There are two local NHS issues that really reflect the national picture - that the NHS is currently being mismanaged, underfunded and increasingly privatised.
These NHS news items show how important it is to keep campaigning and to keep speaking out - focusing on the NHS founding principles of a publically run, managed and accountable NHS.
NHS Pay dispute: what is happening?
NHS workers iin GMB, RCN and UNISON have voted overwhelmingly to reject the insulting pay award of 3%. (UNITE have extended their indicative ballot to the 3rd October. So, if you're a UNITE member, there is still time to vote).
This resounding 'NO' vote means that these unions will now be balloting staff for their views on industrial action. Sussex Defend the NHS supports these actions and the positive implications they also have for patient safety and recruitment of staff.
We have been able to support several unions 'days of action' and will be ready again. Check our social media if you'd like to join in.
Our local NHS: what is happening?
You may have seen in the press that local hospital doctors have written a very strong and damning letter to their Trust Chief Executive and Board. (The newly formed University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust). The NHS staff claim that some care is unsafe, staff are utterly burnout and that the management is uncaring and incompetent. They ask for some services to be provided elsewhere.
We believe that staff must be under intolerable pressure to have to whistleblow in this way. We also believe this completely reflects the national picture - the NHS is being pushed into this crisis, started many years ago but laid bare by the Covid 19 pandemic. Even before the pandemic, there was underfunding, there was privatisation, there was 100,000 staff vacancies, there was undermining of core values. All these issues are now much worse.
And this is not the only thing where national failings are played out in local services. (and where campaigning is beginning to make a difference). We have discussed Integrated Care Systems (ICS's), and the current Health Bill (the bill that is making enabling legislation for the ICS to be legal), several times.
Our ICS - the Sussex Health and Care partnership - have produced a document stating that at least 14 services are 'fragile and challenged'. The Health Service Journal (behind paywall) reports:
"The services on the list, put together by Sussex Health and Care Partnership, were: maternity; major trauma; cancer; paediatrics; stroke; diagnostics; musculoskeletal/orthopaedics; ear, nose and throat; cardiology; ophthalmology; dermatology; burns; sleep; and critical care for adults." It's not sounding great...but reflects the national picture and the growing opposition to both ICS's and the Health & Care Bill.
This is also an area where our collective campaigning is haveing an effect - you may have seen the very recent announcements that people (and perhaps companies) with private healthcare interests will not be able to sit on local Integrated Care Boards. Whilst showing that camapigning does work, these piecemeal amendments are not nearly enough - the whole ICS programme and the Health & Care Bill should be scrapped.
Sussex Defend the NHS