Save Lewisham Hospital campaign supports Save Calderdale and Huddersfield A&E

Yesterday I posted Save Lewisham Hospital’s campaigning tips on the Save Calderdale Royal Infirmary Facebook group, giving rise to a comment from a Huddersfield Keep our NHS Public campaigner:

“This is very useful and a real practical framework for us to follow”

So here’s a bit more info.

Offer of advice for campaign to Save Calderdale and Huddersfield Hospitals

Save Lewisham Hospital campaign are offering advice to help our campaign. They have successfully fought to keep their hospital open, twice winning court battles against attempts by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to close their A&E, maternity and several other services, and privatise 60% of the hospital. So they are good allies.

Through social media, other Save Our Hospitals/Save Our NHS campaigns have also been in touch with Upper Calder Valley Plain Speaker.  They have valuable, practical info and experience that they want to share, to help people here to successfully campaign to keep both Calderdale and Huddersfield Hospitals open and fight moves to privatise the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS.

Privatisation of NHS services is happening in other parts of England that are a bit further down the road in terms of implementing the kind of programme of cuts, closures and so-called NHS and social care “transformation”, that we are facing in Calderdale and Huddersfield.

So how about as many people and organisations as possible, across both Calderdale and Greater Huddersfield, having a think about whether together we can really lift off a campaign that’s going to successfully put a stop to the Right Care Right Time Right Place (RCRTRP) programme, that includes the proposal to close Calderdale A&E? And make good use of SLH’s offer of support?

What we are up against

The RCRTRP proposals are not just about  closing Calderdale A&E, reducing the hospital’s services to planned care only and transferring the A&E and all acute services to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

Across both sites, hospital beds would be reduced by 100. (And of the remaining beds, 50 are earmarked for patients from South Yorkshire Trust, which has just decided to close Dewsbury A&E and shake up all their hospitals. So, a bigger population and fewer beds. Not even the same population and fewer beds.)

A new, low-cost system of integrated health and social care in the community – explicitly copying the American Kaiser Permanente company’s private health insurance/private health care system – would be introduced that’s supposed to keep patients out of hospital, so justifying the cuts to hospital services.

And what of the 75% of Calderdale Royal Hospital’s beds that would be left vacant after the changes had been carried out? Is privatising 75% of CRH an unspoken part of the plan?

The fact that CRH is a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) hospital needn’t stop this happening, it seems. Before Kirklees Primary Care Trust disbanded, it handed over its PFI community health centres to the social enterprise healthcare company Locala. NHS Property Services Ltd took over ownership of the community health centres and I think has some kind of tenancy agreement with Locala.

The Strategic Outline Case for the RCRTRP Programme says the plan is to reduce non-elective hospital care (ie when a patient is admitted as an emergency, which includes maternity admissions) and increase elective hospital care (ie treatments that are still  needed but are not life-threatening, for example hip replacements, cataracts etc.)

Anecdotal evidence from talking to people in Calderdale who have needed elective treatment is that this seems to be subject to some rationing. It would be interesting to find out if this is related to Calderdale CCG reports of an overtrade at the private Spire Elland hospital (ie they are doing more work than they are contracted to), which is reducing the amount of work that CHFT hospitals do.

Is this going to lead to increased private hospital care as part of the RCRTRP proposals?

A similar NHS “transformation programme” collapsed down south after determined public opposition and CCG doubts
The Calderdale & Huddersfield RCRTRP programme seems quite like the  Better Service Better Value (BSBV) programme, which aimed to close St Heliers Hospital in Croydon.

BSBV has collapsed after determined campaigning by Keep Our St Helier Hospital (KOSHH), and following a Clinical Commissioning Group’s decision to pull out of the programme. But KOSHH says the hospital is still not safe since the Clinical Commissioning Groups are regrouping to come back with new proposals.

The Save Lewisham Hospital website is here
and it’s full of useful and inspiring info about their successful campaign.

SLH Campaigning tips are downloadable here

Updated 30 March, on the basis of a reader’s comment, to correct the definition of non-elective and elective care

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