Unions, health professionals and patients from across Battersea will this weekend join with Battersea Labour Party and supporters to highlight how the Tory-led government’s Health and Social Care Bill is set to damage our NHS.

With the Bill back before Parliament next week, the campaigning street stall taking place at Wandsworth Town Rail Station on Saturday 3rd September, will warn the public that the NHS remains under threat, despite ‘superficial’ changes announced after the government’s recent ‘listening exercise’. The plans, led by David Cameron’s Tories and backed by LibDem MPs at Parliament, will see more privatisation, and millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money wasted on bureaucracy instead of patient care.

Andrew Fearn who has organised the events said: “The NHS is not safe in David Cameron’s hands and nobody should be fooled by the superficial changes announced after the so-called listening exercise. The health service is already being pushed to breaking point and this wasteful reorganisation is simply a recipe for chaos. So we’re calling on Jane Ellison MP to do the right thing and vote against Cameron’s dangerous plans.”

John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary added: “The Tory-led Health Bill is a massive threat to the NHS that we know and love. With the plans about to come back before Parliament, we’re calling on the people of Battersea to join our national campaign to stop David Cameron’s government from destroying our NHS.”

Susan Elliott, local resident said: “People here in Battersea are already starting to see the impact of the government’s plans for the NHS, through the loss of 500 jobs and the cap on maternity admissions at St Georges Hospital in Tooting. Allowing this Bill to become law will make matters far worse.”

Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary said: “The Tories in government claim that the private sector is more cost effective in providing quality health and social care despite all the evidence that this is not the case. The private sector sunk Southern Cross care homes for 31,000 elderly and vulnerable residents. And as is well known, healthcare in the US, delivered by the private sector, costs double what it costs in the UK with no better outcomes.”

Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary said: “Our health service is under siege. If anyone thinks that the NHS is safe in the Coalition’s hands – they better think again. The Health and Social Care Bill is a Trojan horse bringing in private health companies to take over our health service. In Tory-ward, money talks and if patients don’t have the cash they will find themselves waiting at the end of a very long queue.”

Len McCluskey, Unite General Secretary said: “We cannot allow the privatisation of the NHS. The coalition promised an NHS safe in their hands. They lied. More than 50,000 jobs will go and waiting times are up. With this bill, profit-grabbing private healthcare companies will have carte blanche to dismantle the NHS street by street. The promise of universal access at the point of need for all, regardless of the ability to pay will be crushed.”

Tooting MP Sadiq Khan ‘expresses reservations’ to St George’s Hospital bosses over merger

Re-posted from Wandsworth Guardian

Tooting’s MP has revealed he has “expressed reservations” to bosses at St George’s Hospital about a proposed merger with St Helier Hospital.
St George’s Healthcare has been formally invited to tender for partnership with the Sutton hospital, including Sutton Hospital and Queen Mary’s Hospital for Children – with a bid expected to be made on September 16.
The move comes in a year when St George’s is looking to save £55m in response to the Government’s £20bn NHS cuts programme. Union Unison has previously warned this could result in wards and beds being lost and a cap on the number of births handled at the Tooting hospital.
Sadiq Khan MP said a merger “had to be in the best interests of both hospitals and their patients”, and he expressed reservations to St George’s interim chief executive on two occasions, and also the director of finance, adding he was worried the board and senior managers could be “distracted” by the merger.
He said: “There are many unanswered questions about the deficits of both hospitals and the financial pressures facing both Trusts. The recent loss of St George’s chief executive, and the impending departure of their long-standing chair, only adds to my concerns over what is the long-term interests of the hospitals.
“I am afraid the perception is that rather than clinical needs determining the conditions of the merger, there are other factors determining decisions. It is inevitable services for patients and staff will be lost at St George’s. It is noteworthy no one else bid to merge with St Helier, which is why some suspect the merger is a foregone conclusion.”
Meanwhile, politicians and doctors in Sutton have warned St Helier Hospital faces cuts to frontline services, including its accident and emergency department, from the proposed merger.

Wandsworth Save Our NHS Delivers Massive Petition

Save our NHS – that was the message delivered to the Tory-led government last week. Wandsworth campaigners staged a street spectacle with an NHS ‘patient’ on life support when they handed over a 400,000-strong CD e-petition at Tory MP Jane Ellison’s Battersea High Street surgery on Saturday.
The petition calls for a rethink on the coalition government’s Health Bill. Protestors urged it not to break up the health service and hand it to private providers. They want the government to listen to the fears of doctors, nurses and patients and protect patient care and say the reforms will lead to a loss of hospital beds and staff.
‘The reforms are too much, too soon and too fast,’ said campaigner Will Martindale. ‘The government says it will ring fence the NHS budget but already we are seeing 300 front-line staff being cut at St George’s Hospital, Tooting.’
Suzie Poston said: ‘I’m concerned about the effect on the morale and efficiency of the health service. Privatisation will add to costs, not reduce them, and I fear the service will be fragmented.’-
NHS humanist chaplain, Jeanne Rathbone, added: ‘Privatisation is about competition and profit – look at the cost of using agency nurses. How can profit be a primary motive of the health service? It’s essential that this is not used as a way of reducing the pay and working conditions of the staff.’
The petition was organised by campaign group 38 degrees.