Gloucestershire's community health services - nine community hospitals, nine health clinics, and other county-wide services (see list below) - have been scheduled for transfer out of the NHS by the Board of NHS Gloucestershire.
But Social Enterprise Trust or Community Interest Companies like Gloucestershire Care Services CIC, which has been proposed to take over the services, are not an alternative to the break up and privatisation of the NHS - they are part of that process. If the transfer goes ahead, services will be judged not on the basis of need and quality but whether they will be successful in the competitive market, staff terms and conditions will be attacked, patient care will suffer, and accountability to the public will be lost.
A legal case in Gloucestershire, supported by local anti-cuts groups, challenges the claim of management that there was no alternative to social enterprise. It puts the option of keeping staff and services in the NHS back on the table, if management want to consider it. Elsewhere campaigns have successfully defended NHS services.
The legal case can buy us time to campaign together against social enterprise, but we must put pressure on the Board of NHS Gloucestershire to make the right decision. They can legally keep the serives in the NHS and do not have to open services up to private sector competition. Integration with an NHS trust locally or nationally is one route, and as has happened elsewhere, it could be possible to set up a new NHS trust - there is no legal barrier to this (but it would be a matter of Department of Health approval).
The services affected include District Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Specialist Nursing, and Out of hours medical and nursing services. Pharmacy, Sexual Health and Chlamydia screening, Podiatry, Dental services, Wheelchair services, Musculo-skeletal services, Telehealth and Specialist Domiciliary care are also to be transferred to Gloucestershire Care Services Community Interest Company.
Nine community hospitals (Stroud, Cirencester, Dilke, Fairford, Lydney, Bourton (Moore Cottage), Moreton, Tewkesbury, and the new Vale Hospital in Dursley) and nine health clinics (Beeches Green Stroud, Stonehouse Health Clinic, Cinderford Health Centre, Coleford Health Centre, Lydney Health Centre, Hesters Way Healthy Living Centre, Holts Health Centre Newent, Lydbrook Health Centre, Symn Lane Clinic (Wotton-under-Edge)) are also part of the plans.
We the undersigned demand that NHS Gloucestershire reconsider and change their decision to transfer NHS staff and services to Gloucestershire Care Services (GCS-CIC), a Community Interest Company or Social Enterprise.
These are private companies, outside the NHS,which will be run as businesses, and after a few years the private sector will be able to compete for contracts.
NHS Gloucestershire management plan for Gloucestershire Care Services CIC to run Gloucestershire's community hospitals and all services currently provided by Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust. We support the legal case that has been launched to aid the campaign to 'Keep Gloucestershire's NHS Public'.
We also oppose all attempts to bring private sector funding into the NHS including the Health and Social Care Bill which removes all barriers to privatisation.
The Keep Gloucestershire's NHS Public petition to Board of NHS Gloucestershire was written by Stroud Against the Cuts and is in the category Health at GoPetition.