No To £400 Million Local Health Cuts – Save Our NHS

This is from the Defend Our NHS – Chelmsford, Mid-Essex Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/defendourae/ The proposals from the ‘Sustainability and Transformation Partnership’ affect Southend, Basildon and Broomfield – this Facebook page is part of a coordinated response to what is essentially a programme of cuts.

Saturday, 17th February, 12noon – 2pm | Outside Waterstones, 78 High Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1EJ | Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1977513352574494/

The bottom line is these proposed STP (now renamed the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, though Slash, Trash, and Privatise is perhaps more appropriate?) changes are not clinically driven. These proposed changes are being driven by huge government cuts.

Basildon has not been able to deal with demand in recent years as it is, so how will it cope as the specialist emergency centre for mid and south Essex? Their A&E has regularly been on black alert. Does it really have the capability for all this extra demand? It will be overwhelmed.

Furthermore, with public transport links so poor between Chelmsford and Basildon, there will be those who find it very difficult to impossible to visit relatives and friends in Basildon. And such support networks are vital to patients in recovery.

We are also worried about how the victory we gained in the summer will be maintained. By losing many of the services currently being offered at Broomfield to Basildon, Broomfield will inevitably also lose medical staff to Basildon. Without these medical staff, can Broomfield continue to offer a full A&E service? It looks like it will be a downgrade of blue light emergency services by stealth.

Please join us in the High Street (by Lloyds/Waterstones) to say no to NHS cuts and privatisation.

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Spread the word:)

Following on from the previous post about a number of Southend Borough councillors bending the rules to suit their material interests as landlords, we’ve swiftly knocked up this graphic as an aid in drawing attention to their shenanigans. Feel free to share, print off and use in any way you see fit…just don’t get caught!

PDF: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1fw248ok0yr2mmv/aw_sos_rotten_borough.pdf?dl=0
HI-res JPG: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ktltdx4796q075z/aw_sos_rotten_borough.jpg?dl=0

Rally! SaveSouthendNHS

This is an event on the SaveSouthendNHS Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/events/1623010841098058/permalink/1623012334431242/ We’ll be attending this in solidarity. As the aim is to raise awareness among the public about the ongoing threat to NHS services in the area, there will be plenty of flyers explaining that to be handed out. We’ll be joining in with handing these flyers out. We won’t be handing out copies of The Stirrer until the end of the rally at the Odeon concourse when people start to leave. We hope that other political groups attending this event will do the same…

Saturday January 27th 2018 – Assemble 12noon onwards at Pier Hill and walk to the Odeon concourse for a rally

SaveSouthendNHS shall be hosting another Southend town centre rally – meeting at the top of Pier Hill and walking to The Odeon concourse where there will be speakers, petitions and public consultation information. This is not just pointless, shouty placard waving, our aim is to ensure the whole community are aware of the public consultation and what the proposed changes will mean for our local hospital and community NHS services and to inform you of the good, the bad and the ugly parts in it all.

This Mid and South Essex STP (formerly known as Success Regime – they dropped that title – we wonder why…) intends to achieve cuts of £30 million in Southend alone, year on year.

Many of their plans are based on significant improvements to community health services (Primary Care) which in turn will achieve hospital admission avoidance, according to them. However…..

There are no published detailed plans or investment to achieve this.
Southend has 2nd highest number of GP vacancies and 2nd highest number of likely retiring GP’s in the next 5 years.

The new medical school at Anglia Ruskin University doesn’t even open until next year and then it will take a long time to get trainees through.

There is a general NHS recruitment and training crisis both locally and country wide.

Applicants to nursing and allied health professions have significantly dropped due to the removal of the training bursary.

We say – get the foundations RIGHT before you tamper with our acute (hospital) services. Three of the CCG GP Chairs abstained from the vote to go ahead with the proposals.

STP proposals WILL affect where you are to be treated when you have significant complex health needs or require emergency surgery. Critically ill patients will be transferred to Basildon or Broomfield hospitals to ‘specialist units’. Whilst we aren’t against specialising care if the patient outcome is proven to be better, we already know that some of the patient groups would not be fit/well enough to endure a long and risky ambulance journey – and whilst we are on the subject, the STP have only offered wooly claims that an ‘in house specialist transfer service’ will be provided yet not given details on how it will be staffed (in an already understaffed health economy). Will your relative be stranded at Southend Hospital, acutely ill and awaiting transfer for their ‘specialist care’???

Southend Hospital is set to be designated for elective (planned) surgery and cancer care – this is a DOWNGRADE to our current provision of general hospital care and specialities available. We are a ever expanding town with an international airport, university and thriving tourist industry – we deserve investment, improvement and EXPANSION of our hospital.

As always, we are fighting to ensure that these cuts do not cost lives and that ANY changes are backed fully by the clinicians from the specialities affected (and not just by the ones on the STP payroll). Let’s send a strong and clear message to the Mid and South Essex STP that we REFUSE to be part of a NHS postcode lottery for care.

The same as our A&E rally last year – this is a peaceful, family friendly, whole community event where EVERYONE is welcome.

Ensuring a huge public response to the consultation is VITAL! Be a part of it. Up and down the country people are fighting for their local NHS – let’s fight for ours.

Doing it for ourselves on the ¾ estate in Vange

Promotion of this community clean up which took place on Saturday 2nd December started a month ago. It was called as a response to longstanding issues with rubbish collection on the ¾ estate and the amount that was remaining uncollected. We had visions of a day of litter picking and re-bagging burst, split and festering sacks of uncollected trash…

Well, ever since Vange Hill Community Group (VHCG) and Basildon & Southend Housing Action (BASHA) announced the clean up, residents have noticed a marked improvement in Basildon Council’s performance when it came to collecting rubbish and not leaving uncollected sacks lying around. Coincidence? No, not a bit of it… Basildon Council didn’t want to be embarrassed by our photographs of a rubbish strewn estate so they pulled their fingers out and actually did the job that they’re meant to do. Okay, it wasn’t 100% pristine but residents we spoke to said the estate was looking cleaner than it has for some time. We’ll take this as a victory…putting on the pressure pays off…

So, with not a lot of rubbish to collect, what did we do? Well, we did a bit of gardening, cutting back, strimming, weeding and sweeping instead. Which to be honest, is infinitely preferable to dealing with festering sacks of uncollected rubbish. We were working in two separate locations. The aim is to use these two locations as examples of what can be done by residents, facilitated by VHCG and BASHA. It’s hoped that these examples will inspire other residents across the estate to start taking care of their closes with the eventual aim of linking these up and starting to totally transform the place.

The point of today was to facilitate resident action in cleaning their sections of the estate up. This is the first step in empowering them to take more of an active role in making the ¾ estate a decent place to live and dispelling the bad reputation it has gained over the years. The more the residents can achieve, the more empowered they’ll feel and the more ambitious they’ll get in terms of getting a meaningful say in how the estate is run and developed.

A few words of thanks are due… Firstly to the residents who care about where they live and came out to put in some hard graft on tidying the place up. Secondly to Basildon Council who provided the litter pickers and black sacks – the gesture was appreciated. Thirdly to the Basldon Council workers who took away a fair amount of the rubbish and green waste we had collected when they showed up. Lastly but by no means least, many thanks to the residents who made us cups of tea and coffee to keep us going…that really was appreciated:)

All in all, it was a good day when we could see the result of our pressure on Basildon Council and from the graft we put in. This will be the first of a number of actions on an estate where residents are starting to take an active role in turning the place around…it’s onwards and upwards from here…

The next print edition of The Stirrer will be hitting the streets by mid January

Work has started on writing and laying out the next print edition of The Stirrer which will be going to print as early as possible in the New Year. There are going to be a few changes, the most obvious one being a front cover that’s visually attractive with more of an emphasis on imagery and graphics – the wordage will be inside and on the back. We never like to stand still with this project hence the experimentation with ways of making the paper more attractive so our message can get out to more people.

As we think about what’s going to be in the next print edition of The Stirrer, we’re also thinking about changing the distribution method. We’ll be cutting back on the door-to-door distributions and focusing more on handing them out on the high streets / town squares. This is why we want a visually attractive front cover!

So far, we’ve lined up Southend – High Street, Basildon – Town Square and Romford – South Street as possible locations for handing out The Stirrer. These will be taking place (depending on the weather!) from mid January onwards. Obviously, the more people we can get out to help us the better, as it creates a buzz that will attract the punters and gives us better security. We’ll be fixing definite dates after the New Year… If any of our supporters want to join us on any of these distributions, contact us with your preferred location and we’ll take it from there…

Protest against the development (desecration) of the cliffs

We’ve shared posts from other groups in Southend opposed to the hubris of Southend Borough Council in persisting with their ill considered proposal for a museum on the clifftop near Prittlewell Square Gardens: Wasting millions againhttps://southessexstirrer.wordpress.com/2017/10/18/wasting-millions-again/ The campaign against this desecration is being stepped up a gear with a protest called by the South East Essex Green Party on Sunday 17th December.

Details of how building for the protest is going can be found on this Facebook events page: https://www.facebook.com/events/320393881772491/

Although, this has been called by the Green Party, the event is obviously open to all who are fed up with the arrogance of Southend Borough Council in continuing to push this proposal through in the face of increasing public opposition. We’ll be along to support it… Hopefully, people power will eventually prevail and this proposal will be consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs.

If you want a job done properly…

Regular readers of this blog will be well aware of the issues our friends from Basildon & Southend Housing Action (BASHA) and the Vange Hill Community Group (VHCG) have had in dealing with the authorities who are supposed to be responsible for the ¾ estate in Vange which is located on the southern fringes of Basildon. Both BASHA and VHCG are fed up with the wrangling over which authority is responsible for (not) clearing the trash properly, (not) trimming back out of control undergrowth and (not) maintaining footpaths and steps to a decent, safe standard.

There’s only so much banging your head against a brick wall you can take in dealing with the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of local authorities and housing associations and trying to contact ward councillors conspicuous by their absence. At a recent meeting we (the Stirrer) and BASHA decided to do something about this with a day of therapeutic community cleaning where we can see a definite result at the end of a day’s hard graft.

Any of our supporters are more than welcome to join us on the day – please wear suitable footwear and clothing you don’t mind getting mucky. Tools will be provided, but if you can bring along anything you think will be useful, you’re welcome to do so…