Campaigners to save Accident & Emergency Services at Southport Hospital are stepping up their efforts this week. Petitions are available on-line at www.southportsays.co.uk and www.westlancssays.co.uk and many hundreds have been collected in the first few days. Petitions are also being collected in the streets and in shops and workplaces.
On Thursday evening, in Southport Town Hall, councillors will be debating a motion from local Lib Dem councillors who hope to bring the Council and residents to work together to retain this vital service in Southport. The service has been threatened in secret plans by health bosses which have been ‘leaked’ recently. These plans are called the ‘Cheshire & Merseyside NHS Sustainability & Transformation Programme’ (the STP).
The campaign to retain the A&E service in Southport is being spearheaded by John Pugh MP and Southport Liberal Democrat councillors but these elected representative are seeking involvement from all sections of the community.
Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Sefton, Councillor Sue McGuire who is proposing the motion at the Council meeting on Thursday says:
“The Sustainability & Transformation programme is an attempt to disguise cutbacks in the NHS which is being presented as if it were simply a reconfiguration of services.
“The decisions and plans have been made behind closed doors with no input from patients, residents or healthcare professionals. These proposals will impact on the health and wellbeing of all our communities and, at the very least ,should be made in the open with input and discussion from the people who will be affected.”
The secret plans for Southport & Ormskirk Hospital only came to light because the plans for Cheshire & Merseyside STP were leaked to the Liverpool Echo.
Councillor Tony Dawson, spokesperson on Health and Adult Care for the Lib Team team, says:
“The plans that I have seen clearly show a possible downgrading in A&E service at Southport. The people of Southport, Formby and West Lancashire must all work together to send a clear message to Health Chiefs that this is not an option for our town.”
The full motion is as follows:
“That this Council deplores:
- the severe threat to local NHS Services created by the draft ‘Merseyside and Cheshire Sustainability and Transformation Programme’ (STP) which has been developed in secret to cope with the effects of cutbacks in real terms NHS spending imposed by the government;
- in particular, threats posed in the published plans to NHS services presently provided within Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust, especially its A&E service; within the Aintree Hospital Trust and in respect of Mental Health Services across the Borough; and
- the fact that this STP plan, addressing a £900 million ‘black hole’ in NHS finance across Merseyside and Cheshire over the next five years, has been ‘worked up’ in private with no input into the process from any democratic representatives.
This Council notes:
- that these proposals come at a time when the cash available for Local Authority-delivered care has also been under a substantial reduction and would be placed under unacceptable pressure by further cuts in NHS services.
- recent denials which have been issued following the public ‘leaking’ of these plans but also that these denials have not included any explanation of where else the money would come from; and
- the all-Party NHS Parliamentary Committee, chaired by Dr Sarah Woolaston, has drawn attention to the factual deficiencies in government statements about future funding of the NHS.
This Council resolves:
- to publicise the Cheshire and Merseyside Sustainability and Transformation Programme Plan and to inform the people of the Borough of Sefton of the effects which the changes proposed therein are likely to have on the health and social services provision provided to the local population; and
- to notify the Merseyside and Cheshire NHS Sustainability and Transformation Programme lead and the Secretary of State for Health of its opposition to any programme of cutbacks locally and nationally in the NHS created to meet underfunding by the Conservative Government.”