NHS Winter Crisis – Join our Protest and read the latest news

On Tuesday 4th February MPs passed a bill to enshrine in law Boris Johnson’s election promise of £34 billion (£20.5 billion after inflation) for the NHS by 2023/4. Of course, we welcome any “increase” in spending on the NHS, but will it address the staffing, infrastructure and funding problems in the NHS? It seems not, even less so since this is the maximum that can be spent over the next 5 years.
Writing in the ‘Times’ on Tuesday, Jennifer Dixon, CEO of the Health Foundation, said the promised funding doesn’t include investment for buildings and equipment, nor education and training budgets that would help recruitment and retention of staff, nor provide any relief for public health and social care budgets. From what we hear it won’t be of much help to struggling NHS Trusts either.
The National Day of Action on the Winter Crisis next Saturday should help to focus the public and media on the real state of the NHS.
Please read on –
**Join the action in Ealing on Saturday 15th February**
ESON will be doing its bit to support the action starting with a bit of fun outside Ealing CCG HQ (NHS bosses) at Perceval House in Ealing Broadway at 11.00am with banners and a bit of theatre about the Winter Crisis and A&E waiting times, involving a bed, skeleton and more. The cartoon below gives you a good idea of what we are planning.
Around 11.30 we will be making our way to Marks & Spencer’s, where we will have a Stall, and a ‘guest’ from our theatre – all finishing at 1.00pm.
It would be great if you could join us!
You can read more about what is happening nationally here
Local Hospital Trust financial troubles worsen!
There wasn’t much good news at last month’s London North West University Healthcare Trust (LNWH) Board meeting. LNWH, who manage Ealing, Northwick Park & Central Middlesex Hospitals, are now forecasting a £91.7 million deficit, exceeding their ‘planned deficit’ by £10 million. Even to keep to this whopping amount they will have to borrow £10 million (from the Government – with interest), adding to the loans they already struggle to pay back and have to somehow keep cutting costs!
A major contributor to their ‘overspend’, is that local NHS bosses – Brent, Ealing & Harrow CCGs, who commission the Trust to provide hospital and other services, won’t meet the full cost of any treatment not already agreed in their contract with the Trust – What a crazy way to fund the NHS!
Interestingly, the Trust claim that GP’s have not reduced referrals despite being under the cosh to do so from NWL NHS bosses, in one of their latest savings plans. Again, this means the Trust don’t get fully paid for the cost of treatment!
Along with other Trusts around the country, there aren’t enough beds to cope with demand leading to long waits on trolleys and delays in ambulance handovers. The norm is now 95-100% bed occupancy!
Staff Car park charge rises: Due to a big backlash from staff, planned car park charge increases have been suspended so that proper consultation and discussion can take place.
There is still no plan for Ealing Hospital:
Unfortunately, another month has passed and still no plan for Ealing Hospital. There are some great resources and staff skills not being used to their best. With the main focus on making cuts its easy to lose the bigger picture is being lost.
Still under scrutiny is Theatre use at night. The Trust Medical Director claimed at the Board Meeting that hardly anyone uses the theatre at EH after 10.00pm, which even if true, still needs to be available when emergency surgery is needed. We won’t let the Trust close it at night without a big fuss!
The new Chair, Sir Amyas Morse is willing to meet with some of us, so we will be pressing the case for proper funding of Ealing Hospital.
ESON Campaign Meeting – Tuesday 18th February
As always, we have lots to discuss and plan including: updates on Ealing Hospital, working with local MPs, continuing the discussion on our campaign priorities, upcoming events, Stalls and more. Tea & Coffee will be provided.
Our meetings are very friendly and informative and we welcome new people and new ideas.
We hope you can join us.
7.30pm in Northfields Community Centre.
Welcome support from James Murray MP
Some of us from Ealing Save Our NHS were invited to meet newly elected Ealing North MP James Murray to discuss how he can help the Campaign. We had a very useful meeting and were heartened to hear that James intends to make the NHS one of his 3 main priorities. Top of his list is likely to be Ealing Hospital and hopefully the lack of any accountability for the failed SaHF project and its huge cost. He also hopes to come to some of our meetings, when parliamentary business allows and is very happy to ask questions on our behalf. Thanks James.
Governments new Immigration Policy could cut number of carers
The Migrant Advisory Committee has published its report on the Governments new immigration points-based system. Currently many migrants from outside the EU have to satisfy a salary threshold. The Migrant Advisory Committee has recommended a salary threshold of £25,600 for skilled migrants, which means that the current tier-2 visa route into the UK would be extended to include medium-skilled occupations. This is likely to mean most potential NHS staff can come to the UK.
However, the report also warns that the tier 2 visa route will not solve the problems of recruiting social care workers. This has been echoed by others working in the Social Care sector worried that Government plans to reduce the number of unskilled workers entering the UK will place immense pressure on the social care sector and its ability to meet demand.
These statistics give some idea of the importance of recruitment from overseas for social care:-
  • 1 in 5 of the adult social care workforce (18.4%) in England was born outside of the United Kingdom, which includes 150,000 working in residential care homes and 81,000 working in adult domiciliary care;
  • Non-EU migrants account for the greatest proportion of migrants working in adult social care – approximately 1 in every 7 care workers (191,000 people)
  • More than 90% of care workers earn below the current £30,000 salary threshold so a reduction to 25,600 would still leave a majority unable to meet the threshold.
Victory – Striking Imperial ancillary Staff win end to outsourcing!
Strike action by NHS cleaners, caterers and porters has won a huge victory against out-sourcing at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London. Following a 3-month campaign of industrial action organised by members of the United Voices of the World trade union (UVW), the Trust agreed to bring 1000 outsourced workers in-house, making them direct employees and putting an end to over 3 decades in which these jobs have been out-sourced to agency firms like Sodexo and ISS. Nice one!
NHS Under-funding can’t be sorted by a bit extra or writing off some debts:
Around the country Acute Trusts like London North West, who manage Ealing Hospital, are racking up huge loans to cover their ever-growing deficits. The Government is now looking at writing off some of the historic debts.
In a recent article in campaigning health journal – ‘the Lowdown’, John Lister writes
By the end of 2018-19, the total of outstanding loans was already in excess of £14bn.
Now, according to a Health Service Journal exclusive, NHS chiefs have been discussing a plan that would effectively write off up to £10 billion of these accumulated loans taken out by struggling trusts since 2014.
Unfortunately while this will help some Trusts the focus on historic debts diverts attention from the pressing and growing problem of backlog maintenance bills, totalling over £6.6 billion and rising at 10% per year, half of it for urgent repairs or replacement of clapped out equipment, for which many Trusts are set to get no assistance under current government plans.
You can read the full article here –
Health Campaigns Together – Winter Issue:
A great round up of what’s happening to our NHS around the country plus analysis of the Government’s policies and the crisis in the NHS – well worth a read.