23 February 2018
Updates from the #SaveSouthendNHS Campaign:
Simon Cross outside Southend Hospital
By Simon Cross.
The South East Essex Green Party is proud to continue to support the #SaveSouthendNHS campaign and would like to update members who may want to get more active in this whole community campaign fighting to preserve the People's NHS.
Many members are actively participating in a number of Save Southend NHS initiatives and fighting alongside Trades Unions, people from all political parties, community groups and individuals from all walks of life.
Hopefully this update, as we come to the final stages of a Public Consultation (which has been a clear indicator that the STP/ACO did not actually wish to engage with the public) will serve as a call to action for Green Party members who would like to get more actively involved in what is arguably the most important campaign we will fight in our lifetime.
This Conservative Government fully intends to privatise the NHS.
It intends to sell off 44 recently-created ACOs (Accountable Care Organisations) as business units to bidders (including US insurers), and is, therefore, removing all accountability from these new local companies from government scrutiny.
This is as low a move as all other ideological austerities.
Several members of our Party sat through a marathon session of Full Council [22.02.18] yesterday evening listening to Labour Party, Independent, and Lib Dem voices uniting to speak up passionately for the NHS whilst the Tories sat uncharacteristically quiet.
The Conservative Councillors only interjected at times where they had a chance to vote (en bloc) to weaken any kind of position the council has to shape the future of Healthcare in Southend.
It was a case of them acting like a bully against a very united and pragmatic opposition.
They continue to fail to grasp the impact of their decision to support the reckless destruction of our Health Service will have on every single life in Southend. In that respect alone, they have failed as Councillors.
Towards the end of the meeting, already gone midnight, they had a chance to support a well-drafted letter stating our total disgust at the plan to merge the three Mid & South Essex Hospitals into a single organisation; which has been carried out in secret with no scrutiny or due diligence.
Whipped without emotion, the Conservatives voted unanimously against recognising the letter.
The Tories showed us what we clearly now need to do; That is to engage the whole population in taking back our NHS and putting it in the hands of clinicians and far out of the reach of the politicians who have made the NHS a political weapon for over 40 years.
The #SaveSouthendNHS Campaign have also officially commented on the Council meeting:
"We are very glad that the message of our CROSS-PARTY campaign appears to finally be getting through - despite 'certain people' attempting to smear us.
The very stark consensus about the Mid and South Essex STP is that they have delivered an exceedingly poor public consultation with little transparency, poor process and just 0.04% of the 1.5 million catchment area have actually engaged. Councillors are cross that they are still awaiting answers to many questions, especially surrounding both patient and visitor transport provision and meeting the workforce demands.
Cllr. Lesley Salter, Portfolio Holder for the Health and Wellbeing board states that "we have excellent stroke services at Southend and they should not be moved," however maintains that separation of planned and emergency care is "needed" and that "specialist centres" will attract more staff and improve outcomes.
She also said the evidence supports this - it doesn’t.
We would like to know precisely how she has come to this conclusion, bearing in mind there has been no staff survey on their wishes to work at a so-called 'specialist centre' and in fact, if the STP reconfiguration goes ahead and staff are expected to work across sites, many will leave and go and work in London where there is London weighting. #SaveSouthendNHS are just glad that there remains a large amount of scepticism from Councillors and that most appear to be taking the proposals to transfer critically ill local residents all around Essex for treatment, very seriously.
The whole meeting will be available in the council archive to view in a few days time."
We would ideally love for all our members to (if not already done) follow the Save Southend NHS campaign on Facebook and the @NHSUnited twitter page.
If you have a skillset or access to anything which may be useful to the campaign, please message the campaign and let them know so we can increase the already great expertise, making the group amongst the most successful campaigns in the country.
We will be attending a protest under the Railway Bridge in Southend High Street on Saturday, March 3rd at 12 noon.
Organised by Fighting For our NHS (Essex) as part of a national protest day, the whole country will be holding similar events to raise awareness that our NHS is under threat, and it will send a clear message that the NHS is NOT FOR SALE.
We also hold a fun but important 'Regular Presence' on the traffic reservation in front of the A&E at Southend University Hospital every Monday and Friday from 13:00 until 14:00 and we often theme these meetings.
This is in recognition of the people we value, the staff of the Hospital who keep us alive. These are planned to continue until Friday, March 9th (the end of consultation) Depending on the direction campaigning takes after that date, they may be set to continue for some time.
We are also keen for people to volunteer to leaflet the streets near their homes as awareness of this issue is still not 100% and we would hate for people to lose their NHS without having the chance to fight back.
We will hold a protest outside the Consultation meeting to be held on Wednesday, March 7th and there will be details of that posted on the Save Southend NHS sites closer to the time.
As a Party, the Green Party is very aware of all aspects of this matter and we feel it is so important that we make sure our members are as aware as possible of all developments so we can act as a strong partner to our wider community.
The monumental effort from the campaigners themselves continues...
The STP and supporters regularly cite specific scientific papers to support their scheme.
Crucially, many campaigners argue that most of the "clinical evidence" put forward by the STP is either outdated or taken out of context.
As ever, the #SaveSouthendNHS team decided to actually read the papers the STP casually cites as supporting evidence:
WHAT DOES THE STP's “EVIDENCE” REALLY SAY?
"The STP list a whole load of scientific papers to back up their plans to reduce services in our local hospitals and concentrate them in 'Specialist Centres', but what do these papers ACTUALLY say about creating larger, higher volume centres? See for yourself:
“Because most of the studies we reviewed were based on data from the 1980s to mid-1990s, the extent to which their findings reflect current practice and volume is unclear.” [Halm et al, 2002]
“Some low-volume providers have good outcomes, and some high-volume providers have poor outcomes.“ [Halm et al, 2002]
“Even when a significant association exists, volume does not predict outcome well for individual hospitals or physicians.” [Halm et al, 2002]
“.. hospitals that transfer patients after primary surgery back to a referring (often smaller and lower volume) hospital may have better outcomes because patients who develop complications or die are more likely to do so in the referring institution. [Chowdhury, 2007]
“The smaller but more reliable sample of prospective studies demonstrated that when this (point made above) and other potential inaccuracies are minimized, the benefit from high hospital volume is limited” [Chowdhury, 2007]
Damned by their own evidence?
Chowdhury, M. M., Dagash, H., & Pierro, A. (2007). A systematic review of the impact of volume of surgery and specialization on patient outcome. British journal of surgery, 94(2), 145-161.
Halm, E. A. et al. (2002) Is volume related to outcome in health care? A systematic review and methodologic critique of the literature. Annals of internal medicine, 137(6), 511-520."
LOVE SOUTHEND NHS
In possibly the most obvious move of political band-wagoning in recent memory, the Southend Conservatives have recently launched their own NHS-themed campaign creatively named 'Love Southend NHS.'
The campaign launch, predictably coinciding on the same day Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrived in Shoeburyness to help MP James Dudderidge leaflet for Cllr James Moyies in Thorpe Ward, is rather evidently a two-dimensional move to subvert the very real concern that the local Conservatives are doing nothing to safeguard our local NHS services from dismantling.
Rather than actually hold the STP to account over the ongoing £30M cuts to our public health services, the campaign instead publicises the STP's own material, and the clear architect of this campaign, Cllr Moyies, uses the campaign's Twitter feed to self-congratulate his "Great initiative & leadership."
Please don't fall for this rouse.
The Southend Conservatives "Love Southend NHS" as much as most of us love sexual diseases.
Our continued involvement in the campaign is one of a number of things the local Green Party are working with residents and cross-party groups on as part of our aim to pragmatically demonstrate that community has to always be of more importance than any individual politically point-scoring.
Ultimately, Our NHS is more important than any election result.
This article and the opinions expressed within does not represent the views of the cross-party #SaveSouthendNHS campaign.
This article uses excerpts from the #SaveSouthendNHS campaign literature and published media.
They have a wealth of well-researched literature, and the scale of it is astonishing.
Please find visit the campaign Website and Social Media for a more in-depth read of their material.