Latest Attacks on Hackney NHS

Submitted by Janine on Sun, 08/07/2007 - 22:00.

Dear Supporter

NHS problems continue, locally and nationally.

Homerton Hospital managers want to privatise patient transport, and drive through further cuts in maternity services, with midwives facing redundancy. Care for women giving birth is set to get worse.

This week’s Hackney Gazette features the tragic consequences of inadequate mental health services.

At the Primary Care Trust, staff were made redundant on 30th June with an astonishing degree of brutality – given formal notice of redundancy on Thursday, and expected to leave the Trust on Friday. They had virtually no opportunity to hand over their work to colleagues – with real damage to health care resulting from this. Their colleagues had no opportunity to organise leaving parties or leaving cards. The emphasis from the Trust managers was on getting rid of these staff quickly. More redundancies are expected over the next few weeks. Staff tell us that the redundancies and the wider restructuring will lead to real damage to child protection services for school age children, school nursing, learning and development (vitally important in maintaining the quality of clinical care), and in IT support for clinicians. You can’t sack people and expect no impact on services.

The Primary Care Trust has also decided to go ahead with the privatisation of Stoke Newington Church Street GP Practice – ignoring the feedback from 114 patients who recorded their strong opposition to this. It seems ‘consultation’ only matters when they get the results they want! The GP Practice will now be closed down, with patients moved to the private sector Tollgate Lodge Practice on Stamford Hill. City and Hackney PCT leads the way in the privatisation of GP services.

Nationally, we’ve now got Alan Johnson as Secretary of State for Health. Patricia Hewitt certainly won’t be missed. Johnson has announced a ‘once in a lifetime’ review of the NHS. In principle, this is a great idea – but look at who he’s got to do the review. Dr Ara Darzi is known for his support for cuts and privatisation. Darzi has headed up the review of London health services, with the review report expected to be published this week. It’s widely predicted that Darzi will be calling for widespread hospital closures, and a reduction in A&E units and maternity units across London. The NHS is certainly not safe in this man’s hands!

The need to campaign has never been greater. There was an excellent public meeting at the House of Commons last week to mark the 59th birthday of the NHS. The unions are planning a major national demonstration on 13th October – keep this date free. Locally, there are two events worth attending, if you can:

7pm Tuesday 10th July. Hackney Council Health Scrutiny Commission. This is an opportunity to tell local councillors what the damage resulting from NHS cuts means in practice.

2pm Wednesday 11th July. City and Hackney PCT Public Board Meeting, Lusk Room, St Leonards Hospital, Nuttall Street. The Board has presumably approved the redundancies and privatisation now taking place – it’s worth having at least a few members of the public present to let them know we disagree.

The next meeting of Keep Hackney NHS Public will be at 7pm, Thursday 19th July at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Yoakley Road. Minutes of the last meeting are attached.

Gill George
Chair, Keep Hackney NHS Public