We want the decision to close wards and cut jobs at Stepping Hill to be reversed. We want the Government to fund the hospital and the NHS sufficiently to provide safe and comprehensive care.
Why is this important?
Stepping Hill serves a large geographical area in Greater Manchester. It has been chosen as one of the specialist hospitals in Greater Manchester as a result of the Healthier Together reforms that were intended to improve patient care and save lives. The loss of jobs and beds at the hospital can only have the opposite effect.
We want Ann Barnes to tell the people of Stockport and the surrounding area why, without consultation, the board have taken the decision to immediately and permanently close the surgical ward B3, to temporarily close 8 trauma and orthopaedic beds from October and to make 400 people redundant. This came as a shock to everyone. We want this decision reversed.
We are aware that these are cost-cutting measures forced by a deficit estimated to be £40 million. This is an entirely predictable result of a policy of progressive under-funding of the NHS that began in 2010. We now spend 25% less of our GDP on healthcare compared with the European average and more pressure has been placed on all hospitals including Stepping Hill as a result of reductions in social care funding.
We therefore also call on Jeremy Hunt as Secretary of State for Health to change the austerity policy of under-funding of the NHS, to increase spending to provide a publically run service, free at the point of need. The people of Stockport and the surrounding area own Stepping Hill Hospital and it must survive.