[Wednesday 10 August 2016]
News that another A&E faces part-time closure because “not enough doctors want to work there” should surprise no one and infuriate everyone. Because it is not an isolated incident, is not the fault of “reluctant” doctors, and is the worst symptom so far of a deliberately inflicted disease: the running down and failure of our NHS through massive under-funding by this government.
Dr John Lister, health campaign researcher, and Secretary of Keep Our NHS Public, said:
“Grantham is not the first rural A&E to face cuts and closure, and given the cash squeeze on the NHS, it won’t be the last. Although many of its patients have only minor injuries, one patient in six is admitted to hospital. This means if they are forced to seek treatment elsewhere it’s a 25-30 mile journey to Lincoln, Boston or Nottingham, on poor roads at night.
“The staffing crisis is not unrelated to the national shortages of A&E staff as a result of short-sighted funding cuts and incompetence of Health Education England: it will be worsened by the recent Brexit vote.
“But the recruitment of staff is also hampered by long-running plans to centralise Lincolnshire’s A&E services in Lincoln or Boston, as the local health economy tackles a projected £300m shortfall by 2020 as a result of the austerity freeze on NHS spending.
“Elsewhere in the country we have seen the ‘temporary’ closure of Chorley A&E in Lancashire which is now set to run on, and many more plans to ‘centralise’ services to save money.
“So unless there are big changes in government policy it’s likely that – despite local plans for 14,000 new homes to be built in the area – Grantham hospital will be one of a growing list of A&Es closed without consultation, pleading staff shortages and ‘safety’ concerns, while lives are put at risk.
“Local people must demand their councils and MPs challenge each of these cutbacks with PM Theresa May.”
Keep Our NHS Public was formed in 2005 and has a broad-based, public membership. There are 38 local groups, plus a national association. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation [1,2] and privatisation of the NHS by campaigning for a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS, available to all on the basis of clinical need. It is opposed to cuts in service which run counter to these principles. Further details: www.keepournhspublic.com
KONP’s Campaigns and Press Officer is Alan Taman:
07870 757 309
 Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigely, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press.
Leys, C. and Player, S. (2011) The Plot Against the NHS. Pontypool: Merlin
Lister, J. (2008) The NHS After 60: For Patients or Profits? London: Middlesex University Press
Owen, D. (2014) The Health of the Nation: The NHS in Peril. York: Methuen, Chapter 4.
Player, S. (2013) ‘Ready for market’. In NHS SOS ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. London: Oneworld, pp.38-61.
 The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models
[Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press. Chapters 2 and 8.
Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon.
Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. Oneworld: London, 174.]