I am writing this letter as after attending the Labour Party Conference I heard some facts relative to the NHS that I feel the people of Eastbourne should be aware of.
I attended a fringe event during the conference that was presented by the Socialist Health Association. A Labour Lord, Philip Hunt gave a very clear presentation of what is happening currently within the NHS. He spoke of Hospital Trusts, such as East Sussex Healthcare, that have not yet been able to become a foundation trust
There are about 100 trusts around the country in this position and it is unlikely that they will be able to become foundation trusts in the near future.
Typically these trusts run relatively small District General Hospitals.
There is now a move to franchise out the services to private healthcare providers such as Circle, Serco and Capita. This could mean that we may find our District General Hospital no longer run by the state.
The first hospital to be run entirely by a private health care provider, Circle, got into so much financial trouble that the NHS had to bail it out. The people have been unhappy with the service that hospital has offered throughout the time it has been under Circle.
Throughout the country common changes are that A&E services are being closed and Maternity Units merged.
The changes that are happening to Eastbourne DGH are mirrored across the country and it appears they are a direct consequence of the NHS reforms that the coalition brought in.
Caroline Ansell, Conservative Party Parliamentary Candidate, gave a great speech at the latest march to save the maternity unit at the DGH. She has twins who would not be alive today had she given birth in a unit without consultants. She pointed out that when the town last had to protest against a threat to the maternity unit the Secretary of State for Health made sure it did not happen.
That Secretary of State was Alan Johnson a Labour Party Secretary of State, things are different now we have Jeremy Hunt. Personally I do not feel that we will be successful in stopping the downgrading of our hospital unless we look at and address the politics behind what is happening.
This is a political issue it can’t be tackled with an apolitical campaign.