Friday, 11 July 2014

'There's no public support for hospital pharmacy services sell-off' say campaigners

Hot ticket: local Labour parliamentary candidates
Amina Lowe and Cat Smith
join the 'No Health Sell-Off' campaign

Community campaigners 'No Health Selloff at Morecambe Bay' have written to Morecambe Bay NHS Hospitals Trust chief executive Jackie Daniel urging her to recognise the need to keep pharmacy services in house

Signed by Lancaster resident Ronnie Kershaw on behalf of the No Health Selloff at Morecambe Bay group, the letter explained that:

During the last two weeks we have spoken to several thousand members of the public across the Trust area who voiced their strong opposition to this plan, as well as signing our petition to demonstrate their support for our campaign.  We would also suggest that at this critical time for the Trust, you should not be considering actions which risk undermining public confidence in the Trust's services. 

“We strongly believe that there is no support for the outpatients’ pharmacy service being outsourced and call on the Trust to reconsider its plans and to listen to the vehement opposition shown by the people across Morecambe Bay.”

Community campaigners from across Morecambe Bay and Lancaster have joined forces to build a new alliance to oppose the sell-off of NHS services at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, the Westmorland General Hospital and Furness General Hospital. The group launched a major campaign at the end of June to  gather support from local people and deliver a stark warning over the future of the NHS in the hands of the current government.

A contract for pharmacy services worth in the region of £25 million is currently up for grabs which could mean a private company, currently tipped as being tax-offshoring Alliance Boots, would be brought in to profit from medication provided by the NHS, not only providing the medication, but also administering it, or some of it, which will need an exceptionally high standard of organisation at ward level.  Campaigners fear this will be just the tip of the iceberg with swathes of other services being taken out of the NHS by stealth.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust rust was recently taken under special measures following repeated failures to meet standards set out by the Care Quality Commission (read previous story here).

Campaigners will be in Lancaster Town Centre at St Nicholas Arcade and Morecambe Arndale Centre between 11am and 1pm on Saturday 12th July collecting more signatures for the group’s petition. You can find out more about the group and see pictures from their many recent campaign appearances in the area on their facebook page at 'No Health Selloff at Morecambe Bay'.

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