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Issue:- 20 January 2010


LANSLEY’S Health Bill is a disaster of “Titanic proportions” warned UNISON, the UK’s largest union, on 19 January 2011.  But do they or the Government have it right?   The union is calling on the Government to heed warnings from health professionals, MPs, staff, patients, charities, think- tanks and unions that the massive upheaval will destabilise the NHS. It will turn it into little more than a brand name that can be bought and sold, not a much valued public health service.  Karen Jennings, UNISON Head of Health, said:- “This Titanic health bill threatens to sink our NHS. The only survivors will be the private health companies that are circling like sharks, waiting to move in and make a killing. Lansley has turned his back on the warnings from across the medical establishment that these changes are unnecessary, undemocratic and unlikely to deliver improvements in patient care. We need a U-turn from the Government. It is time to turn up the heat on the public debate. These changes are undemocratic, they were not in any party manifesto and no one has been given the chance to vote on them. The NHS is a service that many take for granted now, but will not be able to in the future. As more private companies pile in to grab their share of the £80bn in taxpayers’ money the NHS will change from a publically run and accountable service, into a conglomerate of competing private companies outbidding the NHS for patients. We can already see this happening. We have KPMG being brought in to work with consortia across London and foreign companies like the American United Healthare being used by consortia in the South West and Hounslow. Unlike David Cameron, UNISON doesn’t believe the NHS is “second rate” – we believe it is second to none. And recent reports from the Commonwealth Fund and British Social Attitudes surveys confirm this.”

According to UNISON the changes will undo all the good that has been done in recent years, seeing:- waiting times shooting up; clinical networks (like cancer networks) that advise doctors on the best treatments will be lost; NICE will be undermined.

UNISON’s key concerns include:-

► The reforms will be hugely expensive to implement at a time when the NHS is being told to save £20bn.

► Money that should be used to improve patient care will bleed out of the system into the hands of private companies.

► The reforms will open the NHS up to EU competition law – once services have left the NHS, there is no going back.

► Turning the regulator Monitor into a utilities style watchdog like Ofgem or Ofwat is completely inappropriate for a service built on care and compassion. The NHS needs to be regulated for quality of care not for the sharpness of privateers’ elbow.

► The massive structural upheaval and institutional chaos could leave the NHS unprepared to cope with crisis situations such as the swine flu pandemic.

► A postcode lottery will be allowed to develop – with no guarantee that your local NHS will continue to fund treatments
that are not sufficiently profitable. We are already beginning to see cash-strapped PCTs cutting back on important cataract, knee and hip operations.

► NHS patients will be pushed to the back of the queue, as hospitals will be able to raise unlimited cash from private paying patients.

► Even NHS chief executive David Nicholson has warned of the perils of price competition and commentators from across the political spectrum agree than competing on price will mean that quality of care inevitably suffers as it did when the Tories last tried this in the 1990s.

Do you agree with UNISON or do you have other views? Let us know what you, our readers, think really by emailing our news room via:-

Planned operations resume at Southport and Formby Hospital

HOSPITAL staff have been thanked for their hard work over the past month as planned operations begin to get back to normal at Southport and Formby District General Hospital.

NHS trusts across the North West were asked to postpone these operations towards the end of December to ensure they had enough critical care beds to deal with a spike in the number of people being admitted with complications due to flu.

The Trust was able to operate Ormskirk District General Hospital normally during this period but a number of urgent and non-urgent operations were postponed at Southport. The hospital is now beginning to return to normal although patients may still experience some short-term delays.

Jonathan Parry, Chief Executive of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, said:- “I would like to thank the public for their support and understanding during what has been a difficult time. We will do all we can to ensure that those appointments that had to be postponed are rescheduled as soon as possible. I particularly want to thank staff for their outstanding professionalism in meeting the challenges of the past month, for example, in helping cover shifts to ensure patients always have the best care we can provide. I know from what patients and their families tell us that this dedication to the care of our communities of Southport and Ormskirk is very much appreciated.”

Award Wining group to hold an "Information & Awareness Event"

DID you know that Practice Makes Perfect who are the winners of "The Spirit of Merseyside Award 2010" are holding a free awareness and information day at the Lakeside Leisure centre on The Promenade, in Southport?

The event will take place on Saturday, 26 March 2011 from 11am to 4pm. Fairways car parking is just over the road for just £1 a day. "To raise awareness to what our voluntary group has to offer for people of all ages:- classes, training, workshops introducing the basics of finger spelling, lip-reading, and sign language etc at minimum cost. Also we hope to raise awareness of the many services, groups, organisations, training and support groups that is available for people who have a sensory impairment and also to support their hearing families and friends. We want services, teaching and communication skills groups that support people with a sensory impairment to be involved. We are also still looking for businesses that supply equipment etc... If you know of or run a group or service that could be included in our event please contact me..." Said Maureen. 

You can contact Maureen via calling:- 01704 546626 or using Text/mob on:- 07960984306. Also you can find lots more information by visiting:-

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