SPEECH: NHS campaigner Maria Pizzey

On Friday 9 December 11 people from East Kent interrupted a meeting of the board of directors of the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust about the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP)  which the government has asked all health care systems in England to draw up. One of the protestors, Green Party member Maria Pizzey, delivered the following speech:

We are here today to demand, that this board of directors, whose purpose is to serve the population of East Kent, speak openly and honestly about the STP, which is the government’s tool for further privatisation and the dismantling of our NHS.

East Kent’s draft STP outlines the downgrading of services to leave just one A&E site with a trauma unit to provide care for a populace of 1.5 million people.

This means people will die.

Rife with jargon and terminology, the STP has been designed to be obtuse and inaccessible for the public, so as to present itself as a positive step towards saving the future of our NHS services. When in fact its purpose is to accelerate Simon Stevens’ Five Year Forward View and hasten the privatisation of service delivery.

Nationally, we are seeing the closure of A&E departments and Consultant led maternity services. The 5 year forward view seeks to centralise the expensive, non-profitable elements of the NHS, separating the good investments from the non-profitable, preparing for large scale privatisation. We know how fond Stevens is of private healthcare, having been the president of the largest health insurance company in the United States, prior to being installed as the head of NHS England by a Tory government.

Written in jargon and spin, the draft STP seeks to deceive the public into the ‘case for change’ and a false sense of security that their NHS will be preserved. The £101 million debt that the Trust has accumulated is being presented as an overspend.

This is dishonest.

The members of this board must speak out about the de-funding of the NHS and present this debt as it truly is – an under-funding by central government.

I quote the STP: ‘Your own bed is the best bed’. What this really means is there will be no other bed available for you. Discharged as early as possible, patients will be reliant on social care providers for their recovery. We all know the current unfit state of the privately operated social care sector.

The people of East Kent are depending on this board of directors to truly have their best interests at heart. We know the track record of your CEO, Matthew Kershaw and his attempts at cutting viciously in Lewisham and Brighton. You hold the future of peoples’ lives and health in your hands. The least you owe them is the transparency and honesty to tell them what these plans really mean. Each of you are responsible for ensuring the truth behind these plans is made known.

Don’t lie to us.

Don’t do Simon Stevens’ dirty work.

No closure.

No downgrade.

We will not be betrayed.

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