The National Health Action Party leader, Dr Clive Peedell, has called today for London's elected representatives, at all levels, to come together to call a halt to the loss of hospital beds in the capital. 500 beds, the equivalent of an entire hospital, are being cut in West London in the next phase of the 5 Year Forward View, the Sustainability and Transformation Plans.This is announced on the same day as the NHS in England recorded its worst yearly results for four-hour waits in accident and emergency since the target was introduced. The 'efficiency savings' from the loss of the beds is supposed to bridge the £1bn gaping hole in the budget.
Dr Peedell said "The National Health Action Party warned about the changes which are now being implemented. Surely Council Leaders, Councillors, MPs, MEPs and London Assembly members alike can see the extreme damage being done to the capital's health services. You must have to shut your eyes and stop up your ears to avoid it.
It is less than 6 months since Michael Mansfield QC produced his landmark report into the depredations of Simon Stevens' 5 Year Forward View on the NHS in NW London. He called for a halt to the plans and a reversal of the closures programme where the most deprived communities are being targeted for the worst cuts. The funding gap that must be bridged is £1bn. That is what the closures programme to date has already cost. 500 beds are being lost to pay for the closures that have already happened. You couldn't make this up.
But this government and the CEO of NHS England share the same magical thinking. If there aren't enough hospitals you close some more, to stop people using them. If there are too many patients you tell them to go home, google their symptoms and look after themselves.
It would be laughable if there wasn't such a sustained risk of unacceptable and avoidable harm to patients from the process.
The Public Accounts Committee has told Jeremy Hunt and Simon Stevens that it 'beggars belief' that the '7 day NHS' policy should have so 'flimsy a notion' of how it will be funded. But it isn't flimsy to close beds, sell land and assets and reduce the NHS to inadequacy. We must ask serious questions about the financial security of the NHS and the level of service it is able to provide both now and in the future under these appalling cuts.
I am issuing this invitation to all London MPs and other elected representatives. If you have been convinced by the fancily packaged glossy brochures selling you the new care-in-the-community, that all will be well in the new 'sustainable' shrunken NHS, then accept the invitation the National Health Action Party will shortly be issuing to you to a symposium on why you are actually witnessing the end of the NHS as a comprehensive service for all.
And then, I ask you, please work with us to stop these latest draconian cuts plans and help save the NHS. The Sustainability and Transformation Plans are being implemented in 44 'footprints' across the country. If this decimation of services is allowed to continue they will be very bloody footprints."
- Cutbacks are being targeted on the most deprived communities
- The public consultation was inadequate and flawed
- The escalating cost of the programme (£1bn) does not represent value for money and is a waste of precious public resources
- There is no business plan to show the reconfiguration is affordable or deliverable
- NHS facilities have been closed without adequate alternative provision being put in place
- The plans seriously underestimate the increasing size of the population in North West London and fail to address the increasing need for services.