North West Workshop Report, HCT conference 4 November 2017

Participants were from Chorley & South Ribble, Tameside, Manchester, Liverpool, Bootle


Key Local Points and Issues

Liverpool: campaign to save Women’s Hospital; cuts and closures in maternity services: threat of closing Women’s Hospital and move it to main hospital site.  Meant to be public consultation on 4 options – one of which is to stay on the current site and invest (?£40m).  But now only one option being consulted is on move to main hospital, but because of campaign ?CCG/Trust will look at why the other 3 are not suitable and will look at legal challenges.  The Scrutiny Committee has agreed that all 4 options should be in consultation.  Formal consultation meant to start in January; if there is a delay it could be hit by ‘purdah’ during local elections in May.  Campaign organising a People’s Consultation, have 40,000 signatures on 38 Degrees petition, 8000 on Facebook.  Have done street stalls, spoken to community groups, day school, attended festivals; have raised funds through trade unions, trades councils and Labour Party.  CCG/Trusts(?) trying to merge Royal and Broadgreen (2 sites) with Aintree and Women’s Hospital.


Cheshire & Merseyside: Reconfiguration of services, cuts, eg, in Walk-in Centres: Ellesmere Port walk-in centre to be closed; reducing acute hospitals in Wirral; mental health going to Macclesfield.  Consultation about Orthopaedics, possible moving of services between hospitals and cuts.  All Trusts have financial problems.  Liverpool Mayor and councillors opposing cuts, but, eg, leader of Wirral says it’s the only show in town.


Chorley & South Ribble:  Campaign to save Chorley A&E – did get it reinstated to 12 hours x 7 days a week; campaign is wider now, Trusts in dire financial straits, NW Ambulance – can’t get paramedics, no more vehicles – only 7 in 10 vehicles have trained paramedics.  Monitoring GP surgeries.  Haven’t had support from trade unions in the hospital – climate of fear, and Trust smeared the community campaign, said they were frightening doctors away (from A&E).  CCG in special measures – sanctions held off until 2019, but now talking about ‘any provider’ – could be private.  Have said they don’t want to duplicate services, especially specialist services.


Lancashire: cuts, ACO.  CCG won’t spend money on maternity to get more midwives and aftercare.  Using untrained staff – eg, ambulance service running 6 week courses instead of fully trained paramedics.  Trying to cut A&E waiting times – blame number of people with mental health problems using A&E – paper to stop people using A&E by Ambulance service – will have someone on the phone or a home visit.  Councillors have opposed STP – but set up integrated health care ACO.

[Caroline’s note: sorry – didn’t get all of this – if you want more information on this, probably need to contact Chorley & South Ribble campaign]


Greater Manchester:  All the same problems, but Labour councils all supportive of devolution, and implementing all the existing cuts, downgrading 6 out of 10 hospitals; knock-on effect if close some services puts others in jeopardy (eg, if don’t have A&E or emergency services, affects what else they can do on site).   Staff could be working anywhere in Greater Manchester (hasn’t happened yet); more use of volunteers; more of public health / health promotion being done by voluntary sector; hint of break up of Agenda for Change.  The original deal was £2 billion short, but all the CCGs managed to make even bigger ‘savings’ than they expected – so not surprisingly, missed nearly all targets last winter (A&E waits, waiting times for appointments etc).  However, it’s politically expensive as to how to make the cuts.  Higher level of expenditure on non-NHS providers than we had been aware – between 15-24%.  Difficulty of getting information, ploughing through CCG reports.  Bolton and Stockport have active campaigns against downgrading of hospital / closure of beds.  GMKONP now trying to engage with CLPs, and encourage them to question / challenge councillors about devolution and lack of funding.


Naylor Report – selling off NHS estate:  government pushing this, would give finance to help bail out; easier to do on a bigger area – ACO.  For example, in Huddersfield, want to demolish hospital and build a small one, using PFI, and sell off excess land.  St Helens went bankrupt because of PFI debts – led to more cuts in STP.  Chorley & South Ribble – would have to close things first in order to find a site to sell off.  Wanted to get rid of acute at Chorley and move elective to Preston, and sell off site and lease back.  Manchester – report in Manchester Evening News that plans to knock down 70% of North Manchester General Hospital site and sell off for housing, pre-empted Naylor.


Vulnerable Tory seats:  South Ribble – Seema Kennedy, increased majority but could be vulnerable, Labour didn’t have an active campaign (paper candidate).  Southport – Labour Party transformed and got second place, only 3000 majority.  . Aintree and Women’s Hospital – impact on Southport.  Altrincham – Graham Brady, only 4000 majority.  Bolton West – only 900 majority.  North West Labour Party – can get marginals list


Summary of Main issues

ACO/S – various different forms

Ambulance service – cuts, untrained staff, missing targets

A&E – cuts, mergers, trying to stop people using

Hospitals – cuts, mergers, downgrading

Difficulty getting information

Privatisation / non-NHS providers and use of management consultants

Some difficulties in getting trade unions to support campaigns