Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/596/8221
Campaign forces health Trust to save Crowlin House
CROWLIN HOUSE near Southampton is a home for people with mental health and learning difficulties. It was purpose built, has a dedicated NHS staff, and is a well-run unit where the residents' needs are paramount.
In July, residents' families were told that Hampshire Partnership NHS Trust intended to disperse all 18 residents by the end of the year. Crowlin House was to close, and would probably be bulldozed. You may imagine what this meant to residents and families.
Many tried private homes, where costs are astronomical, and where the residents' needs could not be catered for. Families were faced with increased transport costs, as the homes were further away than Crowlin, making visits more expensive.
My friend Anne Kahn is a parent of one of the residents. She is also an outspoken member of the Socialist Party. She and her family tried every way to get her daughter Sorya into another home, while at the same time making her feelings about the trust's callousness and treachery known.
This was conducted against a background of some well-publicised stories of trust executives awarding themselves obscenely high pay rises.
With other families we mobilised, contacted a sympathetic journalist, and in particular attended the trust's AGM. We subjected an embarrassed trust boss Nick Yeo to some forthright questioning, and felt that we made an impact. Socialist Party activists campaigned on the Crowlin House issue, and kept up pressure on the trust so they knew we weren't going away.
Then Anne invited Nick Yeo to her home on 1 October and told him what she thought of him and his trust. When he left, he looked decidedly dejected. The next day he announced that Crowlin House was to stay open.
Naturally we are all jubilant, and Anne wants to express her deepest thanks to all concerned for this outcome. It is a great victory. But we shan't rest on our laurels. We know that the trust will be back to continue its mission of cutting the NHS to the bone. We shall be ready for them.
The local Unison leadership played a spineless part in all this, uniting with the trust to intimidate Crowlin House's staff. So much that they were too scared to even talk to us. But we now have the opportunity of building links with the staff, pointing to this victory over the trust.
In The Socialist 7 October 2009:
War and occupation
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis