District general hospitals like Stafford should be the “hub” of the NHS, not facing reductions in services, a leading campaigner has said.
“These hospitals should all be part of a supportive network based around the local community,” Dr Louise Irvine told the Newsletter.
“You can’t take one part of the system out without leaving a gap - and that will have consequences for patients.”
Dr Irvine, chairwoman of London’s Save Lewisham Hospital campaign, said she was aiming to work with Stafford protesters and other groups around the country to coordinate their protests over controversial health reforms.
She said protest groups were raising similar concerns over services being moved to other hospitals that they feared did not have the capacity to cope.
“The government is not spending enough on community facilities, hpositals are working at capacity, and the result will be longer waiting lists and more people on trolies in A&E,” said Dr Irvine, who is a member of the BMA,s national council and works as a GP in Lewisham.
“The NHS needs major investment and real forward-planning so that health services are coordinated and also work together with social care.”
“Instead we have seen £3 billion wasted on the previous health secretary Andrew Lansley’s top-down reorganisation, as well as the expense of having to put services out to tender, and the cost of PFI deals.
“That is all money that could be spent on patient care.”
Dr Irvine, who spent the weekend camping out with the Stafford protesters, was accompanied on her visit by fellow campaigner Kathy Cruise, a Lewisham nurse, and by a delegation from pressure group Lewisham People Before