@DrLouiseIrvine in the press today

Here at the local South West Surrey National Health Action Party, it is a sad day. Our campaign with Save Our Services In Surrey to save the 6 care homes, including Cobgates in Farnham made no difference and Surrey County Council’s Cabinet members used their own anecdotal evidence to decide to end residential care for the families. We will continue to fight to keep Cobgates open for elderly residential care in Farnham.

The closure was recorded by Eagle Radio: Surrey County Council closes six care homes

Louise-IrvineCampaigner and candidate for the National Health Action Party in South West Surrey, Dr Louise Irvine, joined the protest.

Dr Irvine tells us how closing the homes will impact the elderly residents: “I think this is an act of vandalism, not just physically but emotionally.

“They (Surrey County Council) must stop and reconsider it.

“As a doctor, I know that health is not just about physical care, it’s also about emotional, psychological care and support.

“There is evidence that it’s quite damaging to elderly people to be forced to leave their care homes.”

Here is Louise on The World At One today – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b054qc20 (20.45 mins in) where, reacting to new plans for the NHS announced by Simon Stevens, she says:

Louise-IrvineIt’s a set of lovely sounding ideas, going on again about patient empowerment, staff empowerment, less bureaucracy. I actually think this quite similar to the Health and Social Care Act which actually did the opposite. It said it was going to empower GPs and patients, and reduce bureaucracy – but it didn’t. It actually increased it. This is trying to say it’s localism. But it’s coming from the top. It’s another top-down effort to reconfigure the way we do healthcare and I don’t think it will work unless it address the twin problems facing our health service: underfunding and privatisation. It doesn’t address either of those major forces which are fragmenting and breaking up and putting our health service into crisis.

And this is a full statement from Louise re the new plans:

Louise-IrvineIt may seem wonderful hearing Simon Stevens talking about more power to patients and better joined-up care with less bureaucracy. But we’ve been here before with similar promises over the Health and Social Care Act which has turned into a costly bureaucratic nightmare for NHS staff and patients.

Of course it’s always a good idea to look at new ways of working to improve patient care.  But Simon Stevens knows full well that the NHS faces a £30 billion funding gap over the next 5 years and behind his fine words, he is promoting these new models of care as ways of making £22 billion of savings under the veil of improving patient care.

The difficulties that GPs, hospitals, social and and community services encounter in providing good care has less to do with not being joined up and more to do with massive funding cuts: ​a​ £1 billion cut from the GP budget, 6% year on year hospital cuts, a 40% reduction in district nurse numbers and a 20% cut in social care budgets in the past 5 years. Just joining up services with grossly inadequate budgets doesn’t suddenly create a well-funded service.

In addition, by failing to address the structural problems created by the government’s NHS reforms, which set different healthcare providers in competition with each other and create perverse incentives for hospitals and GPs to fight over diminishing budgets, how can there be any hope of collaboration?

For any of the “vanguard” ideas to work we need to get rid of the market, repeal the Health and Social Care Act, and fund both NHS and social services properly.

This looks like another top-down effort to reconfigure the way we do healthcare and I don’t think it will work unless it address the twin problems facing our health service: underfunding and privatisation which together are fragmenting our health and social care services and pushing them deeper into crisis.

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