The announcement (Sept 24) that two wards are to close at Southend Hospital comes on top of the 400 full time jobs expected to go in the next three years and the scrapping of a new ward block announced in May.

We pointed out at the time the claim of the SE Essex Primary Care Trust that cuts in services would be made up by the primary care centres still to be built was fallacious. We once again strongly condemn this attack on the health services in Southend.

The introduction of the White Paper on the NHS by the Government poses the biggest threat to the NHS as a provider of free universal health care. If adopted, this will lead to cuts in services and privatisation on an unprecedented scale.

The resistance to the White Paper proposals is growing, as evidenced by its rejection by unanimous vote at the TUC conference.

Two thirds of GPs, who in terms of the proposals in the White Paper are given their own budgets to commission services, are against the changes. We will campaign together with trade unions and patients against the attack on the NHS and the £20 billion of spending cuts by 2014.

Norman Traub
Southend Keep Our NHS Public
Picketts Avenue