November’s Meeting

An energetic and animated meeting this month. Thanks to everyone who came along. Lots of updates from those who attended the Health Campaigns Together conference in London on Sat. 4th Nov. A one-day conference with campaigners travelling from as far afield as Devon and Cumbria to share news, information and ideas for the winter ahead. Members felt it was a positive day and well worth attending.

Stories and information from other groups provided yet more proof of the need to remain vigilant in watching our local services.

HoH Member Jane Howell found the day inspiring. ” Hearing other campaigners’ talk about the mergers, downgrades they had seen in their areas,  leading to full loss of some services helped me to understand that we’re right to be worried in Huntingdon. We are still very concerned about the future of Hinchingbrooke as a hospital with full 24hr Blue-light A&E Department.”

Fellow campaigner Margaret Ridley agreed: “We do have to ask the question. Surely with so many new towns popping up in the Huntingdon region and the population set to grow – now is not the time to be cutting NHS services at Hinchingbrooke. Is it?”

If you are worried too write to the County Council Health Board. Find out what they are doing about protecting our hospitals. You could even join members attending the meetings

The link to meeting info: Health & Wellbeing Board Meetings


Autumn 2017 & HOH are still on the case

At their first Auutmn meeting members of Hands Off Hinchingbrooke voted unanimously to continue monitoring the situation not only in Huntingdon but across the county as the cuts and closures begin to impact this winter.

Having attended Clinical Commissioning Group meetings, Health Scrutiny Committee and various other meetings over the summer, the group are under no illusion that services will be changed as they have been in other areas of East Anglia and nationwide.

The campaigners have decided it’s their duty to talk to local councils, MPs and NHS staff to find out more about the status of the 24 A&E Dept and changes to the entire hospital if it is downgraded.

Particular concerns were

  • the lack of mental health facilities in Huntingdonshire even though Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group say that mental health is a priority
  • little or no evidence of more community nursing teams that are supposed to be created for the “care closer to home” policy outlined in the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) proposals

and, perhaps most worrying of all, is that the final STP, complete with details of cuts, changes to wards and workforce, still has not been published for the public. Why not?

Hands Off Hinchingbrooke are making direct enquiries to find out more and are urging the public to contact them if they experience changes to services at Hinchingbrooke and across the region.

Secretary, Lorna Mansbridge said: “The campaign team decided we would continue to fight to save NHS services for Huntingdonshire. Everything is subject to the county wide STP and also instructions from NHS England. We know from other campaigners around the country that NHS England wants to shrink services and our county will not be allowed to have 3 blue-light A&E departments. We have at least three new towns being built in the region and the idea of closing or reducing emergency services is absurd, not to say dangerous.”

Hands Off Hinchingbrooke members all agreed that it was very likely that Cambridgeshire would begin to see alarming changes this autumn and winter as NHS England deadlines to finalise hospital reconfigurations and changes to health service structures came closer.

Currently NHSE is demanding that the STP find £504million in what it calls “efficiency savings” and what Hands Off Hinchingbrooke call “excessive cuts”.

For more information about the status of the NHS in Cambridgeshire contact:

Cambs and Pboro CCG

Cambs County Council Health Board

Cambridgeshire Combined Authority

To make your views known contact Healthwatch


September Meeting

Hands off Hinchingbrooke are looking forward to their first Autumn meeting at the Community Church in Huntingdon on Wednesday Sept 13th at 7pm.

Earlier this year the group asked the question about the Hinchingbrooke/Peterborough merger:  “Is it a merger or an acquisition?”. It is clear that it is a reconfiguration that will have an affect. It has been a summer of reflection and talking to local people and NHS Staff about the changes taking place not only at Hinchingbrooke but across the county as a whole.

Members have also been in touch with campaigners across the country through Health Campaigns Together and believe that this winter will see unprecedented cuts and restrictions to services that will affect the Huntingdon Community directly and also those living in the more rural areas of Cambridgeshire.

For more information about the meeting contact the group by email.

Merger or Takeover?

HOH represented in London

Members of Hands Off Hinchingbrooke joined over 200,000 campaigners from across the country to demonstrate against the brutal cuts and destructive changes being made by NHS Engand and the government.

Attending the march through the centre of London, Margaret Ridley – retired doctor and HOH member – was interviewed by THE REAL NEWS, an American online news agency. We are proud to have Margaret onboard!

The full news item is below.