Letter from one of our committed members to The Tribune
I am worried about further cuts in patient care. Last year the Trib highlighted the case of Elizabeth who cannot walk so needs non-emergency transport for her regular appointments at the Royal Free Hospital. She was denied access to her appointments.
The Royal Free had (& has) a contract with a German firm for non-urgent transport. The definition they use for who qualifies is more restricted than that previously used. Elizabeth, now in her 80’s, has only her pension to support her, was told to take a taxi.
After complaints from N. Islington Disability Forum and Islington Pensioners’ Forum, she now has to complete a 20-page application form every 3 months for transport. This is despite the fact that her GP and her specialist both insist that her conditions cannot improve, only stabilise.
I understand that the N. Middlesex, the Whittington and Moorfields Hospitals have all signed contracts with the same company which runs the Royal Free’s non-urgent transport. Their contracts are due to start on July 1st. Can the Boards of these hospitals please promise your readers immediately that disabled or older patients who have incurable conditions and who get non-emergency hospital transport at present will not be denied it after July 1st. Why should patients, like Elizabeth, be tormented by constant form-filling if our conditions are impossible to cure?
I note that Transport For All (which campaigns for transport to be made accessible to all disabled and older people inquiries (www.transportforall.org.uk ) recently conducted a survey on non-emergency hospital transport which indicated a substantial increase in complaints.
You may also want to contact Islington Keep Our NHS Public which is campaigning locally on non-urgent transport to hospital appointments. Why should disabled or older patients with incurable conditions, like Elizabeth, be denied transport or tormented by constant form-filling about incurable conditions?
Petition to Islington Clinical Commissioning Group
We call on Islington Clinical Commissioning Group, who make the key budget decisions for the NHS in Islington, to stand up for the right of local people to have an NHS that meets their needs, rather than going along with government cuts. In particular
- No more sale of NHS assets to private developers to pay off deficits caused by under-funding. Use spare land and property for NHS or other public services
- Stop narrowing the scope of the NHS by blocking referrals for some treatments from GPs, or by forcing GPs to make their patients wait even longer
- Stop pretending that everything is ok and instead make it clear to the public that cuts are happening because of inadequate government funding
NHS Birthday – 5 July. Look at our photos as we delivered cakes to NHS staff to say happy birthday to the NHS and thank you to them for all their hard work, doing hours of unpaid overtime to keep us safe despite the under-funding of the NHS
Public provision of the local NHS 111 / Out Hours Service
The new contract for the delivery of this service started in October 2016. It was previously provided by a large private company. We galvanized local people to express their view on the service, including a petition to the clinical Commissioning Group. We worked as members of the public to influence the contract specification so that it stressed local knowledge, integration with local GP services, and quality as well as cost. The new contract was awarded to a not-for-profit consortium of GPs.
Supporting the junior doctors
We campaigned on the picket line at the Whittington hospital in support of the junior doctors campaign against to contract that Jeremy Hunt sought to impose. We had stalls at the Nags Head and Angel shopping centres to get a petition to our local hospitals signed asking them not to enforce the contract. We collected over 1000 signatures, including those of London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn MP.
Opposing the Sustainability and Transformation Plans for North Central London
We are working with other campaign groups in Camden, Haringey, Enfield and Barnet to oppose the planned £900m cuts which the government hopes to introduce across these five boroughs. The five boroughs in North Central London make up one of 44 ‘footprints’ across the whole country where similar buts are being imposed. The UK spends a lot less as a proportion of GDP on health than other comparable countries. If we spent the same proportion of GDP as France and Germany, we would have another £30bn per year and this would allow us to have the kind of NHS we expect..
We gave evidence to the joint health overview and scrutiny committee of the five boroughs on 30 September. Read our evidence.
Join us at our public meeting we are holding on 15 November in Islington Town Hall at 7.30