Unions plan hospital protest over cuts

MBTC-Bedford Hospital South Wing. ENGPNL00120130508095221
MBTC-Bedford Hospital South Wing. ENGPNL00120130508095221

Health campaigners are planning demonstrations outside Bedford Hospital on Saturday 20 January at 12pm.

The action has been planned to demonstrate support of the NHS and health workers following reports of the NHS in meltdown & crisis; with operations cancelled, ambulances queuing outside hospitals, long waits in Accident and Emergency and reports of people dying because of lack of ambulances and beds.

Health campaigners are also calling for the NHS to end its local Sustainability and Transformation Partnership with the proposed merger of Bedford and the L&D, which they say has been dragging on for seven years in various forms.

Campaigners say this has created uncertainty about the future of Accident and Emergency, Paediatric and Maternity services in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Instead, campaigners want the millions of pounds being spent on the review process to be invested in patient care.

Rosie Newbigging of Hands off Bedford Hospital said: “The NHS is facing yet another humanitarian disaster with people being forced to sleep on the floor in corridors. This is a shocking state for the NHS to be in.

“The NHS has been systematically starved of money in the last 7 years and massive and urgent investment is required. The uncertainty around the future of core services at the 3 hospitals needs to stop.

“The communities which the 3 hospitals serve have growing populations, a big increase in the numbers of elderly people and significant health inequalities.”

Vincent Charles from UNISON in Luton said: “Staff morale is at rock bottom and there is a crisis of retention and recruitment of nurses. The most vulnerable in society are bearing the brunt of the cuts.”