Basildon, Mid Essex and Southend postcode lottery

From Save Southend NHS Facebook page

Last year we fought and achieved success preventing #Southend A&E being downgraded. This is a stark reminder of the scale of service transfers which are being imposed by the Government led Mid and South Essex STP in order to save £££ by 2021. Any time now we are expecting confirmation that these service transfers have been ‘signed off’ following a token public consultation which received only 4000 responses out of a catchment of 1.5 million people. Most people in our community don’t even know that these specialities are due to be shipped out from Southend Hospital. Our huge town needs a full, district general hospital but instead we are set to lose the most out of the three in the new amalgamated super trust (Basildon, Mid Essex and Southend) which will see critically unwell patients travelling all over Essex. #OurNHS remains under constant attack as more and more centralisation and downgrading of hospitals takes place. We will fight on regardless. Please share our posts, support our campaign, write to your elected representatives and if you can, attend our twice weekly regular presences 12-1pm opposite the hospital every Monday and Friday.



Join the people’s fight tonight!

From the Save Southend NHS Facebook page:

We shall be making our feelings known to the Joint Council Committee by holding a peaceful protest outside the Southend Civic Centre All welcome. We are coming close to the end of an incredibly poorly delivered public consultation by the Mid and South Essex STP who want to downgrade our general hospital and risk the lives of critically ill local residents by centralising services at Broomfield and Basildon. #NotSafeNotFair #CutsCostLives #SaveSouthendNHS

Why the STP will not work

This is from the Save Southend NHS Facebook page:

Long and detailed post. You need to read it and understand just WHY #SaveSouthendNHS so strongly object to The Mid and South Essex STP. Their principles ‘claim’ to be bringing much of your care ‘closer to home’ however, the whole disgraceful and dangerous plan is financially motivated to ensure they have saved in excess of £400 million by 2021 from the now (conveniently) merged Southend, Broomfield and Basildon Hospitals.

The principles contained in their public consultation are flawed at almost every level and will enforce a postcode lottery for care on the 1.5 million people the combined hospitals serve. Critically ill patients will face longer journeys to obtain so called ‘specialist’ care – care that mostly is currently available at your LOCAL hospital but will be centralised and re-branded as ‘specialist’ – just now further away – if you survive the journey by their unplanned, un-staffed, un-costed ‘internal transport service’ allegedly to be manned with highly skilled Doctors and Nurses.

Okay, so let’s point out 2 things – the numbers of Doctors and Nurses are at a critical level. Where are they going to magic these staff from to man a 24/7 transport service to keep you alive down the A130 or A127 in order to access your ‘specialist care’. We hear you cry BUT WHAT ABOUT THE AMBULANCE SERVICE?? Indeed, our army in green are amazing yet they too are in crisis, often unable to meet response times for the most life-threatening of emergencies, let alone with the increased burden of transporting a ‘guesstimated’ upwards of 775 very unwell patients PER MONTH between Southend, Basildon and Broomfield.

YES 775 critically ill patients being shunted around Essex for emergency surgery, stroke care, orthopaedic issues, breathing problems. Disgusting – yet marketed as being in your best interests:

If you have the time, read the links below that give a full and detailed picture of the NHS staffing crisis and a view from the floor on how the NHS could be fixed: |

Whilst you’re at it – remind yourself please by watching this speech at our rally from an actual Consultant, a brave one who really actually cares about people and isn’t just in it for the cash, or a step up the career ladder, or a job in the Department of Health (unlike the Clinicians on the STP team) once the STP has ‘delivered’ and CEO Ms. Panniker has been awarded a chest full of medals by Jeremy Hunt:

Let’s not forget the ‘integrated community hubs’ also called ‘GP Hubs’ or ‘Locality Hubs’ depending on who you speak to and all meant to confuse you even further so you don’t comment or voice your angst at their public consultation. Are THEY bringing your care closer to home? Are they hell. The small, personal, familiar surgeries are for the kosh – partly due to the huge local and national GP shortage and partly because the Government’s STPs both here in Essex and nationally would much prefer to have the likes of Virgin, G4S or Care UK ‘managing’ the contracts for these shiny new health centres….that won’t be as close to where you live as your current practice and will likely be part of an ACO or ACS (for those that aren’t aware what these are – we shall explain further down the line so as not to confuse you – just know that they are NOT good news for our NHS). GP Hubs will serve a much larger population group and you will have a variety of hoops to get through including receptionist ‘triage’ and numerous other practitioners (if they can find any – remember that health professional crisis?) before you ever get the chance to see a GP.

The Mid and South Essex STP is bad news for the majority (of yet un-consulted) staff who will be forced to work across sites and don’t want to, and bad for us, as patients – as those staff will leave and then we will be in a bigger mess than we are in already but we think that’s what they want – especially for Southend. Run it down, run it into the ground, make it un-safe, make it fail, increase the vacancy rate – then they have every excuse to transfer out even more specialities than those currently on the table. We aren’t scaremongering. We are angry and we are well informed by those in the know and we trust the real Doctors far more than the Spin doctors.

So what can you do?

Attend the STP discussion events listed via this link and ask them questions:

Sign our petition:

Follow our page and invite your friends, share our posts, get the message out there.

Write to your MP and elected Councillors:

Respond to the Mid and South Essex public consultation by emailing your views to: cc’ing in your MP. You can also write to them via this address – STP Programme Management Office

Mid and South Essex STP
Swift House
Colchester Road
Essex CM2

Above all, remember how their team lied to everyone about the A&E downgrades being clinically led (we smashed that claim to pieces!) look further than the glossy images, pretty presentations and questionable evidence base – any scheme which cuts an already underfunded NHS even further to the bone in order to save an extra £400 million really is NOT going to be better for your health.

#StopTheSTP | #SavesouthendNHS

Reflections on the Save Southend NHS march and rally

On Saturday 27th January, over 1000 people marched through the centre of Southend to protest against the ‘Sustainabilty & Transformation Partnership’ (STP a.k.a. Slash, Trash & Privatise) plans for ‘rationalising’ services between Southend, Basildon and Broomfield hospitals. It was also in protest at the merger of the three hospitals which was sprung upon everybody during the STP ‘consultation’ process. The protest was called by Save Southend NHS Check out their Facebook page for frequent, accurate and to the point updates and bulletins about the campaign and the implications of the STP.

The aim of the protest was to draw the attention of the wider public in Southend to the threats posed to NHS services by the STP plans. Threats which if not challenged, will lead to a two tier service with those that can pay getting a better standard of treatment followed by eventual privatisation and the loss of a free at the point of use health care.

The full implementation of the STP with the re-location and ‘rationalising’ of services relies on having the capability to transport patients swiftly between hospitals. One you start reading what Save Southend NHS have found out, it’s very clear that Southend, Basildon and Broomfield hospitals do not have the vehicles, let alone the staff to provide this capability. Even if they did have the capability, they would have to deal with a road network in the region that more often than not is congested. Congestion that in an emergency blue light situation could in some cases be the difference between life or dying in the back of an ambulance.

The STP also relies on patients and their families, friends and carers accepting that more often than not, they will have to travel a lot further for treatment and visits. Even in this day and age, not everyone drives and having to endure a journey on a series of buses to get halfway across the county is going to be a stressful and distressing experience for many. All of this shows that the STP plans have nothing to do with improving services for patients and everything to do with cost cutting and privatisation.

As for the march and rally, we felt it did the job of getting the message across to the public about the threats posed to NHS services in the region by the STP plans. What was good was that it was a lot more than just the ‘usual suspects’ with a good number of ordinary people joining the march and rally. One of the strengths of Save Southend NHS is that it’s a broad, community based campaign that doesn’t have a party political agenda. One of their other strengths is the network they’re building up with other campaign groups across the region and beyond. Both of these will be essential in dealing with the inevitable games of divide and rule that those behind the STP plans will try in their desperation to thwart opposition to them.

All in all, the march and rally were a great success in that they brought people together, boosting the morale of campaigners and supporters in the process and sent out a clear signal that opposition to the STP plans is growing. The organisers certainly deserved their celebration in The Railway afterwards! However, a march and rally is just one tactic on one day in an ongoing campaign and there’s a lot more work to come in the future. Here at the Stirrer, we’ll be doing what we can to support this fight.

No Merger!

From the Save Southend NHS Facebook page –

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.

Another report from the NHS frontline…

This is from the Save Southend NHS Facebook page – We make no apology for posting up these reports as the message that the NHS is being run into the ground and as a result, patients lives are at risk needs to be got across ahead of the march and rally on Saturday 27th January.

With great sadness, #SaveSouthend bring to you yet another in a long line of devastating reports from the coalface of emergency care. The following is written by a local frontline nurse and one with a considerable amount of skill, knowledge and experience. Is this REALLY what modern healthcare should look like in a first world country? #NHSCrisis #Southend #STP

“I leave shifts feeling at once decimated by the fact I can’t deliver the standard of care I feel I could and should to my patients because you are constantly running from case to case to keep on top of the workload – but at the same time elated by the standard of care we DO deliver under impossible burdens… AND we have newly qualified nursing staff that are working alongside the more experienced staff – their hearts and souls go into their care and they will all make excellent emergency nurses – assuming they don’t burn out first.

Then there are the doctors who work with us – ranging from some very junior to very experienced individuals who generally feel the same way – frustrated we can’t keep on top of the workload as we get exit block from the department.

We feel guilty that patients have to wait in the department for so long, we feel guilty that the ambulance crews can’t unload and head off to the next job – whose relative is left laying on the floor after a fall for hours because the crews can’t unload? Who is deteriorating and will then come to us sicker because of a delay in care?

And the support staff that help us juggle patients and keep the department afloat – porters, domestics, reception and clerical – we couldn’t do half of what we do without them. Your A&E has an amazing team that struggles daily to deliver high quality care – yet no other healthcare system in the world is trying to deliver the quality and quantity the NHS does on the level of funding it does…

The UK has 2.7 hospital beds per 1000 people – compared to 4.5 average in the rest of the EU. We have 2.8 doctors per 1000 people – EU average is 3.8. We have 8.2 nurses per 1000, EU average 9.4. The UK spends on average E3000 per person on healthcare – the EU average is E3304, though Germany, the Netherlands, France and Sweden all spend over E4000

If the Danes, Swedes, French and Germans can spend more on health care without apparently bankrupting the rest of their economy, why can’t we?”.

The team at #SaveSouthendNHS once again want thank and praise all of our NHS staff for the amazing care they deliver despite these most trying times. March with us on Saturday 27th January 2018 12pm assembly at Pier Hill for #OurNHS – the Government sanctioned Mid and South Essex STP are set to slash £30 million annually from Southend’s budget. Our voices MUST be heard. The NHS belongs to the people. Southend on sea requires a GENERAL HOSPITAL able to fully meet the needs of the local population.

Rally! SaveSouthendNHS

This is an event on the SaveSouthendNHS Facebook page – 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.