How local people are fighting to save Bolton accident and emergency services
We are a group of Bolton people, health staff and members of the community, who have set up a campaign to save Bolton A+E. Our next campaign meeting is on Tuesday 8 January at 6pm at Bolton Town Hall. Any one who wants to help is welcome.
Video: march in Bolton against health service cuts, December 2012:
A short while after the group was set up, Bolton FT NHS Trust announced 500 redundancies - 143 nurses and midwives, 20 doctors, 193 admin and clerical staff, 93 technical and therapy staff and 20 estates staff. This is 12.5% of the Bolton NHS workforce.
Unbelievably, management there claim not just that patient care won't be affected by having 500 less staff - but that patient care will be improved!
Staffside reps have put on record that they believe the speed these cuts are being implemented and the size of the cuts will affect patient care and risk patient safety.
As well as the 500 job losses, the management at the hospital intend to dismiss 1430 nursing and 245 medical staff and re-engage them on worse contracts.
What will this do the morale at the hospital?
The Save Bolton A+E campaign believes that this can only make the closure of Bolton hospital more likely. They try and reduce quality of care by drastic cuts and then say it is not fit to use.
We will not let them get away with this.
Bolton deserves better.
The threat to our A&E is contained in a new paper called “Healthier Together” put out recently by Greater Manchester NHS. Under threat are A&Es in Bolton, Wigan, Tameside, North Manchester, Trafford, Rochdale and Bury. This would leave just five A&Es in Greater Manchester - Hope, Central and South Manchester, Oldham and Stockport.
The threatened closures form part of a programme to build new super hospitals which will be fewer in number and require patients to travel greater distances. In an emergency, the delays caused by the extra travel time will in some instances prove fatal.
The clinical argument for these larger centres and their presumed ability to provide more specialist care has been rebutted by doctors and specialists who cite problems with delays in, for example, emergency treatment caused by additional travel time. Research has shown that for the extra miles an ambulance has to travel to take you to an A&E, there is an increased chance of dying.
The number of patients requiring emergency specialised care is actually very small - yet this principle is being applied to the many thousands of patients who will be deprived of a local service. The result will be delays in treatment, huge inconvenience for those forced to travel and overcrowded centres with fewer beds.
Other services are threatened too. There is an established pattern of hospitals losing most other services once the A&E is gone. This has already happened in many hospitals around the country. They plan when hospitals close that the new bigger “specialist” or “super” hospitals will have 25% fewer combined beds. Not only will we have to travel to them, but they will be overcrowded and impossible to get into.
Other services under threat include maternity and women’s health, surgery (emergency, oral and elective), acute medicine, long term conditions, cancer, cardiovascular, primary care and rehab.
Bolton A+E is the second busiest in Manchester
Why is this happening?
The real reason lies in government cuts. The coalition government intends to cut £20bn from the NHS this parliament, more than has been cut from any health service anywhere in the world. The impact will be devastating for patients and healthworkers alike.
Bolton is in need of £38 million to save our health service. It sounds a lot but the money is there to cover the entire NHS shortfall.
It’s a question of priorities. The same government that is making these cuts has recently given away £28bn in tax as tax cuts for high earners, despite the richest 1000 people in Britain having seen their wealth increase by £155bn since the crisis began in 2008.
As the Guardian has reported, "Conservative MP and tax lawyer Charlie Elphicke estimates 19 US-owned multinationals are paying an effective tax rate of 3% on British profits, instead of the standard rate of 26%... the total tax gap between what's owed and collected has been estimated by Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK at £120bn a year: £25bn in legal tax avoidance, £70bn in fraudulent tax evasion and £25bn in late payments."
Shouldn’t the government be looking to do something about this before cutting our NHS?
What can you do?
Check out our website www.saveboltonaccidentandemergency.org.uk
Download our petition from our website and take to local GPs, libraries etc.
Join our stalls on Saturdays around Bolton (details on website)
Sign our online petitions, epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/40822 and epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/40979
(Abusive or off-topic comments will be deleted)