Principles are under threat

It should come as no surprise that when NHS Suffolk accepted the bid from Serco to administer Suffolk’s health service, effectively handing over the health and care of our population to a private contractor, that the health needs for Suffolk residents took a turn for the worse.

When profit, instead of people’s health and wellbeing, became the barometer for measuring success, then the founding principles of Aneurin Bevan’s health service of “available at point of need,” “free at point of need” and that it is based on “clinical requirements, not ability to pay,” is seriously under threat.

In the postcode lottery created by the coalition, no charity or social enterprise has any chance of being able to outbid such enterprises as Serco, which has the financial muscle to undercut them with little difficulty.

That is exactly what happened here in Suffolk. Serco then went about making the savings to claw back its outlay – the result being a threat to our services, patients being put at risk, with the elderly and disabled placed at greatest risk.

Anyone who has found it necessary to require aftercare as a consequence of surgery or serious illness will be aware of the gradual erosion of care being provided.

This care will only get worse when the shareholder has more control over the provider than people with medical expertise.

The people of Suffolk deserve better – we should have been consulted before privatising our health service, we should certainly be consulted when physiotherapists, clinicians, nurses, carers and other essential health workers are being sacked for no other reason than profit.

How can you reduce the number of physiotherapists by 50 per cent and still argue that the service will be as good?

How can you argue that aftercare in community hospitals, when reduced from six weeks to five days, will improve patient aftercare?

And how can you say that significantly cutting nursing staff and occupational therapists will provide an improved service?

But they don’t want to consult with you, the patients, or you, the public, after all you are only the taxpayer.

Many of you have been paying National Insurance all of your lives to ensure that when you get a bit older and a bit frailer, there will be someone there to care for you. Well, don’t count on it.

If you care about these things, contact your MP. It’s easy to find them if you are on the internet, just enter “my MP” in your browser, put your post code in and their contact details will be available to you.

If you are not on the internet, pop down to the library or your local council office, they should be able to help you.

On another matter, I felt compelled to respond to John Fosker’s outrageous comments in last week’s letter columns.

Firstly, he needs to get his facts right. While I and my fellow councillors take responsibility for the “hump” in King Street, we are not responsible for the signage which is the responsibility of Suffolk County Council.

The town council has raised the matter with the county council.

More importantly, his personal attack on the town clerk is not acceptable – it is the elected representatives who make the decisions and the officers’ role is to implement those decisions.

Jack Owen

Mayor of Sudbury

Catesby Meadow

Sudbury