wHundreds of people will march and rally in Grimsby to defend the NHS on Saturday 13th May.
The march, called by North East Lincolnshire 4 Our NHS, starts at 10.30am in Ainslie Street Playing Fields and ends with a rally in St James Square at 2pm.
Kieran Barlow, one of the Grimsby NHS rally organisers, said:
“We’re holding the rally to support campaigns around the country to fight back against NHS cuts, privatisation and closures. It’s our opportunity to stand up and show that we care for our NHS, and the health of everyone, not just the few.”
Speakers from Lincolnshire and Yorkshire will denounce NHS cuts and sell offs that are being imposed under the cloak of so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans.
Steven Carne from 999 Call for the NHS, who is speaking at the rally, said:
“The government has split the NHS into 44 bits scattered across England, called Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships.
Sustainability means cuts. £420m cuts in the Humber, Coast and Vale Sustainability & Transformation Plan area by 2020/21, compared to current spending levels. Transformation means denial of care, and privatisation.”
Pain services cut
Swingeing NHS funding cuts mean pain services are no longer routinely available. A Lincolnshire patient who wishes to remain anonymous said,
“At my Pain Clinic hospital appointment I was told spinal injections are now being limited. The consultant said he would have to put a bid in for funding to do mine. Until he gets a reply we are trying stronger pain killers – but painkillers have little or no effect as I can only have low strength ones because anything higher knocks me out. I also have heart failure which prevents me from taking a lot of painkillers or any anti-inflammatories.
This feels like the beginning of the end of NHS – I wonder how long it will be before I’m asked if I’d like to go private.”
The Humber, Coast and Vale Sustainability and Transformation Plan says that from 2017/18 onwards NHS commissioners will “have collective focus on managing activity levels and reducing cost.”
“Managing activity levels” means restricting and denying care.
The end of the NHS as a comprehensive health service for all who need it
Fighting for Life Lincolnshire campaigner Melissa Darcey, who is speaking at the Grimsby rally and march, said:
“These Sustainability and Transformation Plans will be the end of the NHS as a comprehensive service. If we don’t stop them now, soon we will have a two tier system like in the USA. People who can afford it will go private. The rest of us will make do with a limited public service like Medicare in the USA.”
New types of organisation based on the American insurance system are being set up. Known as Accountable Care Systems or Partnerships, three are due to operate in the Vale of York, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire from April 2018.
Based on reliable legal advice, 999 Call for the NHS have started a crowdfunded legal challenge to Accountable Care Systems’ fixed, pre-set budgets that have to cover the population’s entire needs in a given area. (If you would like to donate, all contributions help, big or small!)
These budgets mean that finance will dictate what treatments are provided and only patients who offer a good “return on investment” will get them.
Hospital cuts and downgrades
Hospital cuts and downgrades are also imminent, Melissa Darcy added:
“Grantham’s reduced A&E department is losing services by the back door. North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group papers indicate that plans for Grimsby Princess of Wales hospital are likely to ultimately downgrade it to urgent care centre capability.
Sustainability and Transformation Plans like to dress Urgent Care Centre models as new improved care but hospital emergency services are being cut and people’s lives are being put at risk, with longer ambulance waiting times and distances to travel.”
Despite objections from GPs and the public, NHS East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group is replacing six minor injury units across the East Riding of Yorkshire with three urgent care centres in Bridlington, Beverley and Goole, plus urgent care slots at 8-8 centres at Driffield and Withernsea.
They are also cutting “high cost” community beds across the area. Instead there will be one “integrated community and intensive rehabilitation centre” in Beverley, plus “Time to Think” Beds at Bridlington and Holderness.
Holderness GP practices told the Clinical Commissioning Group:
“Time to Think beds are not a replacement for community beds and are not appropriate for palliative care. It is unlikely that GP surgeries will be able to support the added workload associated with Time to Think beds at the same time as coping with the additional workload generated with closures to the minor injury units.”
Members of the public opposed closing community beds in Withernsea Hospital. They need nursing and rehabilitation in their local hospital, not 50 miles away at Beverley Hospital.
Scarborough District Hospital A&E is facing closure or downgrade although it seems no firm decision has been made yet.