December 2, 2017 by Protect Our NHS
On October 17th 2017 six people from Bristol’s Protect our NHS (PoNHS) visited Southmead Hospital, run by North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT), to give out leaflets from a stall just outside the main hospital entrance. These were about planned cuts in NHS spending in the Bristol, North Somerset and and South Gloucestershire region and information about how to raise concerns.
There was also a petition to Sarah Wollaston, Chair of the Commons Health Select Committee, appealing for her help in requesting adequate funding for the NHS which many members of the public, patients & staff were keen to sign. As they took leaflets many people said they were extremely grateful that PoNHS was there.
Unfortunately after about 30 minutes some very polite security guards arrived and told the stall-holders they had to leave as they were ‘on private land’. [We will address the nature of public body / private property in another blog]
What was clear was that the presence of PoNHS as defenders of this NHS hospital, its staff and patients was not welcome on site.
Now contrast this with 25th November when another person, this time Jeremy Hunt, visited the same hospital. This is the person who is currently responsible for the break-up of and under-funding in the NHS, causing told pressures on hospital staff and frustration, at best, and misery, at worse, for many patients.
North Bristol Trust celebrated this visit with this tweet:
Responses from staff were predictably a little less #NBTproud as the Daily Mirror reported. The Bristol Post reported angry staff responses to NBT’s Facebook postings of several photos of Mr Hunt proclaiming it was “proud to welcome” him for a “passionate talk on challenging staff”.
One wrote in the comments’ section: “If he wants it to be the best and safest healthcare system worldwide he needs to give us adequate funding and pay” adding “I reckon most staff are with me in being more disgusted than proud in having him foisted on us for a photo opportunity.”
Another wrote: “The best way this idiot can improve pt (patient) safety is to resign or dramatically increase funding.”
This is a NHS hospital trust which reports on page 55 in its Statement of Financial Position at the end of October 2017 a deficit of over £34 million (Total Capital and Reserves).
A hospital that doesn’t welcome people on site passionately campaigning for a properly-funded NHS.
A hospital that welcomes with pride the person responsible for overseeing its under-funding.
What a strange world we live in.