Health reforms are branded ‘reckless’

STAFF at the Eastbourne District General Hospital say the ‘reckless’ health bill could cause services to collapse.

Plans set out in the Health and Social Care Bill in the House of Commons on Wednesday (January 20) will allow GP consortia to buy medical services from the private sector.

Clinicians at the DGH say Government proposals can only reduce quality of care for patients as both public and private sectors compete to offer best value for money.

Staff are urging local MPs to oppose the plans.

Rachel Verdin, officer for GMB representing staff at the DGH, said, “Staff in the DGH are very concerned that the Government’s NHS reforms will expose local services to a free-market price war.The quality of patient care is bound to suffer.

“This is not the kind of NHS people here want to see. We are calling on local MPs to oppose this legislation in the Commons.

“Any MP that goes along with these reforms will have to carry the can when the first hospital is forced to close because of these reckless reforms.”

Stephen Lloyd MP said the Coalition Government has been forced to make changes to the NHS because of the country’s record levels of debt.

He said, “The DGH has, in my view, quite reasonably been asked to find ways to make every pound spent go just that little bit further.

“I am disappointed the union’s first reaction to things is to cry foul rather than work constructively to find ways of cutting costs.

“Staff at the DGH know how passionate I am about our local hospital and they also know they can count on me to stand up for patient care in Eastbourne.”

A spokesperson from the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority, East Sussex Downs and Weald Primary Care Trust and the East Sussex Hospitals Trust all said it was not their place to comment on Government policy, instead concentrating on delivering changes.

Liz Walke of Save the DGH Campaign said, “I think we have to read the small print.

“If it means closing care services then we’ll fight it, but I’m not sure it does mean that.

“I would be very much alarmed if they’re cutting frontline services.

“If they are cutting managers I think we all want that and savings can be made by streamlining management.”