Health service, for how much longer?

Dear Sir (Hull Daily Mail),
I couldn’t really bring myself to say that ‘Labour hijacked NHS rally’ (25th Sep). It’s only right that Labour, who founded the NHS, lead a campaign to try and save it from certain ravages now. Hull members, to their credit, are leading this fight. They are supported in this by CLPs too. Many trade unionists and other organisations are supportive, including the Green Party, locally and nationally.
Lord Prescott did indeed commence the speeches. His starting point, urging the crowd to embrace their ‘pleb’ status, although topical, is not one I would have chosen were I a Lord Baron. However, although not standing for Commissioner of Health, he proceeded to give a robust defence of the health service.
And that’s the point! – It’s a health ‘service’ not a health company. It serves us the people. It’s always there for us – just as we’ve always paid into it. Until now! If we go the way of the American system, and many think we are, with chunks of the NHS sold to private companies, and then needing a private insurance system for proper care, it will cost lives. A study on US healthcare concluded the loss of life just through having a private insurance system was between 50,000 and 100,000 lives, a year.
These are serious changes. Under the circumstances, I would have no problem if all 22,000 people in Hull who voted Labour last time had turned out! We would have needed a bigger sound system.
Martin Deane
Hull and East Riding Green Party

Plans to close 50 ambulance stations in Yorkshire

If there are still people who don’t get politics, here’s the latest bombshell. This includes plans to close 50 ambulance stations in Yorkshire. The point being: you have to fight for the sort of society you want.

Defend the NHS! Stop Hull area local cuts.

Ever known anyone who’s been ill?? There’s a rally for the NHS in Hull today: 12 noon, BBC Building, Queen’s Gardens. Major changes are on the way – and none of them to your advantage!

And a lovely bright morning for the rally too! Patient-campaigners Dermot Rathbone and Danny Marten will be there protesting the austerity assault. The first major casualty is cardiology at Castle Hill with one ward closed already (Ward 6). Then there’s neurology at Hull Royal with another ward to go after a merger of a stroke ward and a neurology ward.

Hull unions Unison, PCS and UCU will be there, and probably at least one MP. Let them know how you feel!

Our city’s thanks should go to Dermot Rathbone and Danny Marten for taking a lead on this. But it’s not out of concern that Dermot does this – but out of vital need! Interventions by Hull Royal’s neurology team saved his life. Their determination to get to the root of his rare neurological condition have brought him the specialist help he needs.

Heart specialists in the city have condemned the closure of Ward Six, cardiology, at Castle Hill Hospital, insisting the move will seriously harm patient care.

Meanwhile, unprecedented in this area,  17 neurologists have already sent a letter to health officials voicing “deep concern” over the cuts following the merger of a neurology ward with a stroke ward at Hull Royal Infirmary.

Local media tell us that 300 beds are to be axed to save money. Prof. John Cleland (Head of Cardiac Services) said this about the butchery of heart care, ““The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) thinks that’s dangerous and I would endorse that.”

Local neurologists say: “Due the closure of the neurology ward at Hull Royal, there are no specialist neurology beds in the trust. We have voiced our concerns on numerous occasions at managerial meetings and our opinions and concerns have been disregarded and a dictatorial approach has been taken, with new changes to our service implemented against our advice.”

The purpose of today’s rally will be to highlight to the public how much of a disaster the Trust’s actions will be to our community, and to petition the public to pile pressure on those who can reverse the decision.

Speakers today should include clinicians, unionists and politicians, but the people who will really make a difference are local people making their voices heard and taking action.

A friend wrote to me about her brother who recently had surgery on the cardiac ward: “the ward he had his surgery on yesterday is getting closed on Friday! It is appalling!”

The difference that local provision makes for critical services like cardiac care is the difference between life and death.

We hope people in the area realise what they’re losing with these closures!

Get involved:

Save Our Local NHS

The rally was lead item on BBC Look North

NHS Rally in the Hull Daily Mail

Green Party on NHS, Disability and poverty.

We’re for a NHS publicly owned and funded, always have been. Death to PFI!
We’re also incensed at the cuts to DLA.
And child poverty and the continuing gap between rich and poor.
There aren’t enough hours in the day to resist this lot!
Join us. Support us.  And give the other parties something to think about!

A Flavour of the Times

The Green Party passed the following Emergency Motions at Sheffield Conference, Sept 2011. (These are in addition to agenda motions).

Legal Aid and Justice for All

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill is at the Committee Stages of the Commons. If passed, it will remove access to advice for 650,000 people a year in employment law, welfare benefits, housing, debt, immigration, etc. In light of this, Conference calls on the Green Party Campaigns Committee to support the “Justice for All” campaign which campaigns for everyone, no matter what their financial means to be treated fairly under the law and for free legal advice.

Robin Hood Tax

Conference welcomes the endorsement of a Robin Hood Tax by Chancellor Merkel and President Sarkozy and calls on the UK Government to follow the lead of France and Germany in regulating speculation on international financial markets and generating the revenue needed to fund public investment. Conference calls on Green Party Parliamentarians to raise this with the UK Government in advance of the G20 meeting in November at Cannes.

Anti – ATOS Motion

Conference expresses deep concern at the use of ATOS to assess incapacity benefit receivers for their ability to return to work. As evidence continues to mount that the work capability assessments are being used politically to remove Employment and Support Allowance payments, with 12 doctors referred to the General Medical Council in August, Conference calls on the party leadership to demand that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions removes ATOS as its assessor of benefit claimants.

Nuclear Waste Disposal

We call on policy committee to develop a policy on legacy high and intermediate level radioactive waste in time for Spring Conference 2012. The policy to be based on best environmental practice, not political expediency. We also call on Conference to support Allerdale and Copeland Green Party and other local groups, including West Cumbria Friends of the Earth, Radiation Free Lakeland, and CORE in their work to oppose the deep geological disposal plans and to call for alternative disposal methods to be revisited. In particular lobbying local authorities not to proceed to the next stage of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) process (January 2012), at which stage the right of withdrawal would be severely compromised.

The NHS Listening Exercise

The Green Party reaffirms its commitment to a fully publicly funded NHS and its opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill, deplores the fact that the Conservative / Liberal Democrat government ‘listening exercise’ has (unsurprisingly) proved to be a sham, and demands that the Government abandon forthwith in its entirety this Bill which, if passed, will lead to the marketisation and privatisation of the NHS, having no lesser ultimate consequence than the complete destruction of our National Health Service. Conference calls on GPEx to make active campaigning against this Bill a priority.

The National Planning Policy Framework

Conference condemns the Coaltion Government’s proposed National Planning Policy Framework. The Green Party believes a function of the planning system is to protect people and the environment not to generate unsustainable economic growth. The abolition of targets for building on brownfield land, the lack of any understanding of sustainability coupled with a presumption in favour of development will make it a developers’ charter. Conference calls on elected Greens at all  levels of government to campaign vigorously against the NPPF and for the Green Party as a whole to campaign against these proposals to ensure we protect our communities, countryside and quality of life from unrestrained development.

Bombardier – Rail jobs

The Green Party condemns the Tory/Lib Dem coalition government decision to give the order for new rolling stock for Thameslink to Siemens. This failed to take into account the effect on the UK economy and jobs.

Derby-based Bombardier, the last remaining train builder in this country has announced the loss of 1400 jobs as a result of not winning the bid. The Bombardier factory in Derby is now under threat and so are thousands more jobs in the Derby area in other rail businesses that supply the factory.

We need more train carriages for our railways, both to replace those that are life-expired and to increase the size of the fleet in order to reduce overcrowding and carry more passengers.

Conference instructs GPEX to write to the Sec of State for Transport requesting him to reconsider the allocation of the Thameslink trains contract to Siemens and to ensure that British jobs in the industry are protected.

Emergency Motion on the English Riots [amended]

Conference is appalled at the outbreak of violence, looting, arson and murder that took place in English cities in August. The riots were a manifestation of anger that has deep roots and obvious triggers. The roots include inequality, loss of social cohesion, cuts in local public services, unemployment, increasing poverty, resentment against the police, consumerism and gang culture. The triggers were the death of Mark Duggan and the exceptionally inept handling of its aftermath.

To address these problems we advocate immediate action to reverse the cuts in public services, increase support for disadvantaged communities and provide a 100% earnings disregard for work of local benefit. In punishing rioters there should be more use of restorative justice and community payback orders. There must also be an independent inquiry into the death of Mark Duggan and its aftermath.

These measures, however, will not deal with the roots of the problem. We call for a public inquiry into the deeper causes of social breakdown which lie as much in the excesses of the powerful as in the conditions of the powerless. This inquiry should seek to create a consensus for remedial actions which need to be as radical as those that created the welfare state 60 years ago.

Conference calls upon our elected representatives to put forward these measures at every relevant opportunity.