Ealing Hospital celebrates its 40th and its Election time for the NHS – ESON newsletter 8/11/19

It’s Election time and all health campaigners will be doing their very best to make sure the NHS is on every voters mind when they place their vote on 12th December. There is so much at stake for our NHS in this election as it gets closer and closer to breaking point. Only this week the BMA has announced it expects this to be the worst ever winter for waiting times.
We in Ealing know only too well the pressures on NHS staff and the package of cuts on the way from North West London NHS bosses is cause for great concern.
On a much lighter note we have been celebrating Ealing Hospitals 40th Birthday with cake and song. Please do read on for more on all our stories….
Happy 40th Birthday Ealing Hospital!
Ealing Save Our NHS was outside Ealing Hospital on Tuesday to celebrate its 40th birthday. We gave out leaflets (Laura please do link to leaflet) and cakes to thank the wonderful staff for everything they do. Despite having an axe hanging over their heads for the last 7 years, our hospital staff kept going and all the campaigning finally paid off when the rotten ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ plan to close our A&E and beds was finally dropped in March this year.
Ealing Hospital opened on 5 November 1979 on St. Bernard’s Hospital former grounds and replaced the King Edward Memorial, and nearby Hanwell Cottage Hospitals and many services provided by Southall-Norwood Hospital. The new Ealing Maternity Unit opened in March 1988. Despite its high demand and popularity for Ealing mums this excellent unit was closed in May 2015 along with our Childrens A&E and Ward in 2016 – we want them back!
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Outside Ealing Hospital on the 40th
Later that evening Ealing’s 40th was celebrated in Music Hall style in the Viaduct Pub to an enthusiastic 100+ audience. Well done to organiser Eric Leach and others for a great night and thanks to everyone who donated to the £150.00 ESON collection.
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General Election 2019 – ‘Vote to Save the NHS’ – it’s not safe in this Government’s hands:
It should come as no surprise that we believe the NHS should be on everyone’s mind when they enter the polling booth. Our NHS both locally and nationally is in crisis, kept going by the sheer willpower and dedication of NHS Staff. Under this Government the NHS has been chronically underfunded, sections put up for sale to the lowest bidder and is now undoubtedly being evaluated as part of any future trade deal with the Trump administration. Recently, a resolution to oppose privatisation of the NHS was voted down by the Tories, with the Lib Dems abstaining.
Ealing Save Our NHS stands for a publically funded, publically provided NHS, free and available to all.
It was Government policy that lay behind the ‘Shaping a Healthier Future Plans’ to close our A&Es and slash hundreds of beds and the continued cuts and threats to Ealing Hospital directly flow from underfunding of the NHS since 2010.
You can read more in this excellent article from the national Keep Our NHS Public campaign – Ten things every voter should know about the NHS.
Upcoming NHS Stalls: (more to be planned)
Over the coming weeks we will be out in the shopping centres along with NHS campaigners around the country with a simple message – please use your ‘Vote to Save the NHS’.
Saturday 16th November – 12.00- 2.00pm in Southall (opposite Southall Town Hall)
Friday 22nd November – 11.00-1.00pm in Acton close to Morrisons & St Marys Church
Saturday 7th December – Our Xmas Vote NHS Roadshow along the Uxbridge Road, visiting local shopping centres including West Ealing & Ealing Broadway – 11.00 – 3.30pm – more details to follow
CAN YOU HELP: We would welcome offers of help to leaflet your local streets and get the Vote NHS message out. If you can help please email me so we can arrange drop off of leaflets – thanks
NWL ‘debts’ mean cuts for patients and longer waiting times.
‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ which aimed to close our A&Es and 100s of beds was supposed to save £1 billion, but instead NWL NHS bosses spent between £200 million and £1.3 billion just planning this madcap scheme, with little or nothing to show for it. Management Consultants like McKinsey did very well, creaming off around £76 Million.
The CCGs (bosses) who squandered all these millions of pounds also did very well for themselves, spending around £60 Million on salaries and benefits per year and now are in massive debt to the tune of £110 million and rising, whilst the NHS Trusts have a collective debt of £164 million!
The failure of the CCGs to be held to account for the wasted SAHF spending, needs to be addressed but it would take a different Government to hold anyone to account.
Meanwhile, Government policy does not allow CCGs or Trusts to go over their budget, no matter what the reason, and so health cuts are to be imposed to bring the deficit down to an ‘agreed level’ What a terrible way to run our NHS!
According to NWL NHS boss, Mark Easton, they plan to slice £61.6 million off the deficit which he says are – “not cuts, just spending as we planned” and it only accounts for 2.8% of their overall spend – so that’s all right then!
So what about services for patients? The millions of pounds of cuts include placing restrictions on GP referrals to hospitals, restricting consultant to consultant referrals to urgent only, restricting over-the-counter prescriptions and generally putting the squeeze on NHS Trusts, especially ours – London North West. One of the likely outcomes is longer waiting times for treatment for patients. When challenged on this NWL Bosses say “don’t worry we won’t breach constitutional standards of 52 weeks”, which is not reassuring, to say the least.
In North West London we have the worst GP to patient ratios in England, despite years of the Shaping Healthier Future Plan which was supposed to replace A&E and hospital beds with primary care and GPs. Our infrastructure is crumbling with maintenance bills standing at around £729 million – most recently the children’s wards at Hillingdon Hospital had to close for safety reasons and no money for a new hospital until at least 2030, if at all.
Some interesting articles on the possible effects of the latest cuts:
Concerns waiting times for London cancer patients
Worrying amount of time you have to wait at Northwick Park
Ealing Hospital under the knife as NWL cuts start to bite:
Every service at Ealing Hospital and elsewhere in LNWH Trust is under scrutiny as desperate London North West bosses seek to bring down their rising ‘deficit’. Some very worrying options for cuts are being considered including putting theatre staff on call at night at Ealing, which could place patients at risk in an emergency. This could be the thin edge of the wedge, with the next step being to end emergency surgery at night totally! A&Es need back up surgery to be available urgently, so if these cuts are pushed through we will be campaigning hard against them!
Latest news on Privatised Ealing GP Referral ‘Facilitation’ System:
As some of you will know, a private company called ‘Optum’, a subsidiary of US United Healthcare, has been checking and processing Ealing GP referrals to hospitals. They were contracted by Ealing’s health bosses, Ealing CCG, to run a so-called ‘Referral Facilitation Service’ in 2015 and have done very nicely out of it, thank you, having been paid just over £4.1 million pounds of public money. The contract will be terminated this month (no tears from us) and GPs will once again be able to make referrals directly.
Optum were supposed to save around half a million pounds by stopping referrals but over the period of the contract from 2015 – 2019 the vast majority of GP referrals went to their intended home for hospital treatment. Last year it was 95%.
Once we heard Optum was being terminated we did another Freedom of Information Request. We asked Ealing CCG for details of the final cost, the actual savings and if they were doing a balance sheet so they could learn for the future. We didn’t get an answer on the amount of savings, despite asking twice, so we can only assume there wasn’t any, they had no plans to do a balance sheet and they spent £4.1 million with clearly very little to show for it!
So just like the costly Shaping a Healthier Future no-one is to blame and no lessons learnt. What a Scandal!
Under The Knife film night a big success:
120 people attended our film showing last month and enthusiastically applauded Producer Pam Kleinot, who used her own money to fund the film. Pam, an ex NHS worker and journalist, felt she could not stand by and watch the crisis in the NHS unfolding without doing something about it. There is no doubt that this film is invaluable to us as campaigners and should be shown widely. Hopefully the very generous collection of £420 will help fund more showings. A big thanks to Pam and all the Under the Knife team and everyone who came to see the film.
Come and help us organise our Vote NHS campaign – Tuesday 19th November;
Our next monthly meeting will mainly be discussing the election and organising our campaigning. We will also have updates on what’s happening to our local and national NHS.
We would love to see more people get involved and new ideas, so please think about joining us, you will be very welcome on the 19th November at –
7.30pm, Northfields Community Centre, 71a Northcroft Road, Ealing W13 9SS – tea and coffee also provided.