Lincolnshire Arts and Music Bulletin owes it’s very existence to the F4LH campaign, founded by former Louth Town councillor, Julie Speed.
The aims of the campaign are:
- To bring local Hospital and Health Service cuts to the attention of affected residents;
- To highlight issues that are not being made public by the responsible authorities;
- To hold those responsible authorities to account for their actions/non actions and broken promises;
- To return the hospital to the fully functional General Hospital that it was,in the past and
- Hand the hospital and services back to the region it served
On September 2, 2017, the campaigners organised a march and rally in support of the Louth County Hospital, it’s staff, and the tens of thousands of residents who are dependent upon them. In it’s infancy, the campaign was apolitical, but the Conservative government, County Council and local MP, Victoria Atkins, made the mistake of linking all of those involved to the Labour Party, which of course was untrue.
History was made that day, and the banner (designed and produced by local Artist Jayne Cooper), became a symbol of national action against the government’s plans to cut and slash Health services, as the Louth campaign became the template for others across the country. The campaign was brilliantly supported by the public, as well as local artists and musicians. (SEE HERE)
In denial, the Conservative party through it’s MP, local council and Healthcare bodies such as the CCG, (whose plans are at the centre of this decimation), took to name calling the campaign, it’s leaders and supporters.
At a subsequent council meeting, a question was asked relating to the reduction of beds from 54 to 16, based on the premise that post Grenfell, Fire Regulations required the upgrading of the fire doors at the hospital, including on the two main wards, Manby and Carlton. The meeting was told, that once the upgrading was complete, then the two wards would be returned to full capacity (ie, 54 beds). During “Public question” time, one member of the public attempted to find out what was planned for the hospital, but was shut down by the then Mayor. The general attitude was not to question those in “authority”. It was indeed, as one person commented – “Democracy at it’s worst”.
The CCG have recently admitted that this is not to be the case, and that they are looking at 16, possibly 20 beds IN TOTAL capacity for the hospital, that at best estimates, serves a community of up to *135,000 people. In other words, the “authorities” expect us to believe that out of 135,000 people, only 16 (or 20) of us will require a hospital bed at any one time.
The town council decided that we needed a public meeting, at a large venue and hired St James Church, but sadly less than 120 people turned up.
However, the CCG maintained at that meeting that their proposal was the best one for the town and region. There was discontent during this meeting, and F4LH Founder, Julie Speed, asked the CCG to arrange to attend a further public meeting, where THEY would listen to the concerns of the people, rather than “steam roll” their plans at the public.
We still await developments on that!
You can have your say via the links below:
Fight for Louth Hospital (Twitter)
Fight for Louth Hospital Forum (Hosted on this site)
*Once a 240 bed hospital