Our February All Members Meeting produced an informative debate about the state of our NHS, both locally and nationally. Guest speakers John Brier and David Smith from Southampton Keep Our NHS Public (SKONP) shared their in-depth knowledge on how our Health Service in England is being underfunded and reshaped, opening it up to further privatisation.
In a meeting last November, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who run the major hospitals in Hampshire, discussed plans which may see the removal of major services including A&E, Emergency Surgery, Neonatal Intensive Care and other acute services at Winchester’s Royal Hants County Hospital. The rationale for this being staffing shortages, particularly consultant positions. These services would instead be provided at Basingstoke, although some people may travel to Southampton. With over 5,000 new homes being built in Eastleigh, it is alarming to think our struggling health options may be reduced rather than increased. Formal consultation is expected early this year.
This local issue is a symptom of a wider crisis which many believe to be a deliberate plan to reduce the public’s expectation for free local health provision and encourage more to rely on privately paid for services instead.
However, the NHS, created in 1948, is still one of the beacons of social justice in this world of ever increasing inequality. Everyone has the right to first class health care, education and housing. Therefore Eastleigh Labour Party resolves the following:
a) To support restoring our NHS to a fully publicly funded, publicly provided, democratic, comprehensive and Universal health and social care system along its founding principles as per the NHS Reinstatement Bill.
b) To oppose the Government’s current Five Year Forward View, including vehicles such as Sustainability Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Accountable Care Systems (ACSs) being brought in as undemocratic replacements of a single English NHS, which will see an expansion of private providers in the delivery of care.
c) To support halting any plans to downsize acute and emergency care units at the nearby Winchester Hospital.
d) To campaign for further health services at the Moor Green site in West End, in the form of a walk in centre / community hospital which will relieve the burden on GP surgeries and A&Es.
e) To call for the ruling administration of Eastleigh Borough Council to recognise the need for new health facilities when developments are planned and request them when planning applications are submitted.
f) To support local and national campaign groups such as Southampton Keep Our NHS Public (SKONP), Romsey Keep Our NHS Public (RKONP) and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Defend our NHS.