Earlier today, after scrapping plans to attend Lib Dem conference in Harrogate, I joined NHS staff, Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners in a rally at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Romsey Road, before walking with them to the Butter Cross, where local people backed the staff’s campaign and signed petitions supporting the NHS.
The problem is the formula – the so-called ‘York formula’ – used to decide how much of the NHS’s money we should get here in Winchester. Labour’s system of funding the NHS doesn’t give Winchester a fair share of the national NHS budget.
Mark has already met the Secretary of State for Health and the Strategic Health Authority to ask for fairer funding.
Every year we have seen the local hospital face cuts and budget pressure. It’s caused real problems for staff and patients. The hospital does a wonderful job but it’s made harder by the endless demand to save money. Each year doctors, nurses and other staff keep going despite the pressure.
Some changes make sense – allowing more short stays in hospital and sharing specialist skills with Southampton – but now “enough is enough”. The latest cuts and ward closures must be the end. We can’t allow any more cuts or services to go.
This is not a scare campaign – our hospital is still safe and will not close – but the government and the local health authority must be told that it just can’t be hit with more cuts in the next financial year. We need local people’s help to get this message across – that’s why we are also asking them to sign our ‘enough is enough’ petition.