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Friday 16th March 2018

KONP North East

  • North East March and Rally for the NHS; a loud and clear message to North East CCGs and NHS England


    SATURDAY 10th MARCH 2018

    More than 1000 joined the North East March and rally to demand a healthy NHS … and the message has got out to tens of thousands through word of mouth, journalism and social media.

    EIGHT North East health campaign groups plus North East Peoples Assembly joined together to call for

    • a cash injection to restore the NHS budget, commitment to increased funding each year, and an end to the cap on NHS pay
    • abandonment of any plans for further cuts or cash-driven closures of NHS hospitals and services
    • a halt to the imposition of “new models of care” and “accountable care”
    • repeal of the 2012 Health & Social Care Act and reinstatement of the NHS as a public service, publicly accountable, publicly owned and publicly funded

    Check out the pictures and reports by following the link below.

    Read more ...

Thursday 8th March 2018

RCEM press release

  • Royal College of Emergency Medicine urges patients to take action after worst ever 4hr performance figures

    The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is calling on patients to write to their Member of Parliament asking for action to address the serious challenges facing Emergency Departments across the country.


    The unprecedented move comes after data released today showed the worst ever four-hour emergency care performance at just 76.9% at major emergency departments. Sitrep data also showed that in February bed occupancy was at 95.1%.


    Dr Taj Hassan, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “Unfortunately these figures are not surprising and reflect the acute and detrimental effect insufficient resources are having on our health service; patient care will continue to suffer until this changes.


    “Performance that once would have been regarded as utterly unacceptable has now become normal and things are seemingly only getting worse for patients. It’s important to remember that while performance issues are more pronounced during the winter, Emergency Departments are now struggling all year round.


    “Warnings and pleas for adequate resourcing have repeatedly failed to deliver with both patients and staff suffering as a result. We cannot continue in this situation - which is why we are calling on patients to contact their MP in support of our A&Es and the NHS.


    “Let’s be very clear. The current crisis in our Emergency Departments and in the wider NHS is not the fault of patients. It is not because staff aren’t working hard enough, not because of the actions of individual trusts, not because of the weather or norovirus, not purely because of influenza, immigration or inefficiencies and not because performance targets are unfeasible. The current crisis was wholly predictable and is due to a failure to prioritise the need to increase healthcare funding on an urgent basis.


    “We need an adequate number of hospital beds, more resources for social care and to fund our staffing strategies that we have previously agreed in order to deliver decent basic dignified care. We would urge our patients to contact their MP to tell them so. We hope that action from patients will ensure that our politicians give the NHS the due care and attention it needs and help them come together to find appropriate long-term solutions for the NHS that are so desperately required.”


    Mr Derek Prentice, the College’s lead patient representative and Lay Committee Chair, said: “Yet again patients have had to endure another winter of misery due to inadequate resourcing. Understandably public satisfaction with the health service has fallen. But patients are not blaming individual trusts or staff. They quite rightly understand that this is the fault of our politicians, which is why we are asking for their help to change the situation.


    “While the recent budget allocated extra funds to the health service, it was not what was made very clear would be required and was just about enough to stave off complete collapse. Just about enough should not be good enough. Our patients, staff and the NHS – now in its 70th year – deserve better. We need long term solutions, including more beds and more staff, and we would encourage patients to ask their MPs for them.


    “Ministers and decision makers must stop burying their heads in the sand and face the reality of the situation; overall performance is in decline due to the under-resourcing of health and social care. The data shows the reality, yet facts are being disregarded and the health sector is not being listened to. We hope that they will listen to the public who voted for them.”


    Read more ...

Sunday 4th March 2018

SHA blog: https://www.sochealth.co.uk/2018/02/28/lies-dishonesty-boards-go/

  • Lies, Dishonesty and Boards that Should Go

    by Richard Bourne

    Trusts around the country are setting up wholly owned companies to deliver services so they can take advantage of taxation changes this allows.

    This great VAT saga shows the NHS at its very worst.   Bullied from above, local managers believe the hype from consultants. They can’t write a proper business case but still launch a project in secret, refuse to consult with staff, totally mislead the staff and public about the real intentions, refuse to give information claiming everything is commercially confidential and plough on regardless – all with the active collusion of a Regulator that is supposed to stop such poor behaviours. Those involved continue to refuse even to respond to FoI requests. Questions in both Commons and Lords get stock answers saying this has nothing to do with Ministers – it’s local decision making – nothing to see here.

    Unison has been active in opposing the outbreak of wholly owned companies for 18 months. On the face of it this represents money for nothing – the same staff doing the same job in the same way with the same managers but with “savings” in £millions from tax changes. No increase in productivity, no innovation, no efficiencies at all – just a tax scam. The staff loose out by moving out of the NHS and become collateral damage, but this does not matter as they are not nurses or doctors – that may come later.

    Tactically the Trusts also get to break out of the national pay and conditions and can pay new staff and even promoted old staff on worse terms and conditions. This alone should set red lights glowing somewhere.

    Oh, and two fingers up to any local plan about working together, collaboration and that guff – this is every Trust for itself – they even all claim that they will be selling services to each other.

    And big issues like the consequences of transferring ownership and control over public assets to a private company (even one which for now is wholly owned) have simply been ignored or lied about.

    Facts as opposed to the lies, are slowly emerging. To take one well documented example. Late in 2016 a Trust did preliminary work with outside consultants on going down the wholly owned companies route. In December 2016 in secret the Board agreed to go ahead using a particular model solution pitched to them by the consultants. 

    They did not look at the overall strategy involved and failed to look at other options. This offer was too good to be true and others had done it; so why not? The “Business Case” to the Board was laughable being a few pages of platitudes and 63 pages of tax advice.

    The Trust worked on in secret, despite being under a very clear duty to engage with the staff on a decision which affected hundreds of them. 

    Eventually, late in 2017, they had to come clean and start TUPE consultations, but they consistently refused in every forum to consult or engage with staff on what was being proposed – they would only talk about the consequences. They knew their whole case was entirely bogus.

    In public the Trust simply avoided telling the truth. They maintained throughout that what they were doing had to do with somehow professionalising the facilities management services. 

    Strangely the Trust had never reported its concerns with these services before they were sold the VAT dodge. They never engaged with staff to see how they could improve services at all.

    The Trusts maintained the fiction that this was nothing to do with tax as they had been instructed to do. They gave a presentation to staff which had a dozen slides but none of them even mentioned VAT or tax. They signed a secrecy agreement with the consultants they used. But because information was coming out of other Trusts doing the same thing, but slightly more honestly, they were caught out anyway.

    After enormous pressure from Unison the Trust finally revealed at least some of its documents but only after it was already implementing its decision. 

    What the documents showed was what everyone already knew – the savings almost all came from changes in taxation. Savings from other sources such as reducing pension rights or bringing in a two tier workforce were tiny in comparison. 

    This was and is all about tax. All about a Trust in severe financial straights doing anything to make savings. Doing what it was told. It was more afraid of external intervention for not trying hard enough than it was afraid of the outrage from its own staff.

    Utterly dishonest from start to finish. But with active collusion from NHS Improvement – the Regulator which knew exactly what they were doing and why, even if they now refuse to release the information and ignore FoI requests. 

    We know from parliamentary answers that NHSI signed off the deal. We also know the relevant CCG opposed it and appealed to the Trust not to go ahead – yet again the lie is that everyone was in agreement.

    A disgrace from start to finish. Staff disillusioned, staff relations soured for years to come, further fragmentation of the NHS and a wholly uncertain cloud over the future ownership and control of vital NHS assets. And NO SAVINGS. Anything saved in one place is lost to the exchequer in another – it's our money and we get no benefit at all.

    No Board that agrees to this kind of subterfuge and secrecy is fit to stay in place. But they will.

    NB: See also the piece from Caroline Molloy, link below:

    Read more ...

Monday 19th February 2018


  • Ealing campaigners challenge viability of North West London hospital closure plans

    A group of campaigners from Ealing Save Our NHS have written a hard-hitting, factually-based critique of the plans for the closure of acute services at Ealing and Charing Cross Hospitals, which are still being promoted by NW London CCGs despite the very real doubts over the viability of the plans or availability of the capital required.

    The letter to NHS Improvement London states:

    "We are a group of concerned North West London (NWL) residents, who have invested considerable time and effort in studying regional and local plans for healthcare services in this area.

    In November 2017 a letter written by NHSI/NHSE London to NHS NWL CCG Accountable Officers came into our possession.

    The letter asks for further evidence based assurances before committing financial resources to the SaHF ImBC SOC1.

    At the heart of these concerns is the lack of evidence to support an annual Non–Elective (NEL) admissions reduction of 99,000 by 2025/26 …"

    Read the rest of the letter and the letter to Colin Standfield regarding A&E performance

    Read more ...

Tuesday 13th February 2018

Ontario Health Coalition

  • Ontario Health Coalition Succeeds in Protecting & Strengthening Ontario's Ban on Private Hospitals

    Ontario's ban on private clinics was removed in the provincial government's "omnibus health care bill" that was brought to the legislature last autumn.

    The government passed the health care omnibus bill -- Bill 160 -- prior to Christmas and it has been promulgated into law. 

    The three political parties proposed a total of more than 100 amendments to the Bill. Those amendments went to the Standing Committee to to voted on in early December. (Membership in the Standing Committees follows the make-up of the Legislature so the governing party currently has a majority on all Committees.) The Liberals voted down all amendments proposed by the Opposition Parties. The amended Bill then went to the Legislature and was passed.

    Our concerns about paramedic services, long-term care, private clinics and retirement homes were not addressed.

    The amendments we were seeking in all the other Schedules of the Act were not passed, with the exception of Schedule 9 (the Private Hospitals section) which I will describe below. Thus, our concerns about paramedical services, long-term care, private clinics, private retirement homes etc. still remain. If you want to see what they are, please see our submission on Bill 160 to the Standing Committee on General Government here: http://www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca/wp-content/uploads/submission-to-the-standing-committee-2.pdf

    We were, however, able to get Schedule 9 -- the section on Private Hospitals -- amended to meet every one of our concerns. 

    This is what happened:

    Schedule 9 repealed the Private Hospitals Act. This may sound like a good thing, but in fact, it was quite the opposite. The Private Hospitals Act (1971) was passed to limit private hospitals. It was a short Act, and a good one.

    Essentially, it banned all future private hospitals (after 1971) and stopped them from expanding, gave the Minister powers to require private hospitals to be licensed annually, to refuse the transfer (sale) of a license in the public interest, and enabled the Minister unfettered powers to revoke a private hospital's license in the public interest.

    When the Shouldice Hospital tried to sell out to Centric Health, one of the largest transnational private health companies in the world, we cited the powers in this Act to ask the Minister to stop the sale. We were successful.

    Thus the Private Hospitals Act has, by and large, protected Ontario's public non-profit hospital system from incursions by private for-profit hospitals and transnational chain companies for almost two generations. 

    So when the government introduced Bill 160, we were extremely concerned. We warned that the government was, in Schedule 9, lifting the ban on private hospitals and the powers of the Minister to stop their expansion and control them, without replacing those powers in the new legislation.

    We wrote an open letter to all MPPs we organized press conferences, asked the NDP to raise questions in Question Period, and we sought high-level meetings with the Premier's, Government House Leader's and Health Minister's offices. 

    The Premier & the Health Minister agreed and stepped in to direct the bureaucrats to draft amendments.

    The Premier's staff agreed with our analysis and facilitated meetings with the Health Minister's staff and high-level bureaucrats. We brought our lawyers and ultimately key officials from the Premier's and Health Minister's offices agreed with our analysis and worked with us to fix it.

    The government delayed the legislation and agreed to make amendments to Schedule 9.

    We reviewed the amendments and the Premier's and Health Minister's offices agreed to change the language until we were satisfied. All this to say that the amendments, in the end, met all of the requirements we asked of the government regarding the issue of private hospitals.

    This is what we achieved:

    • The ban on private hospitals was restored. Only the 5 still-existent private hospitals that were grandfathered in under the 1971 Private Hospitals Act are allowed to continue.
    • No private hospital can expand its services or its bed capacity. No private hospital may move its location.
    • The Minister's powers to license these facilities is reinstated along with the powers for the Minister to refuse the transfer, suspend, or revoke a private hospital's license in the public interest.
    • Only the grandfathered-in private hospitals may accept a patient for inpatient services and provide treatment. No other entity can do that, and no other entity can hold itself out as providing hospital services.
    • We also won an improved definition of private hospital (as a facility that provides overnight accommodation and medical and nursing care). This will help to limit private clinics from turning into private hospitals.
    • We also won expanded powers for the Ministry to control transfers of licenses among private clinics, and to revoke or suspend those licenses in the public interest.

    In the end, we are satisfied that the government heard us and the amendments to Schedule 9 continue and expand the limits on private hospitals.

    But private for-profit clinics (not hospitals) can still expand and take over public hospital services unless we stop them.

    However, Bill 160 rolled the private clinics providing outpatient diagnostics and procedures (not hospitals) legislation (called the Independent Health Facilities Act) into the new legislation and renamed it, even more euphemistically, the Community Health Facilities Act.

    The Act remains the same as it was. It allows the expansion of private clinics by the stroke of a pen of a bureaucrat in the Health Ministry.

    It was always a bad Act and remains so. We have successfully fought back every attempt to expand private clinics in recent years.

    We will have to continue to do so until we win legislation that rolls the clinics back into public ownership and stops the expansion of private clinics.

    Bottom line? The premier and the Health Minister agreed with the protections we were seeking in the public interest. They worked with us to change their own legislation to stop the expansion of private hospitals and expand public control over them. This is a great achievement in the public interest. Now we need to roll the private clinics' services back into public non-profit hospitals....

    NB. The government has been stating that the Private Hospitals Act was 'written in the 1930s'. This has sown some confusion. It may well be that there was a private hospitals act passed in the 1930s. But the version that was changed by the Omnibus Bill and Schedule 9 was the version that is listed as the 1971 Private Hospitals Act in the government's own e-laws.

    This 1971 version would have been significantly amended from the 1930s version of the Act since there was no public hospital system in the 1930s therefore there would be no ban on private hospitals etc. 

    While we thank the Premier and Health Minister for their help and for recognizing this issue as a serious one that needed to be addressed, the letters that we have seen from a few local Liberal MPPs are egregiously misleading, and sometimes, outright dishonest about what happened with Bill 160 and the issue of private hospitals.

    Thank you to the NDP for helping!

    The NDP kept up the pressure in the Legislature while we were negotiating with the Health Minister and Premier's office. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath asked key questions in Question Period for several days in a row to make sure that the government was held accountable to come through with the changes we were seeking to protect against the expansion of private hospitals. You can see the videos of those questions in the Legislature and the answers from the Health Minister here: 

    Thank you to all of you who contacted your MPPs, came out to the Legislature to help put on the pressure. Thank you to OCHU/CUPE and Unifor for helping to facilitate meetings with the Premier's and Minister's staff. Thank you to lawyers Steven Barrett and Ethan Poskanzer for working day and night to help.

    To all the organizations, from nurses to seniors' groups, the Council of Canadians, health care unions for writing and presenting submissions to the Standing Committee pushing for amendments.

    To OPSEU for bringing out your members to help fill the Galleries at Queen's Park. It was a team effort and everyone made a real difference.

    Read more ...

Wednesday 7th February 2018


  • After ministers delay regulations to facilitate ACOs, an update from JR4NHS on Urgent Legal Action for Our NHS - Round 3

    Hunt delays

    Dearest supporters,

    We were very pleased this morning to learn that the government will not now be laying the regulations to facilitate accountable care organisations (ACOs) until after NHS England has consulted on ACOs. 

    This is a major change.

    When we launched our judicial review they said that there was no duty to consult the public about ACOs and that the regulations would be laid this month.

    But today, in reply to an oral question in the House of Commons from Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour's health spokesperson, Health Minister Caroline Dinenage MP [NB: at the prompting of Jeremy Hunt sitting next to her – HCT] said that the regulations would not be laid until after the 12-week national consultation, which was promised by NHS England and Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care after we had sought our judicial review.

    Now we have a consultation, and the regulations will not be laid.

    But we still need to make sure that they can't bring in anything like the kind of ACOs they're proposing.

    Please do all you can to spread the word – and to let people know that we still need support to reach our Round 3 target of £100,000 to keep the case going. The pledges have been pouring in - we're almost half way there, with 23 days to go.

    As updated yesterday, the Secretary of State and NHS England refused our suggestion for each side bear to its own costs whatever the outcome, so we have asked the court to hear our application for cost capping at a short hearing and have revised the application to ask that the amount we would have to pay, should we lose, be capped at £160,000.

    Thank you all so much for your fantastic support.

    Read more ...

Monday 5th February 2018

John Lister

  • Trump triggers near-unanimous rejection by trying to use our march to attack NHS and universal care.

    Donald Trump kicked off the war of the Tweets with a predictably ill-informed and ignorant comment on our magnificent demonstrations on February 3:

    • “The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working. Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!”

    To his chagrin the short shrift reply from Jeremy Corbyn got more retweets than Trump had managed. But other replies are also interesting. These included:

    • Bernie Sanders: "Hey, Mr. President. The only people who love the current system are you, the drug companies and insurance companies. 30 million Americans have no health insurance and we pay the highest prices in the world. We must guarantee health care to all, not take it away."
    • Jon Ashworth, shadow health secretary: "Thousands of us marched for a fully funded public universal National Health Service covering all because its the most equitable way and efficient way of delivering healthcare. We’ll take no lessons from someone who seeks to deny healthcare to millions"
    • Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was also quick to distance himself from Trump's position: "I may disagree with claims made on that march but not ONE of them wants to live in a system where 28m people have no cover. NHS may have challenges but I’m proud to be from the country that invented universal coverage - where all get care no matter the size of their bank balance."
    • Health Campaigns Together editor John Lister: "Even a drastically run down #NHS is better, fairer, more accessible and infinitely more efficient than the dysfunctional costly shambles of US healthcare -- made worse still by Trump's intervention. Nobody on our march would swap for US system."
    • John Lister: "It takes the US system to spend almost $3 trillion/year, 1/3 of global health spend, equivalent to almost $10k/head -- but still leave 30 million uninsured, worse life expectancy in US cities than Cuba, more $ wasted than health budgets of 64 lowest-spending countries. Sad, sick, pathetic."
    • John Lister: "The US health care 'system' is an international laughing stock: 18% of GDP, $800 bn/year lost through fraud and waste, huge inequalities, ranked bottom of 11 countries by Commonwealth Fund, 600k personal bankruptcies/year from medical bills. Who wants that - except D Trump?"
    • Keep Our NHS Public tweeted: We know which side of history we'd rather be on: With Bevan's NHS healthcare paid democratically from taxation, supported by 85%+ real people & @keepnhspublic @nhscampaigns @pplsassembly NOT rapacious US health industry bankrupting 100Ks & @realDonaldTrump
    • Peoples Assembly, co-organisers of the February 3 events: "British people want to show their love for the principles of universal & comprehensive care free at the point of use, no one wants a disastrous US system. We don’t agree with your divisive, incorrect rhetoric. No thanks."
    • A joint PA/HCT statement went further:

    "Dear Donald Trump

    The NHS has existed since 1948 in the UK after the devastation of the second world war. The British population demanded the right to have access to healthcare which they deserve as human beings which is absolutely affordable when the right political decisions are made.

    It has been a shining example to the world of what can be achieved when we put the needs of the collective good over the interests of a few wealthy individuals.

    Unfortunately, our current government have been persuaded to increasingly adopt policies which represent those of your Government, they have decided to move us more to an American-style system which is widely acknowledged to be one of the most expensive, inefficient and unjust healthcare systems in the world.

    This is why our NHS is currently struggling and why leading Professors including Professor Stephen Hawking are bravely battling politicians who wish to turn it into a system like yours.

    This is what our demonstration was about on Saturday 3rd Feb and tens of thousands of British people want to show their love for the principles of universal and comprehensive care free at the point of use, paid for through general taxation. We don’t agree with your divisive and incorrect rhetoric. No thanks.

    Yours sincerely,

    The People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together" 

    NOTE: The US Health care system consistently evaluates as the worst (and the UK as the best) of 11 health systems in wealthier capitalist countries, according to the US-based Commonwealth Fund (http://www.commonwealthfund.org/interactives/2017/july/mirror-mirror/ )

    The most recent comparison (2017) again ranks systems according to set criteria: care process, Access, Administrative efficiency, Equity and Health care outcomes. The US comes in at 10th or 11th out of 11 on all but the care process (5th).

    The one area where the US system does lead the world is in wasted resources: back in 2009 a Thomson Reuters report found waste (including fraud and abuse, under-treatment and over-treatment) running at a staggering $700 billion or more each year: https://healthcarereform.procon.org/sourcefiles/thomson_reuters_study_medical_waste_2010.pdf.

    The US also features high on any league table of patients who decline treatment or who do not present for treatment for fear of the costs – with often disastrous results. Trump's own latest changes, deliberately undermining even the minimal insurance cover for the poorest provided under Obamacare, have made matters much worse.

    Over and above overt waste there are the inflated costs of administering the complex system, and paying sky-high salaries to CEOs and other senior staff in health corporations, as well as the billing, legal, accountancy and marketing/advertising costs of a system run for private profit rather than public health.

    Read more ...

Sunday 4th February 2018

John Lister

  • Tens of thousands back our Day of Action and Emergency Demonstration to #FundOurNHS

    An estimated 60,000 people from all over England braved the weather and thronged the streets of London on the #FundOurNHS demonstration on Saturday Feb 3, called by Health Campaigns Together and People’s Assembly.

    Thousands more joined local protests outside hospitals and in town centres in over 50 more events, and there were supporting demonstrations and protests in Belfast and Enniskillen in Northern Ireland and Glasgow as well as contingents on the march from Aberystwyth and Welshpool in Wales.

    In England there were protests from Cornwall to Carlisle, from Hereford to Norwich and from Newcastle to Whitstable: many managed to get local and regional press and TV coverage, and many of these also managed to make clear it was a national day of action on a common theme: our NHS has been desperately and deliberately under-funded by a government more intent on privatisation than maintaining safe services even for people in their own party’s heartland constituencies.

    A brilliant panel of speakers at the London rally outside Downing Street managed to retain an audience despite the freezing conditions: speakers included actor Ralf Little, speakers from of UNISON, Unite, RCN, campaigners, junior doctors, nurses, patients – and shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth.

    We knew there would be a need to display the mounting public anger at the state of our NHS – and this march was successfully mobilised in less than a month.

    We also know it has not been enough to shift the course of Theresa May’s government, which keeps hiding behind spurious statistics and claims to have already given the NHS more money – even while hospital Trust deficits are rising towards £2 billion. With Trusts facing additional costs of anything up to £1.3 billion for the cancellation of an estimated 55,000 elective operations in January to free up scarce beds for emergency patients, the NHS is headed into 2018-19 with a millstone of debt hanging heavy on 8 out of 10 trusts.

    More action will be needed, at local and national level to keep up the pressure for a change of course – or, if need be, a change of government. And on June 30, a few days in advance of the NHS 70th birthday on July 5, we are committed to build another even more massive protest – coupled with a celebration of the survival of the NHS despite all that has been done to it, and the dedication and skills of our wonderful NHS workforce.

    So we are asking you for your support. We have growing commitments for building the campaign, but we have no core funding: we depend on donations and affiliations. Whether you joined us in London or supported local events, or even if you could not get to either, please consider getting your trade union, campaign, Labour Party, pensioners group or other organisation to AFFILIATE to Health Campaigns Together if they have not already done so – and MAKE A DONATION towards campaigning in 2018 if you have.

    And if you are a member of a national organisation make sure they also AFFILIATE to Health Campaigns Together. Full details of how much it costs and how to pay can be found HERE, or on the back page of our latest quarterly newspaper, which is also available online HERE – with bundles available for you to use locally in campaigning, at very reasonable prices.

    Please help us build the circulation of the newspaper, spreading information on the latest twists and turns of government policy (updated further in our Newsblog, Infolinks, ACO Monitor and calendar of events.

    HCT is an alliance – and a very effective one so far, having staged two successful national demonstrations and a major conference last November.

    We can and must reach wider, build stronger and do even better: help us do what we need to defend our NHS against cuts and privatisation, and reinstate it as a fully publicly owned, delivered and accountable service free at point of use and available to all.

Sunday 28th January 2018

Dorset KONP

  • Dorset campaigners appeal for crowdfund help to save services

    Here in Dorset under our STP we’re losing 1 of our 3 A&E’s, 1 of our 3 Maternity Units with a second Maternity Unit under threat, 245 acute beds and Community Hospitals and/or beds in 5 of 13 Dorset locations.

    We’ve started the Judicial Review process, the themes of our Review are:

    1) Closure of beds before ‘replacement’ staffed services are fully in place

    2) Unsafe travel times as tens of thousands of Dorset residents will be left without access to A&E or Maternity within the ‘golden hour’

    3) That some aspects of the Consultation on the changes were so misleading as to render the whole consultation unlawful 

    Please help! We’re Crowdfunding for the next stage to Merits Hearing:


    The beds argument, which Leigh Day think is particularly strong, could help other areas across England to retain beds. You may know that there is a legal duty to have ‘replacement’ staffed services in place ahead of, or alongside, bed closures, and to have some evidence that these replacement staffed services will reduce admissions.  

    Similarly the travel times argument could support the retention of A&E and Maternity services in other areas.  

    In Dorset, people living on the Isle of Purbeck are particularly affected by the plans to downgrade Poole A&E and close Poole Maternity. Pubeck is also losing half their Community Beds, while Poole, our nearest Acute Hospital, is losing 407 of it’s 654 beds.  

    Defend Dorset NHS have a young (well by our standards - she's 30) Purbeck Claimant for our Judicial Review. She is severely affected by the loss of Poole A&E as she attends regularly by blue light ambulance for adrenal crisis. She has been granted legal aid, which has capped the amount that the Community has to raise. We need to raise £5,000 for the next stage to Merits Hearing, where we will ask for a Full Hearing. If we get a Full Hearing, we then expect to have to raise £10,000. These amounts will be matched by legal aid. 

    Please help! Wages down here are seasonal and low, while rents are some of the highest in the country, and this is still a lot for the Community to raise.  

    Please support our CrowdFunder by donating and sharing the link:


    We have also set up a Defend Dorset NHS FaceBook page. The CrowdJustice appeal is pinned to the top. Please like our FaceBook page, invite friends to like it, and share our posts:


    Thank you!

    Debby (Monkhouse)

    Defend Dorset NHS

    Dorset KONP

    Read more ...

Wednesday 24th January 2018

Health Service Journal

  • Creation of first ACOs put on pause

    "NHS England and the Department of Health have effectively paused the creation of the first accountable care organisations, pending further consultation.

    Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the ACO contract - published by NHS England in draft last year - would not be put in place in any areas until after the national commissioning organisation holds a consultation in coming months.

    He wrote to Commons health committee chair Sarah Wollaston on January 22, in response to a letter from her last week requesting that moves to implement ACOs be delayed pending a committee inquiry. "

    By Rebecca Thomas, HSJ (£)

    Read more ...

Tuesday 16th January 2018

PRESS RELEASE – for immediate use

  • Wigan, Trafford, Manchester: NHS crisis protests demand “Fix it now”

    Protesters around Greater Manchester are organising a series of demonstrations demanding action to fix the NHS crisis now. Lobbies outside meetings this month of politicians at borough and Greater Manchester level will culminate in local campaigners travelling to London to join the “Fix it now” demonstration there on Sat 3 February.

    Protesters are demanding an immediate increase in funding together with a reversal of the costly wasteful privatisation and marketisation measures by successive governments that drain NHS funding away from where it should be spent. They are writing to politicians in advance of the protests to demand answers (see for example letter at end sent to Trafford councillors by local campaigners there).

    The protests are organised by Greater Manchester Keep Our NHS Public, for which spokesperson Pia Feig said:

    Greater Manchester residents have been left to face this winter with an inadequate NHS, which some of its senior practitioners have warned us, is a dangerous service to use. We already know that the welcomed decline in mortality rates in Greater Manchester, between 2001 and 2010, has now been reversed (significantly because of a lack of nurses.)

    Long term public service recruitment and incomes policies have left our local hospitals and clinics seriously understaffed, with desperately tired staff trying to cover for vacant posts. GPs and primary care staff are severely overstretched, not being able to keep up with their increasing responsibilities for the health of residents, whilst receiving inadequate funding to do so.

    The privatisation of social care has left our elderly population, who need residential support and home care, to the vagaries of the market: many private care homes have been deemed inadequate or in need of improvement, whilst others are closing their doors to those in need. Yet 3.5% of hospital beds in Greater Manchester are needed by people who cannot receive adequate personal care at home.

    And now all the thousands of people who were waiting for their operations in early 2018, often in great pain and distress, have been told that they will have to wait even longer. The NHS is not there for them in their time of need-surely a denial of the basic principle of NHS!

    This crisis is not the result of a sudden epidemic: it is the result of year on year decisions, to cut the number of hospital beds in the Greater Manchester; to restrict training for nurses, particularly community nursing posts and to make the NHS absorb inflationary pressure – especially from PFI scheme payments for all the new buildings in primary and secondary health care.

    So what are Greater Manchester’s politicians going to do about it?

    Details of protests:

    Wigan: Friday 19 January, Wigan town hall (time TBC)

    Trafford: Tuesday, 23rd January 6.30 pm, Trafford Town Hall, Talbot Road Stretford M32 0TH

    Manchester: Tuesday 30 January, 10am Manchester town hall



    NHS in Crisis: Fix It Now!

    Councillor Joanne Harding,                                                                                     14th January 2018

    Chair of Trafford Health Scrutiny Committee

    You are charged with overseeing the decisions of the bodies that run our health and social care systems, that they are made in the best interests of Trafford residents.

    However we in Trafford, along with all other Greater Manchester residents, have been left to face this winter with an inadequate NHS, which some of its senior practitioners have warned us, is a dangerous service to use. We already know that the welcomed decline in mortality rates in Greater Manchester, between 2001 and 2010, has now been reversed (- significantly because of a lack of nurses.)

    Long term public service recruitment and incomes policies have left our local hospitals and clinics seriously understaffed, with desperately tired staff trying to cover for vacant posts. GPs and primary care staff are severely overstretched, not being able to keep up with their increasing responsibilities for the health of Trafford residents, whilst receiving inadequate funding to do so.

    The privatisation of social care has left our elderly population, who need residential support and home care, to the vagaries of the market: many private care homes in Trafford have been deemed inadequate or in need of improvement, whilst others are closing their doors to those in need. Yet 3.5% of hospital beds in Greater Manchester are needed by people who cannot receive adequate personal care at home.

    And now all the thousands of people who were waiting for their operations in early 2018, often in great pain and distress, have been told that they will have to wait even longer. The NHS is not there for them in their time of need-surely a denial of the basic principle of NHS!

    This crisis is not the result of a sudden epidemic: it is the result of year on year decisions, to cut the number of hospital beds in the Greater Manchester; to restrict training for nurses, particularly community nursing posts and to make the NHS absorb inflationary pressure – especially from PFI scheme payments for all the new buildings in primary and secondary health care.

    We ask you..what are you and your Committee going to do about it?

    Will you

    • make public the cost of the crisis to Trafford residents - in delayed health and social care?
    • publicly call on the government to end the winter crisis with a cash injection to restore the NHS budget ?
    • support the call on the government to end the cap on NHS pay now?

    Yours sincerely

    Pia G Feig

    Old Trafford Resident



    Health campaigners across the north will be gathering in Leeds on January 20th to discuss how to end the crisis in the NHS – and not just this winter!

    11- 4:30pm at St George’s Centre, Great George St, LEEDS, LS1 3BR (next to old LGI)

    The current crisis was entirely predictable after eight years of frozen real terms funding given that cost pressures have risen annually by 4%. 8,000 front line beds and 20% of mental health beds have gone, there are 40,000 unfilled nursing posts, increasing problems recruiting and retaining GPs, and staff under huge pressure to fill gaps and make do.

    At the new year more than half of acute hospitals had at least 95% of their beds full when a safe level is below 85%.

    Ambulances are queuing up outside A&E unable to deliver patients needing treatment and cuts to social care mean beds cannot be freed up by discharging those patients on the road to recovery but not yet able to look after themselves.

    We will be hearing from campaigners defending services such as Glenfield Heart Unit, Leicester, Rothbury Hospital in Northumbria, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, and Liverpool Women’s Hospital, to name a few.

    Afternoon workshops will focus on building effective campaigns against cuts and closures, galvanising Labour activists and working with councillors and MPs to challenge government policy, resisting the further fragmentation of services through the implementation of US style accountable care systems, supporting beleaguered and underpaid health workers, and putting a stop to the outsourcing of facilities staff.

    As we break for lunch at 12.30 we are planning to go outside with banners and placards for a photograph outside the LGI.

    There will then be plenty of opportunity to interview health workers and leading NHS campaigners from across the country.    

    The news regarding the NHS may be grim but on Saturday there will be huge enthusiasm and fighting spirit in the St. George’s Centre. This is a great opportunity for press and media to show that many people are organising to defend our NHS and demonstrating that change is not only essential but eminently possible.

    Dr. John Puntis, from ‘Doctors for the NHS’                          T. 07907 089152

    Mike Forster, Chair of ‘Hands off HRI’, Huddersfield          T. 07887 668740

    Gilda Peterson, ‘Leeds Keep our NHS Public’                       T. 07419 295754 

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