A committed group of Isle of Wight residents joined together on Saturday (12th January) to highlight and plan actions in order to help prevent NHS services being moved away from the Island.
The ‘IOW SAVE OUR NHS’ group say they will continue to fight and work with other groups to prevent life-saving services on the Island being closed or starved of funding and staff.
Christine Lightbody of the local campaign group has said:
“It’s never been more important to get involved and fight for what we believe in and there is nothing more important than our health. The NHS was born out of a long-held ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth.
“Over the last 70 years, the NHS has transformed the health and wellbeing of the nation and become the envy of the world. We must stop the privatisation and sell off of our NHS.
Speaking about plans to cut funding for free patient travel for seriously ill patients, Christine has said:
“Our Island’s Cross Solent Transportation Scheme enables lifesaving treatment to be accessed by Island people but this administration considers it to be something that is not worthy of funding!
“Government policy is literally killing the NHS and our own island administration is implementing its own health cuts. Cllr Mosdell is the cabinet member for Health and Adult Social Care and is directly accountable to our Island people for this proposed cut.
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“This suggestion puts people’s lives at risk and strikes fear in the hearts of many, who are already physically and emotionally compromised by their diagnosis of Cancer or kidney disease. The burden and stress of serious illness is bad enough without further financial anxiety”.
The Cross Solent Travel Scheme is a discretionary, non-means tested measure providing financial support to NHS patients travelling to the mainland to receive specific treatments for chemotherapy, radiotherapy or renal dialysis.
The scheme is owned and administered by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust but since 2006, when the NHS ceased its funding, the council has supported residents by picking up the annual cost. But now the future of the scheme is in doubt.
On Wednesday councillors will sit down to debate the funding for the cross-Solent Patient Transport Scheme. A petition has been created to show the Island’s thought on the proposals, with over 3,000 signatures collected to date. You can sign the petition yourself at https://www.change.org/p/steve-gibbs-stop-the-lsle-of-wight-council-scrapping-free-cross-solent-travel-for-nhs-patients.