Saturday, 7 April 2012

Last line of defence: to #savethenhs

Now that the headlines have moved on I suspect that "Westminster" will not be thinking about the NHS so much.  But it's now that the major impact of the NHS bill is going to start.

So what can we do to save the NHS in our own local areas?

Then we need to start getting active.  GPs have patient sounding boards, and you can ask at the surgery to join and there is the Reading link group that you can contact or get involved with

Foundation trusts have governors and members.  Being a member is very easy and means you have to be kept informed, can vote for governors and have a say in how the trust is run.  For example South Central Ambulance Service that runs Reading's ambulance has just become a foundation trust and is looking for members.  It took me 1 minute to sign up as a member.  There's also the Royal Berkshire hospital trust locally that you should join if you haven't already.

Being a governor is a step further but in order to safe guard the NHS it's crucial that the governors of foundation trusts are committed to protecting it and once you are a member you will be alerted when there are vacancies.

I would also write to your local council urging them to hold health and well-being board meetings in public.  Not many councils have decided to do that yet, Reading is one and we think it will help ensure accountability and clarity on the issues.


The final thing, and of course I would say this, is to make sure that your local council has councillors who believe in the NHS.  That's because local councils will have some ability to provide oversight and challenge to healthcare providers in their areas.  Make sure you are registered to vote and then vote on 3rd May!  Of course you might read this is another way of saying vote Labour - and of course we are unequivocally committed to reversing the competition in the bill as a national policy, and committed to standing up for the NHS locally in Reading in the meantime.  Yes, it's party political but it wasn't the Labour party that put the politics back into the NHS: in 2010 I would have said there was cross party consensus on the NHS!


'The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it'