Kingston Keep Our NHS Public

Fighting cuts, closures and privatisation in our local NHS


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United demonstration shows way to stop closures

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Unions like the CWU sent activists to the demonstration

About seventy people attended a protest in Wimbledon today as Merton Clinical Commissioning Group waved through the closure of A&Es at St Helier and Epsom hospitals.

Activists from Sutton & Cheam and Merton Labour were joined by Kingston Green Party members, NHS supporters from Unite, CWU and GMB, health campaigners from Kingston and SW London Keep Our NHS Public, plus local MP, Siobhian McDonagh.

Inside the meeting, board members were grilled over their conflicts of interest. Dr Howard Freeman, CCG chair and, until recently, Director of the closures programme, was questioned over whether he had financial links to Assura/Virgin Health while he was overseeing the cuts review. When he said that he “didn’t know”, the audience exploded with shouts of “crook” and “coward”.

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Dr Howard Freeman, CCG Chair, left the room and then called for the public to be ejected after being challenged over his relationship to Virgin Health

The united protest shows the way forward. We need to bring together local campaigns and organisations across South West London to fight the closures. Some politicans are already trying to play divide and rule, with Chris Grayling arguing that “London” is to blame for the closures at Epsom hospital, while Ed Davey has stated that the cuts mean extra cash for Kingston Hospital.

We need to take on these arguments and say that we need all our hospitals, and that any closure of an A&E will add pressure to the surviving emergency departments, with disastrous consequences.

SW London NHS is calling for a broad campaign to break the closures programme, and throw the proposals in the bin. Make sure you come to the open organising meeting at 7.30pm on Tuesday 28th May at Collier’s Wood Community Centre.

CWU and GMB activists joined with KONP members and others

CWU and GMB activists joined with KONP members and others

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Defend SW London’s NHS statement

We are a group of organisations and individuals in South West London and Surrey that are coming together to coordinate a response to the attack on our local NHS.

We are against the closure of A&E, maternity and children’s services at two sites in this region. These closures will be disastrous for the people they currently serve. But they will also increase pressure on the services at the hospitals which do not face closures, and will push down the quality of care across the region.

We’re calling for individuals, campaign groups, local community networks, trade unions, medical professionals’ associations and others to come to an open organising meeting to discuss the way forward in resisting all cuts and closures in South West London’s NHS. We’ll be holding an initial meeting at 7.30pm on Tuesday 28th May in Collier’s Wood Community Centre, 66-72 High Street, Collier’s Wood SW19 2BY.

South West London Keep Our NHS Public

Leonie Cooper
Deputy Leader, Wandsworth Council

John Keys
Councillor for Beddington North, Sutton Council

St Helier and Epsom Hospital Unison

Pete Gillard
Secretary, Unite Area Activist Committee (South London)

Kingston GMB

Richard Donnelly
Secretary, Kingston Trades Union Council

Kevin O’Brien
Secretary, Sutton and Merton Trades Union Council

Kingston Green Party

Merton Green Party

Richmond and Twickenham Green Party

Sutton and Croydon Green Party

Wandsworth Green Party


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Five ways to build the London NHS demonstration

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Meet up @ Kingston Station, 11am
Assemble @ Jubilee Gardens, Waterloo, 12 noon

Keep Our NHS Public has called a London-wide demonstration on Saturday 18th May. NHS campaigners from around the Capital will march on Parliament against cuts, closures and privatisation.

Already the demonstration has been backed by London Labour Party conference, Unite the Union, Save Lewisham A&E and the Defend the Whittington Hospital campaign.

There is the clear potential for an absolutely massive show of anger against the attacks on our health services – but we need to go all out to build it as big as possible.

Four ways to build the demonstration

1. Why not print off some leaflets for the demonstration. We’ll be regularly updating this website with more leaflets as we get more details about the march.

2. Share the facebook event and invite your friends!

3. Are you a trade unionist? We need the backing of local trade union branches and national unions. Pass the KONP motion in your union branch.

4. Come to the Kingston KONP stall – it’s every Saturday at 2pm, outside the Bentall’s Centre. You don’t need to be an expert on NHS cuts – you just need to be passionate and willing to help leaflet and petition the public.


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Kingston kicks off fight against A&E closures

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Kingston activists demonstrate against closures at neighbouring hospitals that will flood Kingston Hospital’s wards with new patients

Kingston Keep Our NHS Public kicked off the fight against the closure of vital services at St Helier and Epsom hospitals last week.

Some twenty activists got together at a few days notice to demonstrate outside Kingston Clinical Commissioning Group, which was set to wave through proposals to close A&E, maternity and paediatrics at Epsom and St Helier. Kingston-based campaigners believe that the closures will inundate Kingston hospital with new patients and destroy the quality of service.

Despite over 60 emails being sent to the CCG calling for the meeting, which was scheduled for just three days after the closures programme was announced, to be postponed, including from local medical professionals and a London Assembly member, the board unanimously approved the closures.

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Sutton CCG meets to green-light closures: The CCGs and BSBV are covering up massive funding cuts to local NHS budgets

Better Service Better Value, the authors of the closures programme, are pushing the lie that the slashing of services is about “reshaping” of the local health service and is clinically the right thing to do. Local MP Ed Davey is even claiming that Kingston Hospital will now get extra cash to deal with the increase in foot-fall. But the closures are really about cuts – central government has cut the NHS budget by £21 billion, which means a 24% cuts to the local hospitals budget. Services at Epsom and St Helier will be lost, and there will be no new money for other hospitals – just further cuts and redundancy programmes.

But resistance is building across SW London. Nearly 200 people crammed into a room in North Cheam on Thursday to watch the Sutton CCG meeting, in which one member of the board broke ranks and voted against the proposals. And further CCG meetings are still to come in Merton and Epsom, with massive public pressure emerging which could break the back of the review if just one CCG votes against it. The RCN and doctors at Epsom Hospital have both made public statements against the closures, while local campaigners are mobilising for a massive turnout at the CCG meeting there.

We need to fight hard to get one of the CCGs to reject the closures, and put Better Services Better Value in the bin, where it belongs. But we also need to begin to pull together the different campaigns around SW London and begin to organise for if and when the proposals go to public consultation. We need to build a movement across SW London that can break the closures.


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TWO SW LONDON A&Es TO CLOSE – TAKE URGENT ACTION NOW

The Better Services Better Value cuts body is due to release proposals to close two A&Es and two maternity units in SW London on Friday 3rd May. These are most likely to be St Helier and Epsom Hospitals. The impact of these sites closing will be fatal for Kingston Hospital, which will be flooded with new patients from areas that no longer have emergency facilities.

The initial decision to approve the closures will be taken by the seven local Clinical Commissioning Boards (CCGs), which are borough-based panels of NHS managers and GPs. The Kingston CCG meets on Tuesday 7th May. If just one CCG rejects the proposals, the proposals will have to be thrown out.

There are three things that you can do to stop the closures:

1. JOIN THE PROTEST

We are calling for a protest outside the CCG meeting at 12 noon on Tuesday 7th May. Meet outside Kingston Guildhall, High Street, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 1EU. We need the maximum amount of people to come to send a message that we need all our hospitals and that any A&E closures will devastate the quality of service at Kingston – the result will be huge waiting times and deaths.

You can share this facebook event and invite people to it in order to build the protest, but also ring your friends and tell your colleagues and neighbours about what is happening!

2. EMAIL THE CCG CHAIR

With the proposals officially announced on Friday, and the CCG attempting to push them through on Tuesday, there is just one full week-day for local people to read and raise concerns about the proposals to close whole hospital departments. Furthermore, the meeting takes place in the early afternoon, at a time when most working people cannot attend. This is not what democracy looks like – it’s a deliberate attempt to stop local people exercising political pressure.

We’re calling on everyone in South West London to email Kingston CCG and request that the meeting is postponed to give people enough time to digest and challenge the closures.

Please email the CCG at communications@kingstonccg.nhs.uk with the following message. Please CC kingstonkonp@gmail.com into the email so that we can keep a record of who has emailed them.

Subject: FAO Naz Jivani, Chair of Kingston CCG

I’d like to express my disappointment that the important decision of whether or not to approve proposals to close A&E departments in SW London is being made just days after the publication of these recommendations. This gives no time for the public to read them – in fact, it doesn’t even allow local people to submit questions to the CCG in time to have them registered at the Governing Board meeting. This tramples all over the local democracy which CCGs should be part of promoting.

I’m requesting that this meeting is moved to a time when local people can both attend after work and have time to read the proposals in full.

Thanks.

3. COME TO THE KINGSTON KONP STALL THIS SATURDAY

We need to raise public awareness of the closures programme and build the protest outside the CCG meeting. Make sure you come along to the Kingston Keep Our NHS Public stall this Saturday at 2pm outside the Bentalls Centre.


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Epsom doctors reject A&E closure

We write as group of Hospital Consultants and General Practitioners who have worked in the Epsom area for most of our professional lives.

We are extremely concerned that the future of Epsom General Hospital (EGH) is currently threatened by a process called “Better Service, Better Value” (BSBV).

The BSBV review has proposed major changes to local hospital services, subject to public consultation.

We believe the public should be aware that this process is not supported by the majority of local doctors and there are serious concerns regarding both the safety and the likely impact of these proposed changes.

If these changes are enacted, the reality will be weaker services for local residents at increased cost to local commissioners.

We are extremely concerned that the delays involved in transporting ill patients to distant hospitals will increase clinical risk; that patients will find it difficult to access much needed services and that the elderly and families with children will find that the travelling times and costs are prohibitive.

These plans have been hurried in respect of EGH’s involvement with a conspicuous failure to provide any robust evidence of benefit to local people or to accurately model the implications for healthcare in Surrey.

EGH’s place is undoubtedly as a Surrey hospital working with other Surrey Trusts.  However the BSBV plan would irrevocably bind EGH and local residents to reliance on South West London Hospitals.  Many of South West London Hospital face challenges.

In particular, St. George’s Hospital struggles to provide a full range of highly specialised (tertiary) services to this sector whilst also providing secondary care to its local population.

BSBV would simply transform it into a bigger, over-full, District General Hospital with even greater problems.

As clinicians we understand that the NHS faces financial and logistical challenges locally as well as nationally.

However, working in partnership with GPs, other Surrey Hospitals and specialist units such as St. George’s Hospital, EGH has continued to develop high quality care closer to home for our local population.

As a result:

  • Mortality rate is amongst the lowest in the UK.  We are in the top 25% hospitals for recovery from heart attack and stroke.
  • Quality of patient experience is amongst the highest in the south of England.
  • Though our maternity unit is small, our system ensures we have one of the lowest perinatal mortality and maternal morbidity rates.
  • A & E times are amongst the shortest in the region and we can manage acute medical emergencies such as stroke, heart attack, chest disease and diabetic crises.  Many of these cases are managed in our high dependency and intensive care units which were recently renovated.
  • A recent assessment of Epsom A and E by the London Standards for Emergency Healthcare placed our acute services second best across all of  London.
  • EGH is on target to achieve financial balance by 2014-2015.

BSBV proposes to close maternity, paediatrics and A & E at EGH and deliver these acute services at Tooting, Croydon and Kingston.

Our Consultants and Nurses would be moved to work in these Hospitals, returning to EGH to run out-patient clinics only.

This would lead to the destruction of the currently fully integrated acute and community services in both Paediatrics and Obstetrics with a further reduction in local services.

The A & E at EGH would become a walk-in centre, mainly staffed by GP’s.  People who are seriously ill would need to be transferred to other hospitals or would be taken directly.

But there is an alternative.  We have worked with others to create a Surrey plan which will:

  • Modernise the A & E to recognise the changing needs of urgent care
  • Continue to provide a truly integrated children’s service and strong maternity cover
  • Provide Consultant cover on rotation to support specialist services 24/7
  • Bring new services onto the site to recognise the changing requirements to integrate hospital and community care.
  • Integrate EGH services more fully with the wider group of Surrey hospitals.
  • Move gradually to a ‘campus site’, building on the best that the NHS, Private Providers and Voluntary Organisations can bring to Epsom.
  • Encouraging new diagnostic facilities to use EGH as their base.

This is a strong plan and one that will work well for our local residents.  It is supported by our MP, Chris Grayling.

The NHS will change markedly in the next two years and without robust hospital services in Epsom the NHS in North and East Surrey will struggle to deliver hospital-based healthcare for local residents.  We would ask you to do all you can to challenge the assumptions of BSBV and assert your right to ask for an alternative plan that delivers real choice and quality locally.

We ask you to reject the BSBV proposals and consider our plan.

We ask members of the public to support us and make their opinion known before it is too late:

• Write to Chris Grayling at the Houses of Parliament. • Let your GP know your views. • Write to Dr. Clare Fuller, Chair of NHS Surrey Downs at Cedar Court, Guildford Road, Fetcham, Leatherhead, Surrey, KT22 9AE • Attend the public meetings scheduled to consider these changes.

With thanks and best wishes,

Yours sincerely:

Brendan Affley           Consultant Stroke Physician

Adam Carter   Consultant Paediatrician    

Andrew Cobb          Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon        

Joan Desborough         Consultant Anaesthetist

Peter Deveson   General Practitioner

Aoifa Evans   General Practitioner

Hilary Floyd   General Practitioner

Dean Harris   General Practitioner     

Mashkur Khan          Consultant Physician 

Nigel Mckee,   General Practitioner

Nina Newton   General Practitioner      

Janet Nicholls   Consultant Paediatrician     

Sandeep Pande   General practitioner

Hassan Shehata        Consultant Obstetrician

Jeremy Stephenson   General Practitioner

Peter Stott,   General practitioner

Paul Toomey   Consultant Surgeon

Goska Trubshaw   General Practitioner

Roy Twyman   Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Lee Wadey   Consultant Paediatrician

Lee Wormley   General Practitioner


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Local boards to approve A&E closures – time to step up the fight

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Epsom and St Helier hospitals are likely to lose their A&Es if cuts are pushed through, with disastrous effects for Kingston Hospital

The seven Clinical Commissioning Groups in South West London are scheduled to approve massive cuts to our local NHS this month.

The cuts and closures are part of the £11.5m Better Services Better Value cuts review, which is seeking to close down local A&E, maternity and children’s units, in order to cut the local hospitals budget by 24% by 2017. The plans are released on Friday, and are likely to recommend the gutting of services at Epsom and St Helier, which will have their A&Es torn out, plus attacks on other hospitals in SW London.

The cuts will be a disaster for Kingston Hospital, even if it’s not directly attacked. Cases from Epsom and St Helier will be re-routed to sites like Kingston, which already has A&E, maternity and children’s units working to full capacity.

Unaccountability, spin and cronyism

The new local bodies are set are to vote on the closures over the course of May. Despite government rhetoric that the CCGs are part of a new “localism” and “democracy” in the NHS which empowers local GPs, these bodies are thoroughly undemocratic. They are unelected and, in the case of Kingston, the majority of the members of the CCG board are not GPs, but senior NHS bureaucrats, directors of finance, and so on. They have no real accountability to local people – and many of the leading figures inside the CCGs are exactly the same people who used to lead the PCTs and other organisations which they’re supposed to replace.

The lack of democracy is underlined in the case of Kingston. Members of the public have just three days between the publication of the cuts programme and the CCG meeting on Tuesday 7th May to read the recommendations and submit questions to the board.

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Marilyn Plant, the new Medical Director of BSBV, who has been part of the attempt to dismantle A&Es in NW London.

And then there’s the revolving door between Better Services Better Values, and the CCGs, which are supposed to be holding them to account. Earlier this year, the Medical Director of BSBV left his job to become the Chair of the consortium of local CCGs, South West London CCGs, who have the final decision over the closures. He was replaced by Marilyn Plant, who’s fresh from the board of Shaping a Healthier Future, the NW London cuts review which is trying to close the A&E departments at Ealing, Charing Cross, Central Middlesex and Hammersmith.

Both the CCGs and BSBV all claim that their board members are medical “practitioners”, and that they are attempting to “reshape” and “improve” services. But the truth is that they are dominated by extremely highly paid NHS managers who are pushing through closures because the government is cutting the NHS budget massively at a national level. For example, Vanessa Lodge, who Kingston CCG advertise as their “nurse member”, has actually been in a Director in various NHS organisations since 2009.

No to cuts – stop the closures dead!

We should oppose these closure plans at every single opportunity. They have nothing to do with improving healthcare and everything to do with laying waste to our local NHS in order to save money for the government.

The CCGs meeting are brilliant opportunities to begin the work of breaking the attack on our NHS by BSBV. If just one CCG doesn’t back the closures, the whole process will have to be repeated, which will take month. We need to build the sort of public pressure that can beat back BSBV every time it comes to cut our local hospitals, until the SW London NHS bosses are forced to throw the whole project in the bin.

We’ve won against BSBV before. In February, the review was postponed after a mass campaign of massive public meetings, petitioning and a march of over 200 people in Kingston. The fear that public pressure would force a judicial review of their procedures meant that they were sent straight back to the drawing board. Now we have to do it all over again – and this time finish them off.

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The Kingston CCG meets at 1pm on Tuesday 7th May at the Guildhall