The Independent London Newspaper

 

Hospital again under threat as chiefs begin ‘stocktaking’

Published: 27 August, 2010

• COUNCILLOR Terry Stacy defends the absence of Islington Liberal Democrats at our recent protest outside the Department of Health by claiming that services at the Whittington Hospital are safe for the moment (Protest put on hold, August 20).

If only that were the case.

Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition saw a letter from Stephen Conroy, communications director of North Central London NHS, where he referred to a new “stocktake”, and made reference to using the previous reviews of the hospitals in our area.

I wrote to him asking for guarantees that services at the Whittington and other hospitals in north London would be safe. Unfortunately, in his reply, which can be seen on our website, Mr Conroy does not guarantee the continuance of accident and emergency, trauma, maternity and paediatric services at the Whittington and other North Central London hospitals.

It should be noted that serious cutbacks in mental health provision are also being made.

Mr Conroy tells us that the future of our hospitals and health services is in the hands of GPs.

However, the forthcoming White Paper on health is a scary document.

Currently, our local primary care trusts, part of the NHS, make decisions about our health care.

But these will be scrapped under the new reforms.

Instead, GPs will be given budgets and could turn to the private sector to assist with the purchasing of services.

In addition, under the new “any willing provider” approach, private sector healthcare multinationals will be allowed to bid to take over the running of NHS hospitals and services.

It is complicated. But the big worry is that, as a result of this combination of NHS privatisation and the £20billion NHS “efficiency savings” proposed by the Con-Dem government, our health system will increasingly move towards the United States model, with lower levels of state care and people forced to go private or take out expensive, exploitative health insurance in order to get many treatments currently available on the NHS.

This White Paper was apparently agreed by Nick Clegg in his coalition discussions with David Cameron.

Are the Liberal Democrats really prepared to see our NHS privatised and destroyed? We are not complacent about the threats to our health services.

Therefore, we oppose the White Paper and are building a campaign against it.

Terry, we need you and your party on-side to make sure it does not become a reality.

We need to ensure that health provision is better, and that mental and mainstream health needs are met and not placed at risk as they are under the current proposals. Please join us.

Our next planning meeting is at 7pm on Monday, September 6, at Whittington Community Centre, in Yerbury Road, Archway.

At 7.30pm on Thursday, September 16, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn will be hosting a meeting in Archway Methodist Hall at which he has invited Rachel Tyndall and Stephen Conroy from North Central London NHS to tell us what they are planning. 

SHIRLEY FRANKLIN
Chair, Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition

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