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From: The Socialist issue 927, 30 November 2016: Time to fight low pay

Search site for keywords: NHS - Cuts - Hospital - Devon - Hospitals - Health - Closures - Virgin - Demonstration - Profit

Stop the Tory cuts

Hands off our NHS!

The People's March for the NHS, London, September 2014, photo Bob Severn

The People's March for the NHS, London, September 2014, photo Bob Severn   (Click to enlarge)

Sean Brogan, Exeter Socialist Party

Exeter will be the scene of a major county-wide demonstration by campaign groups against the huge government cuts to the National Health Service (NHS) On 3 December.

As well as billions of pounds of cuts - rebranded as "efficiency savings" in England - the Tories' misnamed 'Sustainability and Transformation Plans' will force through billions more cuts, with closures to A&Es and other hospital services.

Okehampton, in west Devon, will lose its community hospital. In the south, Paignton will see its hospital close. In the east the proposal is to close Honiton hospital.

The district hospital at Barnstaple, in the north, will lose its maternity and stroke services, leaving a pregnant mum a trip of over an hour - and that's on a good day. These - and many other cuts - mean the loss of hundreds of beds and the downgrading of services.

This is all part of a grand plan to replace these massive losses with 'social care'! The latter is supposed to be supplied by local authorities. But central government grants to local authorities have been cut by a third. And in the recent Autumn Statement there was not a whisper of extra funding for this vital service.

In South Devon, the 'preferred' private group to provide this service has been found to be totally unable to meet this care. It was inspected by the Care Quality Commission and they found a raft of failings: failure to turn up at clients' homes; no idea of the clients' care plan; not listening to clients and their relatives; staff untrained and demoralised as they rush from one client to another.

In the rest of Devon, those who have attended 'consultation' meetings are beginning to see how inadequate all the 'options' are as set out in glossy reports. There's a public groundswell to oppose cuts and closures and to reject the proposals, as they have more to do with money-saving than our health services.

In the background to the cuts sit the vultures of the privateers. The NHS in Devon is already sending patients for operations in private hospitals in Torbay and Exeter.

Virgin is poised to take over even more health services. This is putting the profit motive before our needs. How much longer will it be before we pay for GP appointments?

Those with the wealth can already jump queues for operations taking place in our NHS hospitals. Once we lose our community hospitals we will never get them back!

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