the pork-bolter
ISSUE 101, APRIL 2011

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Health bosses to cut Worthing care, warns campaigner

New threat to our hospitals!

HEALTHCARE for people in Worthing and Shoreham is under serious threat from current plans for local NHS re-organisation. That was the warning from well-respected Worthing campaigner Sue Cook, a leading light in the Keep Worthing and Southlands Hospitals group (KWASH) that fought previous insidious proposals back in 2006-8. Speaking to supporters of Worthing Solidarity Network (www.worthingsolidaritynetwork.blogspot.com) at a meeting on March 9, she warned that consultation papers issued by health bosses were nothing but spin, designed to hide from the public what was really being proposed. In fact, the proposals to shift all inpatients out of Southlands will mean that the site will effectively cease to be a hospital and will be nothing more than some kind of polyclinic.

Meanwhile the knock-on effect will put extra pressure on Worthing, where there is already often a serious shortage of beds. She said last winter there were even beds in theatre recovery because there was no room on proper wards. Even without the threatened changes, there is increasing pressure to get patients out of hospital as soon as possible in order to free up beds - even when it would be better for them to remain in hospital to recover. Said Sue: "If you get rid of the patients any quicker, you'll have them going straight out of the operating theatre into the car park!". And she highlghted the increasing practice of using 'community beds' - in private care homes - to make up for the shortage in hospital. Needless to say this is not value for money for the tax-payer!

At the centre of the latest proposals is the closing-down of the Harness Block at Southlands Hospital in Shoreham. Sue pointed out that this is on the edge of the hospital site and right next to a Crest Nicholson housing development... Say no more! The remaining services at this block (orthopaedics, care of elderly and rehabiliation from stroke) will have to be moved to Worthing Hospital, which is already crammed full. Orthopaedic operations are already on hold and Sue warned that once patients have waited for opthalmics to be moved out of Worthing to Southlands to make room for a new unit, it could be two years before they are treated.

If this high-handed approach to patient care sounds familiar, there may be a good reason. Sue pointed out that Marianne Griffiths, current chief executive at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, was one of those pushing the Fit for the Future scheme at the South East Coast Strategic Health Authority. Meanwhile local NHS boss John Wilderspin, who became something of a hate figure for campaigners during 'Fit for the Future', is joining the Department of Health as National Transition Director leading the introduction of Health and Wellbeing boards - as part of the NHS White Paper changes. Says a NHS statement: "The Boards will bring together those who buy services across the NHS, public health, social care and children's services, elected representatives and lay people to work with each other..." Read that again, focusing on the phrase 'buy services', and tell us that this self-confessed 'pro-American regime' doesn't want a US-style privatised health service. Are we going to let them get it?

Consultation ends on April 29. For a form, ask at the hospital or call 01903 285222 ext 4038.

So where are those smug Tory MPs now?

FOUR years ago when Worthing residents were joining those in Shoreham and Chichester to fight against the dreadful plans devised under the 'Fit for the Future' label, the campaign was very high on the agenda of local MPs Tim Loughton and Peter Bottomley. Although they were not really the driving force behind the KWASH campaign, they were more than happy for their smug mugs to appear in all the media publicity and to take the credit for the victory of people power over the NHS-wreckers. That, of course, was under the neo-Labour government. Now their own party is in power and they have gone a little quiet on the subject.

We held our piggy noses and dived into the internet swill of Tory Tim's website www.timloughton.com but could find no mention of the current hospital threat (although, of course, he's still boasting of his role in the original KWASH campaign!). It's a similar story at Peter Bottomley's site, www.peterbottomley.org.uk, where the future of our hospitals simply does not feature, not even in his "issues" section. A search of news reports could not provide us with any stories about either Worthing MP as saying anything about our hospitals at all in recent months. It's all a far cry from those heady days of the Tory duo leading massive protests through the town, under the stirring slogan "Hands Off Our Hospitals - Sign Up To Fight the Cuts!"


PR night-mayor in the making?

WHAT is the connection between the current Prime Minister of Italy (at the time of writing anyway!) and the man who will take over as Mayor of Worthing in 2012? Well, there's certainly a bit of political controversy surrounding both Silvio Berlusconi and Worthing Central Tory councillor Clive Roberts, though admittedly not quite on the same scale! While Silvio is facing high-profile court cases and millions of protesters, Clivio has simply annoyed the Worthing LibDems for being chosen behind closed doors by his own party, despite the 'gentlemen's agreement' that the LibDems would be allowed a go from time to time.

But it's more around the interface between the personal and the political that the similarities emerge. Mr Berlusconi denies an inappropriate relationship with a young girl, while our own Mr Robertsconi denied in 2008 that he "groped" a female member of staff at West Sussex County Council, telling the Worthing Herald that he just gave her a 'peck on the cheek' (Porkbolter 88). This didn't stop him being suspended and then axed from his county council cabinet post following the somewhat mysterious incident.

In the circumstances you'd have thought he'd have been very careful indeed about the sort of thing with which he is publicly associated. For instance, being Worthing cabinet member in charge of public conveniences might have been one to avoid, in the circumstances, vital and innocent though this role may be. Likewise, Clivio might have been advised to steer well clear of an initiative to use "cheeky postcard-style slogans" to promote litter awareness. He might particularly have sought to avoid being linked with the phrase "Bend Over and Think of England".

But no, there he is in the Worthing Herald, happily endorsing the whole thing with a thick-skinned resolve that could only make his Italian counterpart gasp in admiration. With a year still remaining before he even dons the ceremonial chains, we have the feeling that Clivio Robertsconi is going to provide the best entertainment we have had from a mayor in many a long year...


You can't protest too much

FOR THOSE who fancy a bit of protest action in the next few weeks, there's a wide range of dates to chose from.

Saturday April 16: Justice for Smiley Culture. The reggae star "stabbed himself to death" while police raided his home, according to ...errr... police. March on New Scotland Yard from South Bank Club, Wandsworth Road, London (Vauxhall station). 12 noon. There's a group on Facebook.

Sunday April 24: Oppose EDL-style bigots' march through Brighton. 1pm. More details at http://brightonantifascists.wordpress.com/

Saturday April 30: Brighton Mayday party/protest. "If you liked March 26 you'll love this. We are being robbed blind it's time to reclaim what is ours." From 12 noon. See http://brightonmayday.wordpress.com

Saturday May 14: Keep Our Forests Public! Mass rally and walk meeting at Whiteways car park, near Arundel at 12 noon (or Beechwood Hall Hotel, Wykeham Road, Worthing at 11am for car sharing). For updates keep an eye on the events page on this website. See you on the streets (and in the woods!).


Fuku-message to nuke industry

SECRET plans have been drawn up by Worthing Borough Council to sell off the Connaught Theatre to raise money for a new local nuclear power station, reports Porkbolter fabrication correspondent Freddie Fib in another sizzling exclusive. The new atomic plant will be built at Brooklands, right next to the sea, and is based on a super-safe Japanese model with a permanent ice rink on the roof to cool it down - and attract the borough's children to the site. Said a smiling council spokesman: "What could possibly go wrong?"

STOP PRESS - LATEST NEWS. It seems the nuclear scheme has now been put on hold because of some minor incident on the other side of the world involving foreign people who don't really count. Said one angry caller to the Porkbolter 24/7 talkshitline: "It's only yer bleedin' elf and safety again innit? Political correctness gone mad! Fuku-what? No need for that sort of language! What harm's a bit of radiation exposure ever done anyone, anyway?"


PORK-SCRATCHINGS

HARD luck to the residents who tried to stop Tesco from opening their ninth shop in the borough - at the old Caffyns site in Goring Road. A protest on Saturday 12 March, with Worthing Solidarity Network, led to a 1,000-strong petition to Worthing Borough Council. The efforts did persuade the council to actually discuss the bid in public - previously they were going to sneak it through unseen using anti-democratic "delegated powers". But on March 30 the councillors adopted their usual line of bending over backwards to Big Business and gave Tesco the go-ahead. A total disgrace.
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WELL done Worthing MP Peter Bottomley, exposed by The Guardian (February 25) as topping the chart for membership of parliamentary groups (often sponsored by corporations and vested interest groups). He belongs to 151 - 65 more than his nearest rival! Hoorah!
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"BY MOST accounts our democracy is in a poor condition and in need of a major overhaul." This is the issue to be addressed by guest speaker and legal expert Tim Hart at the next Worthing Alliance meeting on Thursday April 28. The talk, free and open to all, will be held at The Beechwood Hall, Wykeham Road, Worthing, from 8pm. And Lindsey German of Stop the War will speak at a discussion on Libya and the Arab revolts upstairs at the Downview (opp West Worthing station), 7.30pm on Wednesday April 13. Free entry.
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LONG-term Porkbolter readers will know we're not very keen on elections to phoney 'democratic' bodies that merely administer capitalism on behalf of the usual interests. Neither are we fans of the Labour Party, whose war-mongering liberty-hating neoliberal regime we opposed every inch of the way from 1997 to 2010. But Porkbolter reader Mike Barrett is standing for Labour on an anti-cuts platform on May 5 and asked us to mention the fact. So we have!
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DID anyone notice that Private Eye covered our "police spy in Worthing" scoop from the last issue. The Argus did, too. But not a word in the town's own Worthing Herald!


Taking on the pig issues

THE PORKBOLTER is a newsletter named after the rather bizarre historical nickname for Worthing folk and we have been campaigning since 1997 against rip-off merchants and control freaks. To get the next six issues through the post send a donation of 3 or more payable to The Porkbolter at PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. You can also pick up a copy at 'Green' at 63 Victoria Road, Worthing (near the station). Or read it at www.eco-action.org/porkbolter, which includes a regularly updated events section. We also run an email list, which you can join on request from
porkbolter@eco-action.org and issue occasional Tweets via @porkbolter.

Published and printed by The Porkbolter, PO Box 4144, Worthing BN14 7NZ. No copyright, no Tory whitekwash over NHS cuts and privatisation.


and finally ...
Reclaim Your Town, Reclaim Your Life!

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