Tuesday, December 05, 2006

From the BBC website after todays outrageous presentation by the P.M

NHS changes 'about saving money'
The government has launched a charm offensive to convince critics that hospital reconfigurations are not just about cutting costs.

But many remain unconvinced.

NHS rally
Protesters believe changes are being motivated by cash shortages

Huntingdon, Worthing, Epsom and Redditch are hardly known for their militancy.

But like many other towns across the country, they have seen demonstrations on a previously unheralded scale.

The protesters, who include residents, NHS staff and MPs, are united in their concerns over their local health services.

They fear the proposed cuts to A&E departments and other key hospital services which are being put forward by local health chiefs are being driven by money.

The NHS racked up a deficit of over £500m last year and is predicting another one this year.

The financial advantage in closing A&E, maternity or trauma departments is obvious.

Karen Jennings, head of health at Unison, said: "The climate of debt in the NHS puts the development
of new policy under suspicion.

"We are extremely concerned that these policies may be being driven by deficits, not what is best for
patient care.

"The key to developing new policy in the NHS must be asking the experts - the staff who work in it - and the announcements have been made without any prior consultation.

"If we move towards more specialist units we still need to ensure that patients have access to really
good local A&E departments.