Ward Closures And Bed Cuts At The Norfolk & Norwich

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THE Norfolk and Norwich University Foundation Trust (NNUH) has closed two and half wards, around 68 beds.

The closures took place on Monday 15th August, with the Trust stating that this was a temporary measure. Edgefield Urology ward, Cringleford Ward and half of the beds on Holt ward for older people’s medicine have been removed. Urology patients have been distributed to the Day Procedure Unit and another ward. Half the patients from the elderly care ward have been sent to the Discharge Lounge.

This plan was sprung on nursing staff on the Friday before the Monday, to their shock and distress. The drastic closures were pushed through as a result of the NNUH being put into a new ‘financial special measures’ regime on 21st July.

As part of the financial ‘re-set’, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSI) announced that five trusts would immediately be put into the regime. These included Barts Health Trust, Croydon Health Services Trust, Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust and North Bristol Trust as well as the NNUH.

These trusts had not agreed a ‘control total’ for their spending and were planning a deficit for this financial year. As part of the special measures, NHSI has sent in Ian Miller as Improvement Director to NNUH to advise CE Mark Davies how to immediately implement a ‘recovery plan’ and cut spending. He is assisted by the consultancy PriceWaterhouse Coopers.

NHSI has stated that once providers are out of special measures they will be monitored closely to ensure that the recovery plans are continued and carried out. It is obvious that NHSI plans for permanent cuts and closures and the talk of temporary changes cannot be believed.

Norfolk KONP is planning a protest picket at the hospital to restore the beds, on Thursday 15th September 7am to 11am. On Monday September 12th at 8am the Young Socialists are lobbying the TUC Congress in Brighton.

Their principal demand will be that the TUC defends the NHS instead of just standing by and watching the Tories smash it. The lobby will demand that the TUC takes action to stop the NHS closures and smashes the Tory privatisation plans by calling an indefinite general strike to bring down the Tory government and bring in a workers government and socialism.

Hundreds of youth are already joining the lobby, Make sure a coachload comes from your hospital, factory, rail or bus depot, university, 6th Form College or school. Defending the NHS is a matter of life or death. Don’t let the Tories smash it. Join the YS lobby on Monday 12 September and insist that the TUC calls a general strike.