UNISON Members attend Save Our NHS Southend public meeting on Saturday 25 November

Group photograph of Save Our NHS Southend campaigners and UNISON Southend-on-Sea branch members at public meeting.
Save Our NHS Southend campaigners and UNISON Southend-on-Sea branch members at public meeting.

A number of UNISON members took part in the latest meeting organised by the Save Our NHS Southend #savesouthend campaign on Saturday 25th November. Around 100 people attended and heard from campaigners and from health service professionals about the latest plans for the NHS in Mid and South Essex.

Over £400 million of ‘savings’ are to be made across hospital services, with £30 million at Southend alone. A doctor and ambulance worker spoke in their personal capacities and made it clear what the concerns are about patient care as the ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnership’ intend to centralise various services at either Basildon, Southend or Broomfield and then transport seriously ill patients between the hospitals.

It is felt that proposed changes are financially driven and threaten to effectively end the provision of good general hospital services at Southend and elsewhere. Plans for transport and staffing lack credibility and potentially represent a huge risk to vulnerable patients. Families and social services would face the prospect of long journeys and of patients being discharged from hospitals which are miles from their home area.

The meeting also heard that there is a background of privatisation and cuts nationally which is shaping local budgets and proposals.

The local campaign is celebrating the management climbdown over downgrading Southend’s A&E department and also over their exposure of the Airbnb-style hospital beds scandal, which local activists exposed and which got national publicity. However, serious threats to NHS services are in the offing and Save Our NHS Southend promises to carry on mobilising to save our NHS services!

Next Save Our NHS Southend march and rally planned for Saturday 27th January 2018 – more details to follow soon.

Text: Tim Sneller | Photographs: Tim Fransen