Protest staged over future of NHS services

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Nurses from Liverpool Community Health lobbying the Clinical Commissioning Group. Pic by Rhys Edmondson © JMU Journalism

Groups of demonstrators gathered outside the Lewis’s Building on Renshaw Street to show their support for the NHS on Tuesday.

‘Sack the CGG, not nurses’ was one of the messages directed at the Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, whose officials were meeting at the building to discuss plans for local health services.

In November, it was announced that services provided by Liverpool Community Health, such as district nursing, health visitors and walk-in centres across the city and parts of Sefton, would be shared between two new rival bidders.

Merseycare and Bridgewater Community Care are due to take over the work of LCH in April this year, but a leaked report warned that £5m could be taken from the budget due to a lower bid.

Protester Chris Clare, a nurse from LCH, said she was worried about cuts to local health services and job losses, telling JMU Journalism: “We want some answers because we are getting taken over by Bridgewater . They’re coming under budget and the contract has been accepted. Merseycare put a bid in for the same bid and they never got it.

“Bridgewater at the moment is on a hold because there are loads of issues, according to the Quality Care Commission, and they’re failing.”

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“The NHS have got a five-year plan but Bridgewater is only taking us over for two years. We want to know why they’re only taking us over for two years and not five years, like most NHS plans. We just want to know what is happening. We’re not getting any answers.”

Colin Scales, the Chief Executive of Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We share the same vision for Liverpool’s community services as the staff do – to further improve community-based care for the people of the city by retaining and developing the services currently provided in the city.

“We’re an NHS organisation and it means Liverpool’s community services will very much remain as part of the NHS, with terms and conditions and high quality clinical working practices involved.”

Merseyside Pensioner’s Association disapprove of the CCG’s plans. Pic by Rhys Edmondson © JMU Journalism

Also in protest were members of the Merseyside Pensioners’ Association (MPA), who held placards criticising the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP).

The controversial proposals could see several hospitals in the region close in a bid to save £1bn by 2021.

Julie Williams from the Merseyside Pensioners’ Association told JMU Journalism: “The NHS is very dear to the hearts of pensioners and it impacts very heavily when cuts are made, but we’re also concerned about the Women’s Hospital.

“We believe it should stay on its site with more investment and we believe what is happening is that private companies are going to be allowed to get their hands on the NHS. We are for a National Health Service, free at the point of delivery, paid for by taxation.”

About Rhys Edmondson, JMU Journalism