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defend enfield nhs logoA newly formed group of concerned Enfield residents is monitoring changes to NHS services in the borough and plans to form a focus for resistance to further cuts and privatisation.

Members of "Defend Enfield NHS" are particularly concerned about the severe cost-cutting measures that are being forced upon the organisation that purchases all health services in the borough - the Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group (Enfield CCG).

"More difficult to qualify for treatment"

In response to demands to cut costs, Enfield CCG has drawn up proposals to "reduce the level of approval" for many services.  According to Palmers Green resident Martin Blanchard, himself a retired doctor, "They want to make it more difficult to qualify for some treatments, such as prescribing hearing aids.  They want to discharge patients from hospital even more quickly than they do already, and they want to treat more people outside of hospitals. We are concerned that there will in effect be rationing and those who can afford it will use their savings to pay for private healthcare - but what happens when their money runs out or their insurer refuses to pay?"

defend enfield nhs membersThe founding members of Defend Enfield NHS, several of whom have worked in the NHS: "We know how well the NHS can perform, and have seen the damage that serial 'efficiency savings' can do to the availability and quality of care".

Special measures

The group say that the "special measures" are being imposed as a punishment, because Enfield CCG is seen to be "overspending".  In fact, they say, this is not because the CCG is "inefficient", but simply reflects the fact that the amount of funding that central government allocates to the NHS in Enfield is plainly insufficient.

"You can't get a quart in a pint pot"

As for talk of "inefficiency", Defend Enfield NHS point to research that has repeatedly shown that by international standards the English NHS is the most efficient in the world.  Recent service deterioration and numerous NHS crises have come about because demand has increased without funding keeping up:  "You can't get a quart in a pint pot", the group points out.  "Funding similar to Europe would bring the NHS an extra £40 billion a year and a lot of its troubles would be over!"

"Close to breaking point"

The country's most senior NHS manager, Simon Stevens, has talked about a £22 billion "black hole" building up by 2020. Unfortunately, his words appear to have fallen on deaf ears in No 10 Downing Street.  On Friday the Guardian reported that "Theresa May has told the head of the NHS that it will get no extra money despite rapidly escalating problems that led to warnings this week that hospitals are close to breaking point."

Defend Enfield NHS hope that by scrutinizing the activities of local NHS officials and letting the general public know what is going on, they can build effective resistance to the rundown and privatisation of health services.

Find out more

If you want to know more or are interested in joining, you can contact the group at or visit their Facebook page.

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