Defend our NHS team
A series of new initiatives and events have been announced by the campaigners who successfully fought plans to downgrade Chelmsford’s Broomfield Hospital A&E.
The ‘Defend our NHS’ team aim to fight plans for a further £400m of health cuts in mid and south Essex, that could lead to patients being treated at Basildon instead of Broomfield.
A new online petition ‘Stop the Mid/South Essex cuts to NHS emergency care’ via the 38 Degrees website has been signed by more than 2,000 people.
Campaigners are organising a demonstration in Chelmsford High Street in February, and are working with fellow campaigners in Southend and Basildon to encourage members of the public to respond to the recently launched consultation into the plans.
The news comes as the NHS is enduring another winter crisis which has resulted in thousands of routine operations being cancelled in order to avoid an NHS “crisis”.
The petition is aimed at all MPs whose constituents have an interest in the future of Broomfield Hospital; Chelmsford MP Vicky Ford, Witham MP Priti Patel, Braintree MP James Cleverly, Maldon MP John Whittingdale, and Saffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch. The petition is also addressed to health secretary Jeremy Hunt.
The ‘No to £400 million local health cuts – save our NHS’ demonstration and rally will take place from midday on Saturday, February 17 in Chelmsford High Street, by Waterstones/Lloyds.
There will be speakers from local and national campaigns and leafleting to raise awareness of the consultation into the plans.
Local health bosses at the Sustainability & Transformation Partnership (STP) are charged with delivering the £400m in cuts in mid and south Essex, and launched a public consultation into the plans last month (http://www.nhsmidandsouthessex.co.uk/).
The consultation closes in March. Although under the plans blue light emergencies will still go to Broomfield first to be stabilised, a victory won by campaigners in the summer, the plans will see Basildon become the main specialist centre for emergency care in mid and south Essex, with many patients being transferred for extra care.
“We are currently working with other campaigners in the county, including health professionals, on a response to the huge consultation document”, said Defend Our NHS Chelmsford spokesperson Andy Abbott. “We hope members of the public have as much information as possible when they respond to the plans.
“Our NHS is not failing. But it is being failed by the government”, continued Mr Abbott. “We need to act now to save our NHS for future generations, because it is already very clear what seven years of cuts have done to our NHS. Any further cuts will see our NHS collapse.”
Dr Caroline Howard, lead consultant at Southend A&E, told the Southend Echo last year, plans to transfer patients who suffer with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and on breathing machines to Basildon as “the most dangerous thing I have heard about in my life”.
The petition can be found at, https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-ps400-million-local-stp-nhs-cuts