Campaigners fight for ‘starved’ NHS

Campaigners fought the cold weather on Saturday (November 26) to fight for the future of the health service

Campaigners fought the cold weather on Saturday (November 26) to fight for the future of the health service

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Members from Mid Sussex Labour Party flocked the streets on Saturday (November 26) to fight for the ‘future of the NHS’.

The team joined campaigners across the country as part of the National Campaign Action Day in a bid to ‘stand up for the health service’.

The team joined campaigners across the country as part of the National Campaign Action Day

The team joined campaigners across the country as part of the National Campaign Action Day

Party members were out in force to meet the public in East Grinstead and Burgess Hill, from 10am, and asked the public to sign a petition calling on Prime Minister, Theresa May, to ‘give the NHS the funding it needs’.

“We had a good morning handing out leaflets in the centre of town,” said Brian Sturtevant, chairman of East Grinstead Labour Party.

He added: “Despite the cold and grey day it was obvious that our message was getting through to the public.”

It was a similar story in Burgess Hill and Pam Haigh, chair of Mid Sussex Labour Party, said the team were ‘fighting against the destructive impact of Conservative Austerity Policies’, which have been ‘deliberately engineered to roll back the public sector and undermine the fabric of social support in every area of people’s lives’.

She said: “The public realise this and hundreds of people took our leaflets and many signed our petition.”

The chair added that the pressure on funding in the NHS has ‘direct consequences for Mid Sussex residents’.

“They fear the consequences of a harsh winter and the impact that, combined with the lack of funding, will have on waiting times at our local hospitals.

“The public wants to see the NHS protected, fully funded and remaining in the public sector, they oppose any privatisation in the NHS,” Pam said.

Party member, Greg Mountain, said the public had seen ‘growing waiting times’ at accident and emergency departments in both Haywards Heath and Brighton hospital sites and ‘ever-growing delays’ for patients needing a hospital bed.

He said: “Some patients cannot be released because cuts in homecare support budgets mean they have nowhere safe to go.

“Locally we face great uncertainty on how our local hospitals will be administered in the future.”

Mr Mountain added that it was time to ‘stand up’ for the heath service, before it is ‘deliberately starved into the hands of private sector profiteers.’

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust (BSUH) was placed in special measures in August.

The trust, which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital, the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and the Sussex Eye Hospital, was put in special measures because of concerns over the quality of care.

The trust was then placed in financial measures in October.

“This means the trust was unable to live within its budget and needed to find ways to improve financial performance at the inevitable cost of patient care,” Greg said.

He added: “The proposal of a closer link with Western Sussex Hospitals is just a sticking plaster over the crisis of under-funding which winter will only make worse.”

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Go to www.midsussextimes.co.uk/christmas/