Save Intensive Care beds at the Leicester General. No more cuts to our NHS.

Public Meeting – Saturday 29th September 2018, 2.00pm, Hansom Hall
Leicester Adult Education Centre, Wellington Street

Leicester Socialist Party, as part of Save Our NHS Leicestershire, is protesting against plans to cut intensive care beds at the General Hospital. Across the country, the amount of NHS land being sold off has increased dramatically – 718 sites have been deemed “surplus to requirement”, compared to just 418 two years ago. As services are cut, hospitals are selling off land to private developers to make ends meet.

These one-off payments are not going to be adequate to ensure our NHS is funded properly. The NHS continues to be funded at lower than the rate of inflation, as the Tories have restricted budget rises to just 1% since 2010. The fire-sale of public land creates serious problems for any future expansion of NHS services. As Health Campaigns Together argue, “Retaining public sector land for future use is far better value for money than selling it only to replace it at a higher price later.”

The biggest financial problem facing the NHS is PFI – Profit From Illness, as Dave Nellist has called it – but more commonly known as the Private Finance Initiative, which gave private companies the opportunity to take over the running of NHS hospitals. Cleaning and catering were sold off first, resulting in an increase in “superbugs” as private companies cut corners, regardless of the hygiene risks to patients. NHS privatisation has gathered pace since, with the introduction of the Tories’ Health and Social Care Act, selling off NHS services to “any willing provider”. All NHS services are now up for grabs. Just one company, Richard Branson’s Virgin Care (registered in a tax haven, the British Virgin Islands) has been awarded £2bn of NHS contracts.

In Leicestershire, the so-called STP (Sustainability and Transformation Partnership) is the blueprint for local NHS services over the next five years. It includes Plans for reconfiguration of Leicester City Hospitals from three to two acute sites”.

What does this mean for Leicester General Hospital and why are intensive care beds being targeted as part of the cuts? The loss of intensive care beds will be the first step toward downgrading the General Hospital as an acute hospital, with other services, such as renal and urology services, also removed. Leicestershire NHS Trust are going ahead with these cuts, without even going through the motions of holding a public consultation, such is the pressure they are under to cut services. Hospital managers claim that these plans are necessary because of duplication, and sometimes triplication, of services across Leicester’s three sites, leading to “inefficiencies”. We agree that there is much that can, and should, be done to improve the provision of local services, but the plans currently put forward by the Trust are far from satisfactory and should be subject to full public consultation.

The threat to Leicester General Hospital is part of a wider process of privatisation, underfunding, fragmentation and cuts which has affected every part of the NHS, over the last forty years. We welcome Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that he would end private involvement in the NHS. Hospitals would no longer be awarded PFI contracts, and existing contracts would be bought out. The Socialist Party would go further – we say the unions urgently need to mobilise their members to protect our NHS, and we would renationalise the NHS, with no compensation for fat cats like Richard Branson, after all they have stolen enough of our public resources already! However, Corbyn’s plans are a vital step towards taking back control of our national health service.

An edited version of this article is in this week’s Socialist newspaper.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: