We are widening the scope of the campaign.

Has a hospital or ward closed near you? Has your Local Authority’s Scrutiny Committee recently referred the proposals to the Independent Review Panel? (formerly called the Independent Reconfiguration Panel?) If so please will you let us know! E-mail STP_Agony Aunt <stpagony@gmail.com> 

Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS is starting a campaign to get the Independent Review Panel to broaden its terms of reference to include investigating the damaging effects of the government’s “austerity” policy on the NHS and social care; and the effect of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships on NHS “reconfiguration” proposals. For more info, see Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS – Hospital cuts consultation.

They would be very glad of the involvement of other campaign groups from across England, whose NHS and social care cuts and changes have been recently or currently referred to the Independent Review Panel.

Dewsbury is a case in point.

Dewsbury Hospital’s A&E was rated 6th best in the country in 2012.  Now it’s been downgraded and cannot take blue light ambulances. In the first year since the it opened and the A&E downgrade,  79 women in labour at Dewsbury’s midwife-led birth centre had to be blue-lighted 20 minutes to Pinderfields Hospital because something went wrong.  The Birth Trauma Association (BTA), which helps women who have been through traumatic deliveries, just last week in reference to Dewsbury, said transfers were risky for mothers and babies! – which is exactly why the Joint Kirklees and Wakefield Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee  referred the proposals to the IRP in 2013. Unfortunately the IRP said the changes were ok. They’re not.

A Birth Centre is wonderful…if there’s an A&E next door! Huddersfield birth centre is the next to have its hospital’s A&E cut. Kirklees and Calderdale Joint Health Scrutiny Committee has referred THAT proposal to the Secretary of State.

If you can remember reports in the local news about your hospital cuts, closures and a referral to the Sec of State, please let us know. stpagony@gmail.com

There are now 8000 fewer hospital beds than in 2010. In September this year Simon Wright, Chief Executive of Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals, said

I think is it really important we remember that the best solution is to keep both A&E departments open’.

And he is right. Please let us know, and share the petition….Thank you


We do not want to go back in time!

Managed neglect.

The Care Closer to Home agenda, so vaunted as the best thing since sliced bread, at the Meeting the Challenge Consultation, in 2012/13 is being rolled out apace.

The actual Care Closer to Home contract was won by Locala, where the company has increasingly, along with Hospital Trusts, suffered from a staffing crisis and the CCG has said it has recognised it has suffered challenges. But the majority of contracts in England, seem now, to be removed from hospitals. Since 2013, 86% pharmaceutical contracts have been won by non NHS organisations, 83% patient transport contracts won by non NHS organisations, 25% mental health contracts won by non NHS organisations, 76% diagnostic contracts won by non NHS organisations. Where are the costs to patient care being tallied?

Wheelchairs in North Kirklees were outsourced to Opcare. Unless we stop it, the NHS is moving towards a single, inflexible, capitated budget as 44 or so Accountable Care Systems or Organisations. What happens when a budget is capped, is nicely demonstrated by the wheelchair contract. Lauded by the CCG as the best provider for the job, having previously been an expert company moulding prosthetics and devices for disabled people, the company is not able  to fulfill  the expectations of local people who need wheelchairs.  Anecdotally we hear that children with wheelchair needs are measured, but wait so long for it to be delivered, that they have outgrown the chair by the time it arrives. In another case the child is presented with a chair without the necessary straps to regulate the body to a correct posture, so the parents have to resort to tying the child in with string! The company it seems allegedly tells parents it does not have the money to correct these situations. Extrapolate these occurrences over the whole of West Yorkshire including the complete spectrum of health disorders and you begin to get a sense of how damaging to people, a per-capita system will be.

Dermatology referrals, when the GP thinks you may not have a skin cancer but are not quite sure, go to Priderm LLP,  a community business in several GP practices in North Kirklees. Registered with the CQC in 2013, it has not been inspected yet according to the CQC website.  It is another layer of ‘the market’, which comes between a hospital specialist and a GP.  The contract seems to be covering the costs, but it hard to see how it can be cheaper than specialists in a hospital, when you think of the Priderm manager, contract expert, receptionists, venue hire and the cost to the CCG of another contract to assure compliance with. Of course in the future, a receptionist with a list of tick box questions will direct you to this company or not, depending on the criteria on the tick box list.