Christine Lightbody from the Save Our Isle of Wight NHS shares below the group’s thoughts on the coming year and the fight to save our NHS.
There will be a Save our Isle of Wight NHS March on Saturday 3rd February – meet outside the hospital at 10.30am for a march into St Thomas’ Square where a rally will follow. All are welcome. Ed
2018 will be a crucial year for our NHS. There are serious concerns about plans to move many services to Southampton and Portsmouth.
This will involve extra travelling for patients at a time when their health may be compromised. Some may not be able to afford to travel as there is no plan to provide funding except for those claiming certain benefits. The physical effort of getting to the mainland will deter many from accessing health services.
An increase in mortality rates?
We anticipate that mortality rates on the Island may well increase as a direct result.
The expense of travelling will also make it difficult for friends and family to visit loved ones, which is so important in the recovery of those who have had serious illness.
A £54 million funding gap
The Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) which was designed to cut £54 million on the Island between 2015 and 2020/21 is incompatible with the promise of improvements to our services.
However, its implementation is gathering pace. Meaningful public consultation and roadshows promised to us since January 2017 have not happened.
Public relations exercises
Various workshops held on the Island to determine people’s response to the redesign of acute services appear to have been public relations exercises.
We are worried that the decisions have already been made despite the declared intention to finally have a public consultation in the spring/summer of this year.
Heading further towards privatisation
Furthermore, there are fears about the introduction of so-called Accountable Care Organisations/Systems (ACO/ACS) in the future. These may well encompass what services are eventually left on the Isle of Wight, as could also be the case in Portsmouth and other parts of Hampshire.
The danger is that this will result in the NHS becoming a business model, conducive to further privatisation. We can expect to see the formation, albeit gradual, of an insurance-based Americanised health care system. Health rationing will become the norm and care will be based on financial targets rather than clinical needs.
Save our IW NHS
All these issues were discussed at a recent meeting of members of the campaign group (watch videos of meeting, IOW Save Our NHS.
The members expressed their determination to continue to warn the public of the damage being done to our NHS.
We encourage people to attend meetings of the CCG, the Hospital Trust and the Isle of Wight Council to ask questions wherever possible.
Find out more
We cannot just sit back and allow government policies to dismantle our NHS and hand it on a plate to the likes of Virgin Care, Care(UK)Ltd, Serco, G4S many of whom will pay no UK tax whatsoever.
Find out more about the IOW Save OUR NHS Group by popping over to Facebook and requesting to join.
If you’re not on Facebook you can visit their Website.