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18 May 2013
NHS Public Meeting

The End Of The NHS:

What does in mean for Berwick?

Public Meeting

Saturday May 18, 1pm, St Cuthbert's Hall, Berwick

How to defend our NHS

Organised by Berwick Trades Union Council

Sponsored by the TUC.

Health in Berwick and Northumberland - The Future?

The following issues were identified and have great significance for the residents of Berwick and North Northumberland:

1. Will the new commissioning body continue to commission the provision of services for Berwick and North Northumberland residents at Borders Regional Hospital which is part of the separate Scottish system?

• These services will be commissioned for the coming planning year but their future beyond that is not certain.

2. What services will be provided at both the existing Berwick Infirmary and its proposed replacement?

• Maternity services are under threat and a decision will be taken on Wednesday 22nd of May as to their future. SEE BELOW FOR OUR COMMENT ON THE DECISION TAKEN.

• The general intention in health planning is to move services where possible out of hospitals into community settings.  In particular initial consultant appointments and pre-op assessments can be done in community facilities like Berwick Infirmary. This is particularly valuable given travel difficulties to both Wansbeck and Borders General Hospitals. Will these very useful services be delivered by both hospitals (Wansbeck and Borders)  in Berwick?

3. The meeting also considered the potential impact of the increasing likelihood of the English health service using for profit providers and the detrimental impacts of this development including:

• Massive increase in administrative costs at the expense of services.
• Loss of choice by patients as to who will provide treatment.
• For profit providers ‘dumping’ difficult cases back into the public service system since there is no money to be made from them and for profit providers are much less able to cope with problems emerging during treatment.

Berwick and District Trades Council considers these developments to be of enormous importance for local people and will maintain a campaign around them in order to bring pressure to bear to achieve decent health service provision in Berwick and North Northumberland.

Decision taken by Joint Locality Executive Board of NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG):

We welcome with reservations the decision that maternity services will continue to be provided in Berwick albeit on a reduced basis with a unit open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 2.30pm at weekends with a 24/7 on call service for low risk women who wish to deliver there or at home. Antenatal and postnatal clinics for low and high risk women will continue and there will also be enhanced community midwifery support. We would have preferred a full service but this is better than a complete withdrawal of service.
We note that this decision was taken at Bevan House on the outskirts of Newcastle on the grounds that the logistics of getting Board members to Berwick was ‘too difficult’. A meeting open to the public and dealing with a matter of central interest to Berwick residents should have been held in Berwick and frankly we regard the reason offered for holding it at the other end of Northumberland  (and actually outside the county!) as pathetic.


NHS ---  not for sale!


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