19th Nov, 2017

NHS campaigners head for London

Laura Kearns 18th Mar, 2017

NHS supporters from south Warwickshire took their objections to privatisation to the streets of London.

Members of South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public (SWKONP) joined thousands of others in the capital to protest against cuts and campaigning for better funding of the service.

The group has been busy pushing for further information on the Coventry and Warwickshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), which will shape the future of local healthcare.

SWKONP secretary Anna Pollert told The Observer: “A full coach of members of the campaign group joined thousands in calling for proper funding for the NHS and against cuts, closures and privatisation of the NHS.

“SWKONP continues to campaign against threatened, cuts, mergers and closures in the Coventry and Warwickshire STP.”

The group are backing calls by Warwickshire County Council and Warwick District Council to make the plans more transparent after complaints they have been ‘shrouded in secrecy’.

And regional chair of the British Medical Association Dr Stephen Millar has also voiced his concerns.

He said the £325million additional funding towards STPs – which was announced in the recent budget – was nowhere near the billions needed.

Dr Millar added: “Hospitals, GP surgeries and social care services in Coventry and Warwickshire and across the country face an uncertain future as years of under-funding and under-resourcing is presenting itself in overstretched services and staff are exposed to dangerous levels of stress.

“The additional funding towards overseeing plans is just a drop in the ocean compared with the £9.5bn that is actually needed to successfully implement the STP.

“The government should have used the budget as an opportunity to plug the £30bn gap in the NHS but has instead ensured that the situation will go from bad to worse as its complacency in addressing the actual amount of funding needed will ultimately affect patient care.”

When the STP plans were revealed Andrew Hardy, STP lead for Coventry and Warwickshire, said they would focus on keeping people healthy and aimed to reduce the need for hospital care.

He said: “The focus on health and social care has been on supporting people when they are in crisis or ill rather than supporting people to keep healthy and independent.

“Our STP is based on achieving clinically and financially sustainable services, reducing the amount of people needing hospital care, alongside system and service changes

“As senior leaders across Coventry and Warwickshire we have agreed the need for a single vision and we have developed bold transformational plans to deliver the sustainable, safe services we know are necessary and that will reduce the risk of ill health for our citizens.”

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