Recently a free newspaper called Public Eye, the newspaper of Unison NW Anglia health branch, was inserted in the Mercury.
The whole of the back page was devoted to an article which outlines the projected demise of Stamford and Hinchingbrooke Hospitals as a means of raising cash to offset the deficit at the PFI Peterborough City Hospital.
I know this will not be news to many as the writing was on the wall years ago.
When I was working as a district nurse in Bourne area and the Butterfield Hospital was closed , one of the GPs said to me “Just you watch they will want the Bourne Hospital next. It will mean a bigger slice of the budget goes to Peterborough.”
At that time that hospital was invaluable to us and the people locally and closure was unthinkable.
Well that day has come and gone and now the writing is on the wall for Stamford. Believe me, the way in which services have been run down in our invaluable hospital is no accident.
Patients would ask us not to send them to Fenland house in Peterborough as they were truly cared for in Hurst ward, and furthermore their relatives could go and visit regularly without travelling too far.
Yes, the care has gone out of our services but it is not the people who deliver them who are to blame, it is the politicians.
They are cynically plundering all that we hold dear about delivering services to ordinary people and offering instead a watered- down substitute that looks as if they are upholding values but which is only to balance their books,and absolve the Government of any financial commitment to maintain services, while freeing them to continue wasting money on other more important-to them- schemes.
I have no idea how we can halt this slide towards loss of services locally but intend to join The Friends of Stamford Hospital and add my voice in any rally that the union holds.
Yes, Stamford is a jewel of a town but there are thieves out there lurking who have designs on it!
St Clements, Stamford
The news that the South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group is soon to take over the provision of NHS services in this area is not a good thing if you believe in the social principle of health services being provided directly by the state.
The way clinical commissioning works is that all NHS services will be “bought” by clinical commissioning groups. I am concerned that private companies are allowed to tender for NHS contracts, leading to privatisation by the back door.
Although health services would remain publicly funded and free at the point of use, the reality is that some services may not be directly provided by the NHS.
Clinical commissioning has already been applied to patient transport services in the East Midlands, where Arriva and NSL Care Services are now providing this service instead of the NHS.
Private companies exist solely to make a profit and I am worried that profit will be put before patients as a consequence of the new clinical commissioning system.
Are clinical commissioning groups simply going to buy services from the cheapest bidder, thereby putting financial priorities ahead of service provision?
Given that the uncertainty regarding whether the operating theatre at Stamford Hospital will remain open and the fact that the decision rests with the new South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, it does make you wonder.
If the purpose of the new clinical commissioning system is to reduce the cost of the NHS, you only have to look at the example of fully privatised industries such as the railway companies and utility companies for evidence that this will not work.
The Labour Party has pledged to end this privatisation experiment in the NHS and I look forward to the day when this happens.
South Kesteven district councillor councillor and former Stamford town councillor (Lab)