Category Archives: Privatisation

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.

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Kingston cutbacks will hurt vulnerable and women hardest

By Francesca Manning, Kingston Anti-Cuts Group.

Kingston Council has advertised its new budget on the basis that it freezes council tax, but behind this popular measure is a story of cuts targeted at the most vulnerable sections of local society.

The Council has identified the increasing amount of disabled and special educational needs people living to the same age as others as a financial “problem”, failing to see that this is a sign of the success of the social welfare system that it is now trying to depreciate and dismantle.

Kingston’s LibDem Council will be seeking to make “efficiencies” of £8.6 million in 2012/3 and the majority of the cuts will fall on adult social care and children’s services. Adults with learning difficulties will be forced out of residential care and back into the home, with councillors looking to “augment the provision already provided by the community” rather than actually providing comprehensive care packages. Services designed to provide care to children with special educational needs, in order to give their parents respite from their heavy duties, will be scaled back. Mental health provision will be cut by £832,000 by 2015/16.

And it’s not only service users that will be hit. In the same way that mental health services are now being amalgamated (so there are now only half as many Mental Health Teams in the borough) or turned over to social enterprises, the Council believes that they “will continue to make savings from staffing” of public services. There will be redundancies, and many jobs will be passed over into the voluntary or private sectors, opening the way for assaults on pay, pensions and conditions.

For women in the borough, the budget is a two-pronged attack. Women are often the primary caregivers for both adults and children with disabilities and special needs, meaning that cuts to those services hit them the hardest – indeed, women’s caring responsibilities are one of the main reasons for the gender pay gap. Also, the majority of the people that work in jobs providing services for the most vulnerable are women themselves, meaning that this budget puts their jobs and pay at risk.

And to add insult to injury, the Council has also committed itself to making savings of £500,000 by 2015/6 to its “Supporting People” budget, one of the roles of which is to provide help, support and shelter to women who suffer domestic abuse.

Kingston’s LibDem and Tory councillors are targeting the most disadvantaged people in the borough, and pushing women out of work or into worse conditions, while forcing them to accept more and more caring responsibilities. Those who want to protect women and the vulnerable need to look past the headline figure about council tax and join the demonstration on budget day.

Stop all the cuts! Fight for every job!
6pm 29th February at Kingston Guildhall.

NHS workers protest mental health cuts

Nurses, therapy and support staff will protest today over cuts at a board meeting of Kingston’s mental health trust.

Unison members say patient safety is being impacted by Government-driven cuts at South West London and St George’s Mental Health Trust, including ward closures at Tolworth Hospital and the privatisation of drug and rehabilitation services in Kingston.

Michael Walker, of Unison, said: “People are going to have to travel further for care.”

Read more.