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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 June 2012

Gloucestershire: Countywide protests to stop NHS sell-off

Chris Moore, Gloucestershire Socialist Party

Over 100 protesters rallied outside Stroud General Hospital on 16 June before marching into the town centre. At the same time campaigners in Gloucester, Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean gathered to tell NHS Gloucestershire management to keep health services within the NHS.

A determined year-long campaign, including a judicial review, prevented the transfer of over 3,000 community health staff and nine community hospitals out of the NHS and into a 'community interest company' or social enterprise.

Campaigners also achieved a significant breakthrough in getting the option of a standalone NHS trust for community health services accepted by the NHS Gloucestershire board and the Department of Health, something previously dismissed by both. There is now an 18 June 'expressions of interest' deadline for groups, including NHS organisations and possibly private companies.

Stroud Against the Cuts believe that staff and public have the right to know who is interested in taking over NHS services. A Gloucestershire community NHS staff survey showed 91% support for a standalone NHS trust.

The Health and Social Care Act, unless stopped, will dismantle the NHS, exposing it to private sector vultures. Already, a clinical commissioning group has started to be set up in Gloucestershire. In Leeds, Virgin's Assura Care is working in partnership with 27 GP surgeries.

None of the health trade unions or professional bodies, such as the British Medical Association or the Royal College of Nursing, support the Act and a 2012 survey of GPs in the Stroud district found 61% opposed it.

Those who support community health services being run by a standalone NHS trust were urged to write to Jan Stubbings, chief executive of NHS Gloucestershire. Health trade unions will be approached over having a countywide demonstration. Campaigners also explained the urgent need for a national demonstration to defend the NHS, alongside support for the TUC 20 October demo.

More information: www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk or keepglosnhspublic.posterous.com

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In The Socialist 20 June 2012:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fight their profit system

2012 earth summit

British economy: "black cloud overhead"

Leveson inquiry - The 1%: "definitely in this together"

Flight of the rats

The child poverty mirage

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Greece election - majority vote against austerity

Egypt's military instigates a 'soft coup'


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Join in the Austerity Games!

Gloucestershire: Countywide protests to stop NHS sell-off

Bus bosses can't stop the Socialist!

Support the final sprint to the fighting fund quarter finish line


Socialist Party workplace news

Striking at Fords to defend pensions

Five hundred food processing workers strike in Leicester

Packed Coryton refinery meeting backs action to win

Support the London bus strike

UCU: Time to fight on pay and pensions

Improved offer in Metro workers' pay fight

Workplace news in brief


Trade union conferences

GMB delegates question link to Labour

Unite needs strategy to step up fight against austerity

Unison conference: members show anger at pensions 'offer'

Fighting teachers' association network launched


Socialist Party review

Secret History of the Streets, Deptford High Street


 

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