The ‘Knives’ are Out – Cuts and Free Film Show – ESON newsletter 20/09/19

We are back after the summer break and have started our Autumn Campaigning with a great start, with 20 ESON supporters attending our Campaign Meeting last Tuesday. After 7 years we are as committed as ever to fight for a better Ealing Hospital and defend our NHS.
Over the summer NHS bosses have been busy hatching up plans to reduce what they call “over performance” and bring their finances down to Government-imposed levels, despite the cost to patients. We call it cuts, putting costs and financial targets before patient care and it’s not acceptable.
On a lighter note we have a fantastic Film Night planned. Our Campaign is hosting the West London showing of the excellent ‘Under the Knife’ film on Friday 18th October, here in Ealing. We are also supporting the 40 years of Ealing Hospital Music Hall on Tuesday 5th November – more on these later……
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This Saturday 21st, our jolly crew are back in Ealing Broadway and will be outside Marks & Spencer’s from 11.00 -1.00pm with our brand new leaflet and our ‘Bring back Services to Ealing Hospital’ petition.
You can read our latest leaflet, well worth a read, here
As stories of cuts circulate – What’s the future for Ealing Hospital?
From time to time we hear stories that some services are at risk of no longer being provided at Ealing Hospital and will be moved to Northwick Park. When we get hard information we try and take this up with the Hospital Trust (London North West Healthcare University NHS Trust (LNWH) as we did recently when we heard there were attempts to remove emergency Orthopaedic Surgery after 8.00pm from Ealing Hospital. Thankfully our representations worked and that is not taking place.
However, we do know that the LNWH Trust finances are not in a good state and there is pressure from their funders, NWL NHS to reduce ‘unplanned care’. This could mean not paying them if they treat too many people and go over their agreed number of patients. It’s called ‘over- performance’ and means they might have to bear the cost! What a terrible way to run an NHS – NOTHING TO DO WITH PATIENT CARE AT ALL.
According to the latest NHS statistics A&E attendance is twice as high in deprived areas across the UK, which certainly includes Southall. This is lost on NWL NHS bosses, who after all wanted to decimate our Hospital under the failed ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ plans.
Privatised Ealing GP Referral ‘Facilitation’ System to end in November 2019:
Most patients may be unaware that a private company called ‘Optum, a subsidiary of US United Healthcare, has been checking and processing Ealing GP referrals to hospitals or other NHS services. They were contracted to run the ‘Referral Facilitation Service’ in 2015 and have done very nicely out of it, thank you, having been paid just over £4 million pounds of public money. The contract is now ending on 31st October 2019 and GPs will once again be able to make referrals directly.
This looks like having been a massive waste of money producing little cost savings and more importantly, causing delay and anxiety to patients waiting for appointments – not really facilitating referrals at all. We have sent a further Freedom of Information request to Ealing CCG, to ask if there will be a publically available evaluation and to clarify exactly how much was ‘saved’ and some of the questionable figures we have been provided. Watch this space for their response!

“There could be trouble ahead” – meaning even more cuts:

Over the Summer NWL NHS bosses have been busy trying to balance their books. Despite pledges of more money for the NHS from this Government it seems targets must still be met and any so called ‘over spending’ reigned in. For some years now NHS spending in NWL has exceeded targets and now NHS bosses claim it is getting ‘out of control’. At the end of last month we received a letter from NWL NHS stating they were off target and must bring down their ‘deficit’ to the agreed £51 million. What a way to run our NHS!
Apparently the deficit could rise up to anything from £81 to £112 million, most of which is allegedly because GPs are sending too many sick people to hospitals and our hospitals are treating too many patients!
Although no hard details are available, and despite their denials, we think GPs will be under pressure to divert patients away from Hospitals and towards community health services, now called “more appropriate settings”. Hospital Consultants will also be under pressure to consider whether a patient really needs be referred to another specialist. The list of possible cuts is not happy reading!
Dr Gary Marlow from the BMA said: “By restricting referrals – be that from GP to hospital, or between consultants – patients are prevented from receiving the best treatment for their individual condition.
You can read more about this cuts plan in this Guardian Article –
And just to be balanced you can read the response from North West London NHS boss Mark Easton here
Plans to ‘centralise’ decision – making about our NHS care – deferred to 2021:
NHS Campaigners in North West London were pleased to hear that plans by NHS North West London called ‘The Case for Change’, to merge all the 8 Borough NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, including Ealing, and replace them with a single North West London CCG are being postponed until April 2021. The plans which would centralise decision-making and budgets and further remove them from local councils, GPs and local people, were widely opposed by councils, campaigners and even local NHS bosses across North West London.
Currently decisions about what services are funded and delivered in Ealing’s NHS are decided by local NHS bosses, Ealing CCG. Although they are not very democratic or accountable, they do have meetings open to the public, and can be scrutinised by the Council and lobbied by campaigners.
There are huge variations in health, deprivation and life expectancy across North West London. So it is hard to see how centralisation won’t lead to local needs not being addressed and deprived areas losing out.
Ealing Save Our NHS has opposed these changes. We rightly believed the ‘Case for Change’ would be bad news for patients in Ealing and it would introduce rigid budgets, leading to patients being denied treatment.
You can read more about our objections in our very readable response here.
DON’T MISS OUR FILM SHOWING!
‘Under the Knife’ Film Showing in Ealing – Friday 18th October:
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We are delighted to have been asked to host; the West London film showing of ‘Under the Knife’ This is an excellent and hard hitting documentary film about the damaging cuts and privatisation that is undermining our NHS. There are a wealth of fascinating insights and powerful stories featuring NHS doctors & staff, policy makers, politicians, campaigners and patients. It is being screened nationwide by other NHS campaigns and is supported by the Guardian and Daily Mirror.
Here is a short promo of the film to whet your appetite and some great quotes about why you should come and see it.
‘Films, like words, can be weapons. This film is a weapon in our struggle to save the NHS. Armed with the evidence so eloquently provided here, we can win this battle. (Film maker Ken Loach)
“This is the best film around on the NHS. UNDER THE KNIFE shows the vital importance of the NHS to society and exposes the dark threats facing it. But most important of all, the film gives hope to those who are campaigning to keep the NHS safe for our children. You just have to see it” (Tony O’ Sullivan, Keep Our NHS Public)
Doors open 7.15pm, film showing at 7.30pm. There will be a short discussion after the film, which is approximately 1.20 minutes
VENUE: Ealing Green Church, The Green, W5 5QT (close to The Grove Pub and Pitshanger Manor and 7 minutes walk from Ealing Broadway Station)
Tickets available (free) on Eventbrite from 20th September – please book to give us an idea of numbers.
Ealing Hospital 40th Birthday Music Hall – Tuesday 5th November:
On 5 November 1979, Ealing Hospital formally opened its doors to patients. 40 years on, to the day, thankful patients are throwing a Birthday Party for the hospital. The hospital has been through many ups and downs over the years but it has always been there for us, to ease our pains, treat our ailments and extend our lives.
A Music Hall Birthday Party has been arranged at the hospital’s local Pub ‘The Viaduct’. Participants are promised popular Victorian songs, speciality acts and variety entertainment. NHS staff, along with local professional and amateur entertainers are the performers.
7.30pm (doors open at 7.00pm) Tuesday 5th November in The Viaduct’, 221 Uxbridge Road, Hanwell, London W7 3TD. There is a Licensed Bar in the Music Hall and finger food will be served at 7:00pm and during the interval. Tickets cost £10 including food. Any profits are being donated to Ealing Save Our NHS.
To book go to: www.eventbrite.co.uk and search for ‘Ealing Hospital 40th Birthday Music Hall’ or email the Event Organiser, Eric Leach at [email protected]
SAGE Public Meeting on Social Care – Friday 27th September
‘The future of Social Care – how can we improve it’
This should be a good opportunity to hear from both providers and users of Social Care in Ealing and local campaigners and to discuss concerns. There will be refreshments & Stalls from 5.00 – 6.00pm and then speakers from 6.00 -7.00 pm with the last hour until 8.00pm for questions and contributions. Speakers include Kerry Stevens, Ealing Council Director of Adult Care, social care users & local campaigners. ESON has also been asked to provide a Stall and a speaker. Organised by Seniors Action Group Ealing.
Friday 27th September in Hanwell Methodist Church, Church Road, W7 1DJ.
SOME FASCINATING READING:
Here are three excellent short articles from the ‘I’ newspaper on – the rising PFI debt, now 80 billion; the scandal of Government charging interest on loans to cash strapped Trusts and NHS latest figures reveal A&Es used most by the poorest and most deprived – Well worth a read
You can read them here
Don’t trap the NHS in debt – 38 degree Petition
Picking up on the story in the ‘I’ above you might like to sign the 38 degrees petition on sorting out the PFI debt.