The attached invite is for the official consultation events for ‘Future Fit’, the programme that’s about slashing NHS spending, getting rid of one of the two A&Es and running down services at the hospital that loses the A&E.
We should do everything we can to get to these events, and to have our say. Note that you need to sign up in advance – consider doing this now!
The first set of meetings is about ‘shaping engagement’ and we should obviously be arguing for maximum public engagement – not just through very small established groups, but with well-advertised open public meetings across the area, maximum opportunities for the public to write in with their views, absolute transparency about feedback etc. This should happen before the ‘preferred option’ is finalised, otherwise we end up ‘consulting’ on something that is already a done deal.
The second set of meetings is about specific strands of healthcare – great if you have prior knowledge or interest of a particular area, but don’t be put off from going if you haven’t. We’re all health service users, and we all have a contribution to make.
Our ‘lines in the sand’ will be very obvious points of principle. We have no problem with changes in the NHS, but we oppose cuts, we oppose worse services, and we oppose worse access to services. Cuts are being made, and there is a public right to know this. Nothing – including the A&E – should be closed down until there is very clearly an alternative service of equal quality in place. Hospital beds and hospital services can’t be replaced by ‘virtual hospitals’ (community services) unless there is enough money put in to make sure that these replacements will work. Changes to local NHS care should be about the creation of an integrated health and social care system and based on a thorough going review of all existing services – and ‘Future Fit’ falls far short of this. We’re opposed to privatisation of services, because this leads to fragmentation, competition instead of collaboration, and health services that are run on the basis of profit not human need.
Please let Gill know if you are attending any of these events.