Hospital Closures: Betrayal of the NHS

HealthEast consultation meeting, Southwold, 10 June

HealthEast consultation meeting, Southwold, 10 June

Health East, the Clinical Commissioning Group for Great Yarmouth and Waveney, plans to save £43m by closing hospitals in Halesworth and Southwold while Northgate and All Hallows will lose their 20 beds. Instead, out-of-hospital teams will treat patients in their own homes or they will be sent to care homes. A new private care home is planned on NHS land in Reydon near Southwold and another in Halesworth. In Beccles 21 beds will be left to service the whole of Great Yarmouth, Waveney and much of the surrounding HealthEast consultation areas. Beccles Hospital has apparently been spared because it doesn’t I belong to the NHS.
Local community hospitals, mental health services, the James Paget Hospital and the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital are all suffering major cuts. The NHS budget has not been protected. Faced with an increase in the number of patients, particularly an increase in elderly patients, the NHS was told to make £20bn of “efficiency savings” over five years. Staff have paid for this through frozen salaries.
If the NHS budget were to keep pace with inflation and more “efficiency savings” created, the gap in the next five years will be a minimum of£30bn. That only means more cuts and more privatisation.
Local GPs offered an alternative to the closure of Lowestoft Hospital but were ignored. Lead consultant in A&E at the James Paget Hospital, Duncan Peacock, says it is an illusion that the NHS can work with fewer beds and that the NHS needs more beds not fewer.
|n Halesworth a meeting of over 300 including experienced health professionals heard of _major weaknesses in Health East’s plans. Andy Evans’ claim that Lowestoft now saw fewer 1 patients sent to the James Paget Hospital fell apart. More are sent to other community hospitals because the James Paget is full.
These plans are simply property deals and the privatisation of NHS beds. They are a desperate and dangerous response to cuts dressed up as Improvements. They should be rejected outright.

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