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Bromyard Community Hospital victory
Sean McCauley, Worcester Socialist Party
The in-patient unit at Bromyard Community Hospital, which was set to close, has been saved after the Wye Valley NHS Trust board backed down due to pressure from staff and the local community.
A 250-strong public meeting last week was enough to show people's anger at the action of the Trust board. Richard Beeken, the Chief Executive has been humbled and made to backtrack at an incredible speed.
At the meeting he was regularly shown up for what he is; an apologist for the Tory cuts agenda.
Decisions not to use bank and agency staff to cover absence on the ward were as a result of the pressure to make "savings" ie cuts within the Wye Valley NHS Trust.
The parlous state of the finances within the Trust is because of the disastrous Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with Mercia Healthcare, which has crippled the NHS here.
Staff once more have stepped in to save services. The reorganisation of rotas and leave have figured highly in the proposals made by staff to management as a way of solving the problem.
The campaign is keen to ensure that any solutions which involve staff should not involve any deterioration in pay and conditions, even in the short term.
This is not over though. Senior management statements have made it clear that they see this only as a temporary fix. They give no guarantees that similar announcements will not be made in the future.
We need to stay vigilant and will continue to ensure that Bromyard Hospital's in-patient ward is kept open and fully staffed for its intended capacity - and for staff to be paid appropriate trade union negotiated compensation for any extra services offered.
We also demand that the Wye Valley NHS Trust's books are opened up to trade union and community campaigners' scrutiny and the PFI contract with Mercia Healthcare is cancelled.
In The Socialist 9 September 2015:
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