From the Save Southend NHS Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/SaveSouthendNHS/
Members of Save Southend NHS, Save Our NHS Basildon, and Defend Our NHS Chelmsford joined forces, with just hours notice, to protest outside Broomfield Hospital this lunchtime prior to the meeting of the hospitals’ Joint Working Board who were considering the plan to merge all three hospitals.
We find it incredible, that mid way through a public consultation on the STP plans on how the three hospitals can work better together, that out of the blue and with no warning, this merger has been announced.
The STP and NHS England have kept these plans hidden from us and it makes a complete mockery of the consultation.
This merger could sound the death knell for local hospital services. The documents also talks about creating an Accountable Care Organisation (ACO) in tandem with the merger which is often seen as the precursor to privatisation and the selling off of health care provision to a large large multi-national, like Richard Branson’s Virgin Healthcare, where the driving force is profit and not the well being of the public.
Save Southend NHS are very much opposed to the merger of the three hospitals. This would inevitably lead to a reduction in the number of services available locally to patients plus the potential implications for staff contracts, conditions and pay are huge too.
We want to see a fully operational General Hospital kept at each site and not one hospital with three sites. If a merger happens we have no doubt that individual specialist services will be concentrated on one site, meaning patients will have to travel much further for treatment. It would also mean that the three hospitals would no longer all be able to each keep open a Type 1 A&E department with 24/7 blue light admissions. In all likelihood NHS England would create an A&E ‘super-centre’ at Basildon and downgrade Southend and Broomfield to walk-in centres; exactly what we and the vast majority of local residents have been fighting so hard to resist.