and community groups have organised a series of activities across the
country. In Leeds the Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) group wanted to
highlight the issue of the sale of NHS property and land.
In recent years Leeds has seen the closure of two major hospital sites at
High Royds and Chapel Allerton and many smaller units. Current plans from
the ‘Making Leeds Better’ project look towards the closure and sale of parts
of the LGI, Seacroft Hospital and others as a way of financing
further expansion at Jimmy’s. Unfortunately it is not the case of simply
moving resources to improve efficiency as money will be reinvested via the
PFI scheme for any new build and so lost to private sector profit. Unlike
the current arrangements PFI or LIFT is a 25-30 year mortgage at the end of
which the private contractor gets to keep the building not the NHS.
Public consultations on these proposals are starting soon and Leeds KONP
wants to highlight the real costs associated with the project to the broader
At 10.00 members of the group erected a large For Sale sign outside the
LGI on Great George Street, highlighting how Hospital Trusts and other NHS agencies are using land and property sales to solve short term financial deficits. We then moved on to the TUC organised indoor rally at Cathedral Hall, where we had been invited to speak alongside Trade Union leaders. Unfortunately little time was allowed for anyone to speak from the floor, and many attendees were clearly angry and disappointed that so little notice had been given for the rally, and that the unions were not taking a strong enough stance, and did not seem to have any clear plans for action.
KONP then went on to hand out leaflets and collect signatures on Briggate, and were well received by the public who agreed that this is no way to 'reform' the health service.