Monday, 18 March 2013


Furness Against the Cuts is not dead - just dormant and is likely to remain so for a while despite the mounting number of assaults on local services and on the standard of living of the Furness population in general.  It is possible that, at some time in the near future, an individual volunteer might choose to stand in the town centre, hand out leaflets and appeal for local support to restore FAC but, based on previous experience, this is unlikely to achieve anything noteworthy. 

The recent 'Thousand Voices' campaign to halt downgrading of the maternity unit at Furness General Hospital,(FGH), initiated and led by Mandy Telford, wife of Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock, was most successful and culminated in a Public Meeting attended by almost 400 members of the public some of whom raised several other issues of concern such as ward closures and other cost-cutting measures such as enlisting porters as 'deep clean' staff - a very responsible job for trained nurses who 'deep clean' contaminated surgical areas - seen as a cost-cutting ploy because porters are paid much less than trained nurses.  

The meeting was informed that steps had been taken regarding staffing of the Maternity Unit and there would now be no 'downgrading'.  This was followed by a warning that UHMBT (University Hospital of Morecambe Bay Trust) was required to make savings of £50 million over the next five years; this would involve ending some services (such as specialist vascular services) and the transferring of others (such as urology services) to Kendal, and the possible closure of three wards - one medical, and one surgical and gynaecological.

As stated above, the Thousand Voices campaign was a 'single issue' campaign - saving maternity services at FGH - but this leaves other matters untouched.  It is a bit like celebrating having put out a fire in the kitchen and ignoring the smouldering fires in other rooms of the house resulting in a sudden and catastrophic conflagration.  - the FGH building will not be destroyed but the National Health Service as we have known it will cease to exist.  What is more, if privatisation is completed (and given the apparent apathy of the ENGLISH public this is most likely) then under the privatisation rules of the European Union the NHS will be lost to Big Business for ever even though they will cynically retain the NHS logo.

Private health will only apply in England - Wales and Scotland retain the principles of the NHS 'free at the point of need' hospitalisation, free care for the elderly, free prescriptions and no hospital car parking charges. (And no fees for higher education, either!)

But none of these things are mentioned by the local press.  The editorial (Our View) of the Friday 8th March NW Evening Mail carried the glib heading 'Tough times lead to tough choices' and went on to defend the proposed merging of porters and staff qualified for 
'heavy duty cleaning' and that this move will not present any dangers for patients.  (Where have we heard that one before? Muddz) However, not content with leaving it at that, the poisonous individual who wrote the piece could not resist an opportunity for a bit of 'politics bashing'....
'We must be careful not to mix politics with people's emotions'  Yes, mention politics - that's a good ploy to squash somebody's view.  And so original - NOT.  And how naughty of the union to upset people with warnings about the health risks of 'cheap' solutions.....
...followed up with the inevitable well-worn old-fashioned 'union bashing' thrown in for good measure....
'There are legitimate ways for the unions to raise their concerns - but scaremongering must not be one of them.'  Now that's really rich coming from this little nasty hypocritical rag of a paper when, some time ago, it backed a completely fictional campaign by that local political opportunist, Jamshid Hamezeian, who claimed there was a threat to maternity services at FGH (based upon a report by Labour councillor J. Piddock in which this came up as just one of several options for consideration which he knew would be dismissed as unacceptable) This was made clear at a full council meeting but it did not deter Hamezeian or the Evening Mail from continuing their outrageous scam - the Evening Mail to increase its circulation figures and Hamezeian to enhance his chances of being re-elected onto the town council.  
Maybe if there had been some genuine scaremongering by the unions in this town then some of our townsfolk would not have later fallen foul of Legionnaires disease.  (The result of yet another 'cost-cutting' measure - but who really cares?  Muddz)

It has been announced just recently that the oncology unit at FGH is to close - much to the surprise of our MP, John Woodcock. (I wonder what he might have said if this news had been released before the public meeting?  And what did I write - above - about smouldering fires in other rooms? Muddz)

Until FAC returns to campaigning status, matters regarding local cuts issues will appear on -
to view, click on the link but be warned.....this is a website dedicated to the wellbeing of all who depend solely upon a wage or a salary to earn a living and, subsequently, the smashing of the capitalist system of exploitation.  So, if you are not a worker or a socialist, the site will be of little interest to you.