302507 / JAMES BEECHER 07583 497887 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it





Summary:  Stroud Against the Cuts [1] have written [2] to Gloucestershire Care Services raising serious concerns about proposals to change the way District Nurses work. Staff have told Stroud Against the Cuts they are deeply worried about the changes, which may mean District Nurses working in isolation from each other and their colleagues, jeopardising both their safety and professional standards. Campaigners will attend the next board meeting of Gloucestershire Care Services, which will be held in Stroud Town Hall on November 12th at 9.30am [3], and which members of the public can attend.

Gloucestershire Care Services - the body which provides community health services in Gloucestershire, set up after local campaigners prevented such services being privatised -  has proposed changes to the way District Nurses work. The changes are currently subject to a staff consultation but a number of staff have told campaigners they feel their voices are not being heard. District Nurses have told SATC that under the changes they will no longer work from local health clinics, but will be expected to work in their cars between patients. Staff have already begun to raise concerns anonymously with the local press [4]. Campaigners also point to government plans to sell off ‘underused’ parts of the NHS estate, and question whether moving District Nurses out of health clinics, is a step towards this.

Caroline Molloy, one of Stroud Against the Cuts’ volunteer co-ordinators, said “We are worried about the attitude of Gloucestershire Care Services - when nurses raised concerns about working alone in their cars on dark country lanes, they were told to work in Costa Coffee, which is utterly inappropriate for entering confidential patient data. We have been told that nurses are so unhappy they are leaving - this loss of experienced nurses is not something the NHS can afford. We hear a lot these days about ‘integrating’ healthcare with social care, and we understand these plans are part of these proposals. But these plans seem to take some of the worst aspects of social care - isolated staff like home helps, with far less opportunity for professional support and interaction - and apply them to our NHS nurses.”

In the letter (attached) to Gloucestershire Care Services campaigners ask 7 questions:

1.    Have they considered the clinical impact, particularly on professional development and standards, of staff not having a fixed base where they can interact with other clinicians?

2.    What impact will the changes have on plans to keep open - or close/sell off - NHS clinics?

3.    Why have they not consulted patients about this substantive change to NHS services?

4.    How have they involved patients in the planning of this change, in line with their legal duties under the NHS Constitution?

5.    Have they done the legally required risk assessments?

6.    Have they involved staff in them?

7.    Have they considered the impact on equality for patients and staff?

Stroud Against the Cuts have for the last two weeks been trying to get the County’s Health & Overview Scrutiny Committee [5], the group of councillors responsible for scrutinising NHS decisions in Gloucestershire to ask these questions, but has been told by the Chair, Labour Cllr Stephen Lydon, that he is not yet ‘convinced there is an issue’ and that raising these questions is not the role of Scrutiny. Chris Moore, another co-ordinator of SATC, said “This is strange and unhelpful as Scrutiny has raised questions about NHS services in the past. We will continue to strive to get answers and will support any action that staff and/or their unions wish to take.”



Click Read More below for notes to editors


Campaigners take fight against NHS privatisation to Manchester

Tuesday, 01 October 2013 10:46
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Press Release 01/10/2013
Campaigners take fight against NHS privatisation to Manchester
Members of Stroud Against the Cuts and other local groups joined a national demonstration outside The Conservative Party’s annual conference on Sunday.
Summary: On Sunday 29th September, more than 50,000 people marched through Manchester.
Among them were around 70 people from Gloucestershire, who travelled on coaches organised by Stroud Against the Cuts and the Gloucestershire branch of Unite Community, and by Unite the Union. Having successfully defended Gloucestershire’s community health services from privatisation last year, campaigners said they attended the march to “send a clear message to the Conservative Party that privatisation of the NHS is unacceptable and will be resisted at every opportunity.” Healthworkers, and members of Unison and Unite, and other trade unions were present, as well members of 38degrees Gloucestershire, Cheltenham and Gloucester Against Cuts and Forest of Dean Against Cuts, and concerned members of the public.
On a sunny September Sunday, thousands of people marched through the streets of Manchester [1] – passing the site of the Conservative Party Conference, which concludes on Wednesday 02/10/2013 [2]. Greater Manchester Police. Greater Manchester Police estimated 50,000 attended the protest and said it was “One of the largest ever policed by GMP” [3]. While organisers claimed as many as 75,000 took part. Many carried placards saying “NHS not Trident”, a reference to the policy of ‘efficiency savings’ in the NHS and the cost of replacing the UK’s Nuclear weapons system.
James Beecher, one of Stroud Against the Cuts’ co-ordinators said: “The government says it has ringfenced funding on the NHS, and claims it is increasing year-on-year – but with the population and healthcare needs rising, and more than £3 billion wasted on an unnecessary top-down re-organisation, budgets are creaking and care is suffering as a result, as we see with the downgrading of A&E at Cheltenham General Hospital [4]. Following the Health and Social Care Act, private companies are increasingly taking over the management of services – with Arriva taking over non-emergency ambulances locally for instance [5] – diverting money from patient care to shareholder pockets”
Caroline Molloy, another of Stroud Against the Cuts’ co-ordinators said: “Everyone is very fired up and we have been talking to people about what we’ve been doing in Gloucestershire, fighting privitisation in the NHS. It seems others are facing similar problems”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘Austerity is having a devastating effect on our communities and services, with 21,000 NHS jobs lost over the last three months alone. The NHS is one of Britain’s finest achievements and we will not allow ministers to destroy, through cuts and privatisation, what has taken generations to build.’
Under the title “Save Our NHS: Defend Jobs and Services – No to Austerity” the march was not only about health services. Protesters from campaigns against the Bedroom Tax, Atos’ much-criticised ‘fit-for-work’ tests, and cuts to libraries and pensions were also part of the march – as well as campaigners against fracking and a large contingent opposing the badger cull.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 11:03

Monday, 23 September 2013 12:43
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Join Stroud Against the Cuts at the national ‘Save Our NHS’ protest march against government cuts and privatisation in Manchester on Sunday 29th September.

A coach is leaving Merrywalks bus station at 8.30am on Sunday (please arrive by 8.15am at the latest so we can leave on time. We will not be able to wait for you as same coach is picking up from Pulman Court in Gloucester at 9am). Phone Steve Hunter on 07799 812633 or Sue Powell on 07947 632 437 As Soon As Possible to book your seat. More details below...

The ‘Save Our NHS’ protest will highlight the impact of huge job losses and spending cuts across the health service, as well as the way in which private companies – many of whom are also Conservative Party donors – are taking over our NHS. The demonstration will also raise concerns about the wider effect of the government’s policies.

Please do as many of the following as possible this week:

  1. Book your seat on the coach if you can attend. The coach will leave Merrywalks bus station at 8.30am on Sunday and is FREE. We will be asking those who can afford it to make donations to cover costs and for us to campaign, but if you cannot afford to make a donation you are still more than welcome – no-one will be turned away for lack of funds. Phone Steve Hunter on 07799 812633 or Sue Powell on 07947 632 437 ASAP to book your seat.The organisers are asking people to dress up and/or bring things that will make a noise (see NHS 299 back.jpg, attached). We will have a few vuvezelas etc, but please bring what you can.
  2. Pass this information on to friends and family - and let them know there are also coaches from Gloucester, Swindon, Bristol, and all around the country (click on the appropriate area of the map)
  3. If you use twitter, retweet this tweet and/or send versions of it to other people on twitter. If you use facebook, post the following, or something similar: “No to privatisation - no to cuts - Save Our NHS! Join the Protest outside Conservative Party Conference, in Manchester this Sunday September 29th - see the website for more information". Click here for more ideas on supporting the protest online. Please feel free to print and distribute the attached A4 poster (which can be photocopied to make an A5 flyer).


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 10:52

NHS at 65

Monday, 15 July 2013 14:07
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Caroline Molloy, one of Stroud Against the Cuts' volunteer co-ordinators, and a member of Gloucestershire 38 Degrees writes the following on the recent 65th birthday of the NHS

(an edited version of this piece has since appeared in the Citizen)


"The NHS was founded on the principle of healthcare for all, regardless of

ability to pay. I think we all recognise that anyone could have the

misfortune to be ill, or have a sick child. The NHS expresses a kind of

collective solidarity that is becoming too rare in today's society.



The NHS’s founder Nye Bevan was also very clear that there was no place for

the profit motive in healthcare. We only have to look to America - where

they spend twice as much on a fully marketised system, yet healthcare bills

are the leading cause of bankruptcy even amongst people with healthcare

insurance, to see his wisdom.



But things are changing. Last year’s Health & Social Care Act removed the

government’s legal duty to secure a comprehensive healthcare system, for

the first time since the NHS’s foundation. The government is already trying

to wash its hands of responsibility, blaming doctors, managers, patients,

anyone but themselves for rising waiting times and A&E problems. Meanwhile

they cut the NHS’s budget by nearly 25% over 5 years.




They've also wasted £3billion on a reorganisation that most staff oppose

and which just divides the NHS up into bits that are easier to privatise

(and makes it easier for people to jump the queue if they can pay). People

don't realise how much has already gone to profit making companies, hiding

under the NHS logo. Only last month, Patient Transport Services was

privatised, and we hear rumours more is to be put up to the lowest bidder.

Such moves would fly in the face of last year’s consultation on the future

of Gloucestershire’s 9 District hospitals, when 96% of respondees voted

against going out to such an auction. Increasingly, we aren’t even given

the choice.



Local health managers may say privately their hands are tied by the new

laws. But if that is so - and its currently unclear - I hope at least

they’ll be honest with us about it. I also hope they won’t pretend that

privatisation is a magic answer that can somehow save money without any

cuts to service and skilled staff.



We hear a lot of talk now about ‘care closer to home’ but we must ensure

this doesn’t just mean a heavier burden falling on patients and their

carers, a reduction in hospital beds, more money wasted on technologies

like ‘telehealth’ that aren’t suitable for everyone, and ultimately, people

having to pay. Privately provided, means-tested home social care is already

a disaster.



We’re promised the NHS will remain ‘free at the point of need’ but there

are already calls from some in government for people to be charged to see

their GP, or for pensioners to lose their free prescriptions. If we don’t

change direction now, we are headed to a system where private companies

pick off the profitable bits of work, NHS providers struggle to survive,

and the NHS ends up providing a rudimentary service (still ‘free’) whilst

people pay insurance premiums to get anything decent. I hope people will

work with anti-cuts groups and local 38 Degrees groups and make sure this

doesn’t happen - and we must hold our local politicians accountable as




Videos related to NHS campaigning locally and nationally

Monday, 01 July 2013 12:31
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You can watch each of these videos full screen by clicking the icon that looks like this: [  ] in the bottom right hand corner (after pressing play on an individual video). If you click the youtube logo (also in the bottom right), you can watch on their site, which gives you access to the 'like' button, and easy ways to share the video via twitter/facebook/etc, or embed codes for your own website. We have put the mainstream media coverage first, because this tells the story in the clearest way. However, these reports are brief - and include some inaccuracies - so please also watch the videos made by and for campaigners further down the page. Please also note that since the section 75 regulations and other legislation associated with the Health and Social Care Act were passed in April 2013, some things have changed. Much, however, remains the same: if you put up a fight, you can win.


Mainstream media coverage from BBC Points West (October 2012; February 2012; January 2012) and ITV Central (February 2012)



Voices of Keep Our NHS Public; Stroud protest on Saturday 16th June; Protest on September 24th 2011


Caroline Molloy and Chris Moore of Stroud Against the Cuts, and Pete Stamway of Forest Against Cuts, on the announcement that Gloucestershire's community health services would remain in the NHS


The Threat to Our NHS - talks by a former solicitor, explaining the legal case in Gloucestershire, and Wendy Savage, from national campaign organisation Keep Our NHS Public, given in Stroud, February 2012; and an edit of the Public Meeting in Stroud, March 2012


Last Updated on Monday, 02 September 2013 11:00

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