Through five sessions of the People’s Inquiry for London’s NHS, healthworkers have repeatedly talked of how they are being pushed into doing more for less with fewer resources.
The ConDem government says we can no longer afford free healthcare for all. The Inquiry has heard that what we really cannot afford is the shambolic patchwork of healthcare providers that Tory re-rganisation and budget cuts are delivering.
Patients and campaigners have given evidence of how the ConDem government’s rushed reorganisation is reducing access to healthcare. Witnesses, including Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, voiced their concerns that the closure of A&Es and mental health crisis centres will lead to avoidable deaths.
With two public sessions remaining, it is already clear that NHS re-organisation is, in effect, being driven by budget cuts, not healthcare needs. The Inquiry, which is backed by Unite, has two further public hearings in Westminster and Lewisham to come.
The independent Inquiry panel, which includes Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee, health researcher John Lister, as well as health professionals and management experts, have heard repeated evidence of:
• patients being shunted from actute hospitals to ‘virtual beds’ ie sick people are being sent home to rely on cut-to-the-bone community services for treatment
• closure of A&Es and a move to centralised ‘super-hospitals’ mean longer journeys for many patients
• health inequalities increased by proposed downgrading or closure of hospitals in areas of greatest need
• intimidation and bullying of healthworkers to remain silent over staffing levels and poor standards of care
• health authorities refusing to engage with the public and manufacturing consent
• difficulties in finding out who is responsible for the delivery and quality of healthcare in the new system
Local hearings of the People’s Inquiry for the NHS
• Central London Friday Nov 29: 2pm-7pm
Central Hall Westminster, Storey's Gate London SW1H 9NH
• South East London Friday Dec 6: 2pm-7pm
Lessoff Auditorium, Lewisham Hospital, Lewisham High St, London SE13 6LH
For more information on the People's Inquiry for London's NHS click here
Contact People's Inquiry by email