The Socialist 13 July 2006 |
Join the Socialist
Save our hospital
I LIVE in Runcorn on an estate only a ten minute walk away from
Halton Hospital. This is a vital service for those elderly and infirm on
the estate including my own mother, who relies heavily on its services.
Simon Swanick (PCS Wirral branch - personal capacity)
In 2001 Halton Hospital merged with Warrington Hospital to form North
Cheshire Hospitals Trust, with some services such as accident and
emergency being transferred there. Now Halton Hospital's 1,000-strong
workforce are fighting management plans to close five wards and transfer
acute medical services and high dependency beds to Warrington.
A UNISON spokesperson asked what would happen if complications arose
during day surgery, they were told "patients would be put in an
ambulance and taken to Warrington".
Hospital bosses believe that there's no longer enough staff, cash or
resources to fund two 24-hour sites. They claim that a new £8.5 million
critical care unit at Warrington and £6.5 million expansion of
additional services on both sites is the only viable solution.
How can these people justify the wholesale closure of one of
Runcorn's most needed hospitals? Only last month, the Cheshire and
Merseyside NHS Treatment Centre was opened on the same site as Halton
Hospital. It's one of three privately owned, publicly funded hospitals
within the North-West.
Is this what hospital bosses believe is the way forward for our
public healthcare? They're moving vital, acute services not only out of
the area, but into a site with virtually no access by public transport
at taxpayer's expense. And then to add insult to injury they've opened a
privately owned hospital on the same site well before the hospital has
We must stand together to protect our local services. Stop them being
broken up and sold to the highest bidder, whilst using our own taxes,
and demanding that we pay for those services we would have received had
the original hospital not been broken up!
Protect NHS jobs. Protect our public services. Stop privatisation!
Public meeting: Fighting cuts to the NHS in Merseyside and Cheshire
Thursday 20 July, 7.30pm, Casa club, 29 Hope Street, Liverpool (city
centre). Guest speaker Simon Swanick, local trade unionist and Runcorn
"Motivation" boss style in NHS
IN AN attempt to show how much on board he was with private business,
Marc Britnell, chief executive of Queen Elizabeth hospital in
Birmingham, said he'd talked to supermarket giant, Tesco, about how they
dealt with human resources (personnel) issues and to BMW about how to
motivate the workforce.
Clare Wilkins, Birmingham Socialist Party
Presumably that's not in the same way that BMW 'motivated' 13,000
Land Rover and Rover workers in 2001 by pulling out of both companies
with no prior warning!
Britnell sought help from Tesco and BMW because he's proposing that
performance pay is introduced at the hospital with pay dependent on
'patient satisfaction'. He said that debate had started with the trade
unions and added "you can imagine the objections from the clinicians."
The government wants private firms to help hospitals push through
so-called reforms and to become more 'cost-effective' (i.e. make cuts in
jobs and closures of wards and services). Instead of making a profit,
the government wants to save a packet on the NHS.
The National Health Service was set up in 1948 to provide health care
to everyone, free at the point of delivery. The NHS is not a market or a
playground for private companies. No to job losses, cuts and closures!
Sheffield Socialist Party public meeting: Sack the bosses, not NHS
Wednesday 19 July, 7.30pm, Grovesnor House Hotel, Charter Square
(accessible venue), Sheffield.
Speakers: Dr Jackie Grunsell (Save Huddersfield NHS
councillor) and Jon Smith (GMB branch sec, Sheffield Children's
CAMPAIGNERS ACROSS west Wiltshire will join in a mass demonstration
starting at Trowbridge hospital at midday on 15 July. They aim to show
West Wiltshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) the massive opposition to the
closure of Trowbridge Hospital and the other hospitals in the PCT, all
of which are threatened with closure.
Marches have been held across west Wiltshire to protest at these
closures, including at Westbury, Warminster, Bradford on Avon and