The last few months have certainly been ones of highs and lows. Definitely one of the highs have been thousands of nurses and other NHS staff across the country protesting for a well-deserved 15% pay rise.
Unfortunately the lows must include the shambles that is our so-called ‘NHS Test & Trace’ system, which is so vital to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and protect us all.
We have been continuing to press for services to be fully restored at Ealing Hospital along with our 3 local MPs and recently were invited to discuss our concerns with the LNWH Trust who manage the Hospital.
We have a really good fun Quiz to test your knowledge about the test & trace system so do have a go
You can also read here about big changes to the way we access A&Es in London.
Please take the time to sign the important petitions on Track & Trace, protecting the NHS from Trade Deals and for an Independent Inquiry on the handling of Covid-19 – Thanks
What future for Ealing Hospital?
At the end of last month we met with London North West NHS Trust Chief Executive Chris Bown, Deputy Chief Executive Simon Crawford and Chief Medical Officer Martin Kuper to discuss our concerns about the future of the Hospital and be updated on their plans.
We were already aware that some services had been restored, such as daytime emergency general surgery, daytime Trauma & Orthopaedic surgery on Monday, Wednesday & Friday (for patients able to go home from A&E) diagnostics such as Endoscopy and Breast imaging and that the number of critical care beds had been increased.
Chris Bown (Chief Executive) spent some time telling us about the big capital investment (over £2 million) they were making in Ealing Hospital in the Intensive Care Unit (critical care beds), Endoscopy, new MRI scans and more. This is of course very welcome.
However, we were disappointed that there is still no overall Plan for the future of Ealing Hospital and no immediate prospect of night-time emergency surgery or a full Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery service being reinstated. So for now ambulances will continue to be diverted to Northwick
Park for Trauma & Orthopaedic cases, and night-time surgery will be run on an on-call system from Northwick Park.
It does rather seem that Ealing’s role is currently to provide an A&E service, help to cope with the pressures of Covid-19 and help the Trust reduce its considerable backlog in diagnostics and elective care (so they plan to use EH theatre capacity fully) which of course needs to be done.
The problem is that there is no assessment of our local health needs and health inequalities so difficulties in accessing services because of disability, poverty, language difficulty, age etc are simply not being addressed.
Instead, everything is now being decided at the regional level by a new body called the North West London Integrated Care System (ICS). It’s based in Marylebone and led by Lesley Watts from Chelsea & Westminster NHS Trust.
Democracy & accountability are non-existent for this ICS. Decisions are secret and there is no public scrutiny or open meetings. This is clearly an issue for campaigners across North West London.
We will continue to monitor the situation at Ealing Hospital and work with our local MPs to press for services to be returned, when it is safe to do so.
The Latest NHS Re-organisation is a Single CCG for North West London (NWL):
Currently there are 8 Borough based Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in North West London who each commission health services for the population in their Boroughs, such as Ealing. North West London NHS is keen to get rid of them by merging them in to a single CCG, which is national NHS policy.
Campaigners and Councils in NWL oppose the merger as it removes what little democracy and accountability currently exists at the local level and we fear that local health needs are less likely to be addressed if all decisions are taken at the regional level.
The latest version of the merger plans came out in August and like the previous version in 2019 has minimal local authority representation and public accountability.
Accessing A&E – a new booking system for London!
Some of you may have already heard that a new A&E booking system via NHS 111 is being introduced across London over the next 2 months. It’s called ‘Talk before you Walk’
In a recent letter, seen by ESON, Lesley Watts, CEO of the NWL Integrated Care System sets out the plans for London.
The new booking system is apparently to be used for ‘urgent but not serious or life-threatening medical conditions’, supposedly to reduce waiting times and crowds in A&E and help reduce Covid transmission.
They say they will be spending up to £6 million to recruit extra staff for London 111 including 166 doctors, nurses, paramedics & pharmacists to cope with extra demand and winter pressure. Currently only two thirds of callers to 111 get to speak to clinicians – so a third don’t! If they aren’t able to recruit these extra staff then the claim that people will get to speak to a clinician more quickly and have an urgent face to face assessment or treatment arranged just won’t happen with worrying consequences.
Patients can still go directly to A&E Departments but it’s not clear how this new booking system links in with 999 calls, which often seem to get redirected to 111 as well.
Chelsea & Westminster were in the first Wave on 30th September and will be followed by Ealing, Northwick Park and West Middlesex at the end of October, then Charing Cross, St Marys, and Hillingdon by the end of November.
Ealing Save Our NHS will be submitting a range of questions to clarify how this and asking for a meeting.
The “fiendishly difficult but quite informative” test and trace quiz
With confirmed Covid-19 cases on the up, an effective track and trace system is absolutely vital. However there is little information on the organisations running the system, especially the private companies who have been handed huge contract worth millions without any competition or accountability.
The excellent Caroline Molloy, Editor of ‘Open Democracy’ has produced this Quiz. It’s a great way to test your knowledge of the English Test & Trace system to see what you know and learn some things that you didn’t – ENJOY! Link here
Richard Horton speaks about ‘The Covid-19 Catastrophe’:
Richard Horton (editor of The Lancet) was the keynote speaker at the KONP AGM. Many people have spoken and written on the Government’s mishandling of Covid-19, but none that we have heard have done so with such passion and humanity as Horton. He was absolutely brilliant, uplifting and worrying all at the same time!
The good news is that you can listen to him via the link on the KONP website and read the review of his latest book.
PLEASE HELP AND SIGN THESE PETITIONS:
‘We Own it’ – Tell the House of Lords to protect the NHS from Trade Deals
We Own it are asking us to support their campaign to get the House of Lords to pass the NHS protection amendment to the Trade Bill, which has entered a critical stage. Last week, Lords and Baronesses debated the amendment at the Committee Stage, and it will move to the Report Stage in two weeks, where it will be voted on.
They say if we are going to win in the Lords, the next two weeks are absolutely critical.
In order to continue to make our voices heard in advance of that vote, We Own it are writing to the leaders of the four main groupings in the Lords asking them to whip their benches to vote for the NHS amendment and they want us to become a signatory to our letter. The more people that sign on to the letter, the more impactful it will be.
Please sign the letter and share –
Covid–19 Bereaved Families Call for an Independent Inquiry:
At the recent Keep Our NHS Public AGM, Trish Barnett from Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice spoke about their fight to get justice for their loved ones. Their campaign aims to seek accountability for the mistakes that have been made and to stop those same mistakes being made again, causing more families to needlessly suffer the overwhelming grief that have suffered. They want an immediate judge-led public inquiry to look at key elements of the government’s approach and inform it going forward.
You can support them by signing and circulating their petition and donating to their Crowd Fund appeal
PLEASE SIGN & SHARE –
Remove Test & Trace from the Private Sector:
As we all know the Government’s failing ‘NHS Test & Trace’ system is not run by the NHS at all, but by a range of private companies with little experience of public health such as Serco & accountancy firm Deloitte, recently awarded the fantastical ‘Operation Moonshot’ testing contract. Along with the health experts, we believe what is needed to ensure a successful testing system is a partnership between local authorities and public health, primary care and NHS labs.
Dr Louise Irvine (KONP & Save Lewisham Hospital) has started this petition, now at 165,000!
PLEASE SIGN & SHARE –
‘We Own It Petition’ – Scrap Serco Now
Despite its contract tracers failing to reach thousands of people and the availability of tests being abysmal Serco are set to get their contracts renewed.
Serco currently operate 30% of testing centres, they have sizeable contracts to run contact testing call centres (US firm SITEL being the other main provider). They also run a DWP helpline fo people shielding from the virus and help run the Governments business help line.
No wonder Serco’s CEO said he hopes it will “cement the position of the private sector” in our NHS”. No doubt at the same time as singing “We’re in the money”
Well done to We Own It and others for keeping up the call to get them out.
Please sign the petition and circulate.