Category Archives: NHS cuts

Save our children’s ward

A sick attack on sick children

Fresh from making the decision to close down the A&E and maternity departments at St Helier’s Hospital, South West London NHS now has children’s
services in their sights. Their ironically-named, sham consultative body,
Better Services Better Value, has recommended the closure of three out of four
children’s in-patients wards in SW London – apparently to enhance patient care.

BSBV’s “Children’s Clinical Working Group” report claims that Kingston, Sutton
and Croydon should all lose their children’s in-patients wards so that services
can be centralised at Tooting Hospital. But what really underlies their plans
is the fact that SW London NHS needs to make a budget cut of 24% – yes, 24% –
by 2016/17.

Cameron promised to ringfence the NHS – but the local health budget is to be cut by 24% by 2016/17

The closures mean the loss of 56 beds across our local hospitals. It means
longer waiting lists for children who need overnight stays. It means children
with chronic illnesses becoming in-patients far away from home. It means
massive pressure on the remaining services. Ultimately, it means that the
government and the local NHS bosses will have blood on their hands.

Lies, damn lies and NHS pledges

Before the election, Tories and Liberals lined up to pledge that the NHS, and
particularly Kingston Hospital, was safe with them. Both Cameron and Clegg made visits to the Hospital. Now local Liberal MP, Ed Davey, is claiming that he has helped to save maternity and A&E at Kingston Hospital – when really all he
has done is mobilise political pressure to have the departments closed at St.
Helier, which will, in turn, put massive pressure on those services at

Eric Pickles and local Tories at the 2010 election

The Tories and the Liberals have consistently lied over the NHS. At no point
did Cameron or Clegg say that they were committed to the privatisation of the
NHS before the election. But as it stands, from the time that Kingston Hospital
becomes a foundation hospital, it will not only be required to put out all its services to tender for private health companies, but it’ll also be able to cover any of its budgetary problem by taking on up to 49% of its patients as private ones.

The proposed closure of Kingston Hospital’s children’s ward is the most
shocking example of the hypocrisy of the two parties. Eric Pickles and local
Tories stood behind a banner reading “Kingston Hospital – safe with us” at the
last election. Now they’re closing a children’s ward. Meanwhile, Ed Davey is
trying desperately to look as though he is defending the ward – even though he’s
a minister in the government which is cutting it.

The Tories claims that the people of Kingston will have the last say on the
plans when Better Services Better Value launch their public consultation on
Monday 17th September. This is another lie. BSBV has already made its decision – its consultation is a sham. BSBV is not an independent body, nor a “people’s panel” of health workers. It’s a body responsible to the Ministry of Health, and the panel-members are largely NHS bosses. One is even a Liberal Democrat councillor.

Stop all cuts and closures

NHS workers are key to the fight against closures

We can’t rely on politicians with a track-record of lying to the public to protect us from the closure of NHS services. The only way to save our children’s services is to mobilise the community and local health workers against the cuts.

The government’s assault on healthcare is turning the NHS into a political
powder keg. This September, there will be huge local demonstrations against NHS cuts in West and South London, and events at St Helier Hospital against the closure of wards there.

We need to start linking together activists, trade unionists, health workers and local people to challenge the cuts and closures at Kingston Hospital. A local campaign can politically mobilise people, and expose the hypocrisy of the Tories and the Lib-Dems.

Sign the petition! Save our children’s ward!


Petition launched to save Kingston Hospital ward

From Kingston Guardian.

A petition has been launched in a bid to stop a hospital ward being axed.

Derwent ward, which looks after rheumatology, haematology and general medicine patients, is under consultation to be closed from level six in the Esher Wing of Kingston Hospital by the end of the month.

The closure, which comes as the hospital looks to make £2.6m in savings, would mean 20 general medicine beds out of 500 will go.

The rheumatology service would be relocated elsewhere in the hospital.

The petition, which has 28 signatures so far, calls on the hospital not to close the ward, which helped former patient Richard Cranefield.

It also calls on Surbiton and Kingston MP Ed Davey, who campaigned against cuts to accident and emergency and maternity in the past, and Kingston Council to condemn the job cuts and ward closure at the hospital and across the NHS.

A spokesman for Kingston Hospital NHS Trust could not confirm if there would be any redundancies but said a consultation was in progress.

He said: “In the past 12 months, Kingston Hospital has successfully reduced the average hospital stay for medical patients from 7.2 days to 6 days.

“As a result, our patients are now spending less time in hospital and so we need fewer beds. Consequently, we are in a process of consultation to close 20 beds.

“Our services to patients will not be affected by the proposed changes; in fact, the decision has been made in order to improve efficiencies.”

A Unison spokesman said the threat of job losses and the reduction in beds were a major concern.

To view the petition visit


Kingston Hospital cuts frontline staff and closes ward

Kingston Hospital will be hit with renewed attacks on its services and a cut to its primary care and prescribing costs of £1.6 million.

One in ten medical beds in the hospital will be lost, while 32 ward-based Health Care Assistant posts will be cut.

The total new “savings” being imposed on the hospital are £2.6 million and means that one in Health Assistants will be made redundant, while Derwent Ward in Esher Wing is closed. Derwent Ward provides rheumatology, haematology and general medicine services. The proposals are set out in a document published by Kingston Hospital and euhemeristically named “Consultation paper for the reconfiguration of the medical wards including staffing and location”.

MP for Kingston and Surbiton, Ed Davey, campaigned during the election on his supposed record of fighting against closures at Kingston Hospital, while David Cameron promised to “cut the deficit, not the NHS”. But all those promises have been ripped up over the past two years as Kingston Hospital has been hit with more and more cuts to nursing and medical staff.

The cutbacks are tied to the privatisation and marketisation of the NHS which the ConDem government are rolling out across the country. The Health and Social Welfare Bill, currently being put through parliament, will mean that the private sector will be much more involved in commissioning and delivering health care services through a system of so-called “GP commissioning”.

Kingston Council boasts of its record of introducing GP commissioning bodies well before the time required by law, and councillors like Derek Osbourne, the Leader of Kingston Council, publically support the government’s notorious bill.

The TUC’s All Together for the NHS campaign has called a rally in London on March 7th against cuts and privatisation. You can see more information here.

Local anti-cuts activists have launched an online petition to save Derwent Ward. You can sign it here.

Cancer patient’s sadness over closure of Kingston ward which kept him alive

From Kingston Guardian.

A cancer patient treated at a vital hospital ward set to close has spoken out about the move which could see jobs go.

Derwent ward, which looks after rheumatology, haematology and general medicine patients, is due to be closed from level six in the Esher Wing at Kingston by the end of February.

The closure means 20 beds out of 500 will go in a bid to make £2.6m in savings.

Read more.

Mental health matters – Defend Rose Lodge

By Valerie Prechner

Much controversy has been caused in recent months by the Coalition’s plans to dismantle and privatise huge portions of the National Health Service. Health professionals and the public have expressed outrage that this beloved service is facing its greatest threat ever from the Health and Social Welfare Bill. And yet, there is an area of the NHS which have been consistently ignored and underfunded by successive governments, and is now silently being cut back even further: our mental health services.

The reason why these particular cuts have not caused the same outcry as other changed to the health system is that, even now in the 21st Century, mental health problems carry a stigma which is difficult to break down. In many cases, people with mental health issues feel too vulnerable to speak out, and unless we’re blessed with celebrity status, our voices our seldom heard. And yet, despite all this, mental illnesses are both prevalent and serious: 1 in 4 people suffer from one at some point in their life, and they can be fatal if not properly treated. Some may recover relatively quickly, but others may need long-term and continuing care: this is the case for the residents of Rose Lodge in New Malden.

Rose Lodge is an NHS-funded community house with room for fourteen residents and trains thirteen specially trained staff. This high level of staffing is much needed, as many residents have serious mental health issues which have either been caused by or have led to drug and alcohol use. Many have suffered a complete collapse of their lives. They have lost employment, family connections, as well as the roofs over their heads. Rose Lodge provides a unique service, operating as a transitional space between the hospital and the outside world, providing a degree of independence not afforded in an acute mental health ward, and helping residents to recover at their own pace.

Yet for all of its vital work, Rose Lodge is about to close. Some residents have already been moved onto private sector providers who lack the expertise of those who previously cared for them, or to the woefully underfunded voluntary sector. Both staff and residents are facing an uncertain future: they’re planning one last Christmas together before the axe falls and funding is withdrawn altogether.

Rose Lodge is representative of many other workplaces in Kingston where public servants dealing with vulnerable people are being made unemployed. Community mental health teams have lost their deputy managers. Surbiton and Chessington Community Mental Health Teams have been forced to merge. Surbiton CMHT’s clients have lost the quiet, initimate space it used to occupy at South Place.

All this is happening despite the government’s pledge that there “can be no health without mental health”.

These attacks on the most vulnerable in society must be challenged. We must fight to keep unique services like Rose Lodge open. The issue of mental illness may not attract as much attention as heart disease or cancer, but to everyone in the “one in four” and to residents of Rose Lodge, the existence of good, professional support can mean the difference between life and death.

Kingston amongst worst councils for cuts impacting disabled people

According to “The Disability Cuts Map” published by Demos, Kingston upon Thames ranks 135 out of 152 councils in England for severity of cuts to disability benefits and services. Based on gradings of all local authorities, Kingston’s cuts level is marked as a “Very High Cut” with a Coping Level of “Bad”. In London, Kingston is placed among the worst 7 out of 33 local boroughs. The Demos report summarises the budget cuts as follows:

1. -17.03 per cent budget change to disabled children and families’ care
and support
2. -2.61 per cent budget change to adult care and support
3. -14.37 per cent budget change to older people’s care and support

See more.

Kingston hospital hit with more cuts

From Kingston Guardian

Kingston Hospital could be hit with more swinging cuts as the NHS faces another £6.5m reduction in spending across its services.

The savings outlined for 2012-13 are on top of this year’s £6m target and form part of a national Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) efficiency programme.

Draft plans show £3.3m of the potential identified savings will come from acute care at hospitals.

Another £650,000 will come from mental health, including the reprovision of rehabilitation units from Rose Lodge in New Malden and Fuschia ward in Tolworth Hospital.

Read more.