Health bosses are plotting to privatise a London hospital ward where elderly patients with mental health problems are cared for.
Managers at South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust want to outsource the running of the 20-bed Fuschias Ward at Tolworth Hospital, in Surbiton.
The GMB union discovered the privatisation plan this week. GMB officer for NHS staff Gavin Davies warned that outsourcing could lead to losing the ward altogether.
“Once the patient number gets down to three or less the patients will be moved to an alternative location. If they get away with treating elderly patients this way, then it will open the door for downgrading our NHS services.”
Around 2,000 people marched against closures at the Alexandria Hospital last Saturday. Worcester Acute Hospitals Trust has six proposals to save £50 million. They range from shutting down the A&E ward to closing the whole hospital.
The Save the Alex campaign organised the protest. Neal Stote from the campaign said the protest was “fantastic”.
He added, “It’s clear from the turnout how people feel about these proposals.” If any wards are shut, the nearest alternatives are a 40 minute drive away.
The campaign is promising more protests in the coming weeks to keep pressure on the trust. They also have a meeting with health ministers.
Unison Mid-Yorkshire Health Branch are being balloted for strikes and action short of strikes over job and pay cuts. Up to 55 full time jobs could be lost and some staff are set to lose up to £2,700 each year.
Reballots have opened the way to bigger struggle