Stop the Proposed Lincolnshire Health Cuts sign now

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is proposing dramatic cuts in key health facilities - from podiatry services to family planning clinics. In a county such as Lincolnshire, which has the second highest teenage pregnancy rate in the East Midlands (39.1 births per 1000 15-17 year old females), this is a very worrying revelation.

It is unacceptable that in a modern, developed country the nations youth should have such vital services withdrawn from them. What makes matters worse is that the trust even recognises that such cuts will have an adverse effect upon teenage pregnancies and the regions sexual health. It is complete madness that, despite knowing this, they are still going ahead with their plans.

Additional pressure will be placed upon doctors who are already massively overstretched and are not as well trained in these areas in comparison with sexual health workers. The problem will be compounded by the reduction in school nursing facilities in south west Lincolnshire which will take effect from the end of this month. If these services are lost, even for a short space of time, it will seriously diminish the availability of health care and advice for young people. Where will teenagers go for professional and confidential advice if these long established facilities are cut? These proposals have already been described by the Family Planning Association (FPA) as a highly retrograde step.

The elderly will be severely disadvantaged by the planned cuts in podiatry services as well as the reduction in the number of patients eligible for hip and knee replacements. The loss of these services will reduce the quality of life for many in their old age this is hardly the treatment that they deserve, yet the trust appears quite happy to treat them as such without even a thought for who it will affect. Such a lassiez-faire attitude is typical of the current health administration within Lincolnshire and without a campaign group to stop them it will continue indefinitely people deserve far better.

The government seems quite willing to spend considerable sums of money on grandiose schemes (such as the latest PFI health IT project) and millions of pounds on management consultants yet appears to be willing to allow the destruction of the most basic of health services that have been available for decades. The costs of the planned re-organisation will far outweigh the savings made from the proposed cuts since 1997 there have already been three re-organisations of PCTs each one having achieved little or nothing. Such tinkering with the health service is endemic of this Labour government and at a time when health spending has never been so high (in excess of 77 billion). Where is the additional 1\% on National Insurance Contributions being spent? Health Secretary, Patricia Hewitt, recently claimed that the NHS had just had its best year ever! In South Lincolnshire, the truth is very different.

These cuts cannot and must not be allowed to happen, so please, pledge your support today. It is vitally important that as much support is received by the 2nd August - the final date for public consultations on the cuts.

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Tonia GloverBy:
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United Health Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust

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