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NHS at 65

Monday, 15 July 2013 14:07
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Caroline Molloy, one of Stroud Against the Cuts' volunteer co-ordinators, and a member of Gloucestershire 38 Degrees writes the following on the recent 65th birthday of the NHS

(an edited version of this piece has since appeared in the Citizen)

 

"The NHS was founded on the principle of healthcare for all, regardless of

ability to pay. I think we all recognise that anyone could have the

misfortune to be ill, or have a sick child. The NHS expresses a kind of

collective solidarity that is becoming too rare in today's society.

 

 

The NHS’s founder Nye Bevan was also very clear that there was no place for

the profit motive in healthcare. We only have to look to America - where

they spend twice as much on a fully marketised system, yet healthcare bills

are the leading cause of bankruptcy even amongst people with healthcare

insurance, to see his wisdom.

 

 

But things are changing. Last year’s Health & Social Care Act removed the

government’s legal duty to secure a comprehensive healthcare system, for

the first time since the NHS’s foundation. The government is already trying

to wash its hands of responsibility, blaming doctors, managers, patients,

anyone but themselves for rising waiting times and A&E problems. Meanwhile

they cut the NHS’s budget by nearly 25% over 5 years.

 

 

 

They've also wasted £3billion on a reorganisation that most staff oppose

and which just divides the NHS up into bits that are easier to privatise

(and makes it easier for people to jump the queue if they can pay). People

don't realise how much has already gone to profit making companies, hiding

under the NHS logo. Only last month, Patient Transport Services was

privatised, and we hear rumours more is to be put up to the lowest bidder.

Such moves would fly in the face of last year’s consultation on the future

of Gloucestershire’s 9 District hospitals, when 96% of respondees voted

against going out to such an auction. Increasingly, we aren’t even given

the choice.

 

 

Local health managers may say privately their hands are tied by the new

laws. But if that is so - and its currently unclear - I hope at least

they’ll be honest with us about it. I also hope they won’t pretend that

privatisation is a magic answer that can somehow save money without any

cuts to service and skilled staff.

 

 

We hear a lot of talk now about ‘care closer to home’ but we must ensure

this doesn’t just mean a heavier burden falling on patients and their

carers, a reduction in hospital beds, more money wasted on technologies

like ‘telehealth’ that aren’t suitable for everyone, and ultimately, people

having to pay. Privately provided, means-tested home social care is already

a disaster.

 

 

We’re promised the NHS will remain ‘free at the point of need’ but there

are already calls from some in government for people to be charged to see

their GP, or for pensioners to lose their free prescriptions. If we don’t

change direction now, we are headed to a system where private companies

pick off the profitable bits of work, NHS providers struggle to survive,

and the NHS ends up providing a rudimentary service (still ‘free’) whilst

people pay insurance premiums to get anything decent. I hope people will

work with anti-cuts groups and local 38 Degrees groups and make sure this

doesn’t happen - and we must hold our local politicians accountable as

well."

 

 

Videos related to NHS campaigning locally and nationally

Monday, 01 July 2013 12:31
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You can watch each of these videos full screen by clicking the icon that looks like this: [  ] in the bottom right hand corner (after pressing play on an individual video). If you click the youtube logo (also in the bottom right), you can watch on their site, which gives you access to the 'like' button, and easy ways to share the video via twitter/facebook/etc, or embed codes for your own website. We have put the mainstream media coverage first, because this tells the story in the clearest way. However, these reports are brief - and include some inaccuracies - so please also watch the videos made by and for campaigners further down the page. Please also note that since the section 75 regulations and other legislation associated with the Health and Social Care Act were passed in April 2013, some things have changed. Much, however, remains the same: if you put up a fight, you can win.

 

Mainstream media coverage from BBC Points West (October 2012; February 2012; January 2012) and ITV Central (February 2012)

               

 

Voices of Keep Our NHS Public; Stroud protest on Saturday 16th June; Protest on September 24th 2011

 

Caroline Molloy and Chris Moore of Stroud Against the Cuts, and Pete Stamway of Forest Against Cuts, on the announcement that Gloucestershire's community health services would remain in the NHS

   

The Threat to Our NHS - talks by a former solicitor, explaining the legal case in Gloucestershire, and Wendy Savage, from national campaign organisation Keep Our NHS Public, given in Stroud, February 2012; and an edit of the Public Meeting in Stroud, March 2012

  

Last Updated on Monday, 02 September 2013 11:00
 

NHS: 65 AND IN NEED OF YOUR SUPPORT

Monday, 01 July 2013 11:03
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See below the press release sent prior to the event for more information

 

PRESS RELEASE     01/07/2013               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: James Beecher 07583 497887 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

NHS: 65 AND IN NEED OF YOUR SUPPORT

Stroud Against The Cuts celebrate NHS’s birthday

with protest and donation to national campaign

Summary: As part of celebrations and protests nationwide, members of local grassroots organisation Stroud Against the Cuts are travelling to David Cameron’s Witney constituency on Saturday July 6th to mark the 65th birthday of the NHS (1) and challenge the role of David Cameron and the Conservative party in undermining it (2). At the protest, SATC will give an £800 cheque to national campaigning organisation ‘Keep Our NHS Public’ (3). The £800 comes from money left over after the return of donations made to the groups’ appeal to raise money for a court case to stop privatisation of parts of Gloucestershire’s NHS. In February 2012, a Judicial Review forced local health bosses to halt their attempt to privatise local services. A sustained campaign meant that in October 2012 Gloucestershire Care Services announced it would become an NHS Trust (4).

http://www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/images/NHS-65-Witney-1

Meanwhile, other campaigners in Gloucestershire will meet in Cheltenham to protest against the closure of night-time A&E services in Cheltenham (5), and the privatisation of Gloucestershire’s ambulance services, which are to be run by transport company Arriva in future (6). SATC is encouraging people interested in attending either of these demonstrations to contact them for further information and to share transport: 07583 497887 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

To mark the 65th birthday of the NHS and challenge the role of David Cameron and the Conservative party in undermining it, campaigners and health-workers involved in Stroud Against the Cuts (7) are travelling to David Cameron’s Witney constituency on Saturday July 6th. Dubbed the ‘Camarathon’, the protest will involve Dr Clive Peedell and fellow oncologist Dr David Wilson running through the night from Parliament to David Cameron's Witney constituency. Wearing Cameron and Clegg masks and dressed as undertakers, the Doctors will lead a hearse and bury a symbolic coffin in Witney, before speaking with others on how they intend to resurrect the NHS. (8)

 http://www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/images/NHS-65-Witney-3

Caroline Molloy said: "No-one wants NHS services privatised: 96 per cent of the Gloucestershire public voted against it last year (9). But too many people don’t realise that the NHS is being sold off to private companies because they often hide behind an NHS logo (10). The NHS is getting the blame when patient care suffers, but this is happening because of privatisation: companies extracting profits and cutting corners by using cheaper, less skilled staff”.

James Beecher said: “It is encouraging to see the growing fightback we and other anti-cuts groups in Gloucestershire helped inspire. I urge people to get involved in the campaign to defend our publicly-owned, publicly-accountable NHS. Access to healthcare for all, that is not dependent on the ability to pay, is as important now as it ever was”

Chris Moore said: “Our achievement locally was important, but we are fighting to defend our National Health Service. For that we need to bring together campaigns from around the country, health trade unions and others for a national demonstration. The TUC has said it will explore the possibility of a 24hr general strike and I believe this should be implemented - health-workers will sadly need to consider industrial action if we are to push back the government”

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1.    1. See: “Happy birthday! Celebrating the NHS as it turns 65”, by Julia McWatt.  http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/celebrating-nhs-turns-65-4725520

2. .     Cameron closed the 2006 Conservative Party conference with the words “for me, it is not just a question of saying the NHS is safe in my hands - of course it will be”. This April the Health & Social Care Act came into law, the provisions of which encourage privatisation of the NHS according to campaigners. At the same time, though senior Tories continue to insist the NHS budget has been ‘ringfenced’ from cuts, “One survey has shown that £2.7 billion, or the equivalent of 20 per cent of care budgets, has been stripped out of adult care services since 2010… since councils are being bled dry, the NHS will have to pick up the tab. In other words, the ring fence that David Cameron promised is no more.” (Mary Riddell, writing in The Telegraph in response to last week’s Comprehensive Spending Review: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/maryriddell/100223605/george-osborne-kills-off-the-nhs-ring-fence/)

3.     3. Launched in October 2005, Keep Our NHS Public's founding organisations included the NHS Support Federation, the NHS Consultants' Association and Health Emergency. With support from pensioners' associations, unions (both nationally and at branch level), the Junior Doctors' Committee of the British Medical Association, the TUC and many others, both groups and individuals, the campaign continues to grow as the consequences of the government's privatisation policies become ever clearer. KONP Chair Wendy Savage spoke in Stroud in February 2012 (http://stroudcommunity.tv/wendy-savage-talk-the-threat-to-our-nhs/). For More information see: http://www.keepournhspublic.com/ 

4.     4. See this press release from Gloucestershire Care Services: http://www.glos-care.nhs.uk/news/130-launch-of-nhs-trust-marks-new-era

 

5.  Hundreds march through Cheltenham to protest A&E 'downgrade'. Read more: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Hundreds-march-Cheltenham-protest-E-downgrade/story-18643065-detail/story.html#ixzz2Xmy3OZeC

 

6.    6.  See more on Arriva taking over the contract for ‘Patient Transfer Services’ and their past failings when running similar services, here: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Gloucestershire-ambulance-service-privatised/story-19307251-detail/story.html#ixzz2XmwGefCc

7.     7. Stroud Against the Cuts was formed in November 2010. It is organised at regular meetings to which anyone who opposes cuts and privatisation is welcome to attend. The next meeting is on Thursday July 11th, 7pm at The Exchange, Brick Row, Stroud. For more information see: http://www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk 

8.     8. For more information and the full itinerary of the ‘Camarathon’ see: http://www.keepournhspublic.com/camarathon.php. Dr Clive Peedell is a consultant oncologist and a member of the BMA Council. He is also the co-founder and co-leader of the National Health Action party. In January 2012 he ran 160 miles in 6 days, from Aneurin Bevan's Statue in Cardiff to the Department of Health, Richmond House, Whitehall, London, to protest against the Health and Social Care Bill and NHS privatisation. For more information see: http://bevansrun.blogspot.co.uk/. In April 2013 Dr Clive Peedell was joined by Dr David Wilson, also a consultant oncologist, for a 35-mile ‘Cleggython’ to Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam constituency. See: http://www.nationalhealthaction.org.uk/cancer-doctor-completes-35-mile-marathon/  

 

9.    9.  See:  http://www.nhsglos.nhs.uk/2012/10/nhs-gloucestershire-nhs-swindon-board-papers-for-october-15th-2012/ appendix 5 (public consultation results).

 

 

10.  10. Around the country services have been handed over to private companies such as Serco, Virgin, Care UK and Circle – companies which are often connected to parliamentary representatives (see: http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/nhs-privatisation-compilation-of.html). In terms of negative changes following privatisation see one example regarding Serco: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/sep/20/serco-nhs-false-data-gps, one example regarding Virgin (and their failures while running GPs surgery’s in Cameron’s constituency): http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/yourtown/witney/9795745.Patients_sick_of_wait_to_see_surgery_s_GPs/, examples regarding Care UK: http://www.rightsandwrongs.co.uk/health/82-general/17250-health-care-uk-not-fit-for-purpose-to-manage-nhs-services-, and one example regarding Circle: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/nov/10/private-nhs-hospital-accident.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 12:22
 

A landmark triumph for people power

Monday, 15 October 2012 12:16
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Press Release – Stroud Against the Cuts – 15/10/12 – for immediate release

Gloucestershire’s Community Hospitals to stay in NHS –outsourcing decision reversed

Today Gloucestershire NHS campaigners were celebrating victory as Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust

announced that the county’s 8 community hospitals and health services (including 3000 nurses and other health

workers[1]) would remain in the NHS – reversing an earlier decision to outsource services, in what would have been

the largest such transfer in the country.  The board of NHS Gloucestershire voted today to create a new standalone

NHS Trust [2], and to reject the option of opening health services up to private sector bids.  Locally this means staff

and hospitals will remain wholly part of the NHS. At a time when many NHS Community health services elsewhere in

the country are being tendered and taken over by private companies like Virgin and Serco [3, 4], and when concern

about the consequences of the recent NHS Act is increasing at the highest levels [5], it is also a decision with

significant national implications, and the first decision of its kind.

The decision follows a hard-fought 18 month campaign by anti-cuts campaigners across the county, including a

High Court challenge against the Primary Care Trust’s outsourcing plans by 76 year old Michael Lloyd of Stroud,

who argued that NHS options for services had not properly been considered.  Lawyers acting for Mr Lloyd obtained

a court order in February 2012 [6] halting the proposed outsourcing and requiring NHS Gloucestershire to go back

to the drawing board and properly consider NHS options. In May, health ministers conceded [7] and the PCT

accepted [8] what campaigners had always argued - that creating an NHS Trust was an option, and that there was

no legal requirement on local health bosses to put services up for tender. The court order had also required NHS

Gloucestershire to consult staff and the public – consultations which resulted in 91% of staff, and 96% of the public

voting for the services to be run by an NHS Trust [9].

Michael Lloyd, a retired railway-man from Stroud, said “I am delighted by today’s decision. I can remember what

life was like before the NHS existed, and we cannot allow a return to the fear and poverty that ill health brought in

those days, and indeed still brings in the American market-based system.  Our NHS is too precious to be handed

over to anyone on a political whim, nor should it have to compete against private providers, who are only interested

in maximising their profits. The public, and the staff who provide my healthcare, should have been consulted in the

first place, so I’m very pleased that our voices have been listened to at last.”

Caroline Molloy of Stroud Against the Cuts said “This is a triumph for people power, and the outcome we’ve worked

for from the start. We would like to pay tribute to the tens of thousands of people across Gloucestershire who have

contributed to this victory for our NHS, whether by marching, filling in consultations and petitions, attending

meetings, contributing financially, or helping the campaign in countless other ways. We also owe a huge debt to the

brave members of staff and trade unionists who spoke out, to the national campaigners like Keep Our NHS Public

who have supported us, to the legal services commission who made the court case possible through legal aid

funding, and most of all to Mr Lloyd, without whom, all these NHS staff and local hospitals would have already left

the NHS. We were told over and over that there was no alternative to outsourcing our hospitals – but today we’ve

proved that to be false. We’ve also shown that despite statements to the contrary, competitive tendering out of the

NHS isn’t compulsory, and that local health bosses retain discretion to keep all services in house.”

Claude Mickleson of Forest against the Cuts added “We know that the NHS still faces wider threats, both locally and

nationally, with widespread attempts to privatise, cuts staff numbers and to lower pay.  We will need to be vigilant –

but we will be better able to resist future attacks now that we have won this battle.  We hope today’s outcome makes

everyone – including the Clinical Commissioning Group who will soon take over decision making in Gloucestershire -

realise that when the principles of a free, publicly owned NHS are under attack, people can and will stand up protect it.”

ENDS
For more info please contact Caroline Molloy 07931 302507

Notes for Editors
[1] The services affected are eight community hospitals (Stroud, Cirencester, Dilke, Fairford, Lydney, Moreton,

Tewkesbury, and the new Vale Hospital in Dursley) and nine health clinics (Beeches Green Stroud, Stonehouse

Health Clinic, Cinderford Health Centre, Coleford Health Centre, Lydney Health Centre, Hesters Way Healthy Living

Centre, Holts Health Centre Newent, Lydbrook Health Centre, Symn Lane Clinic), as well as District Nursing, Health

Visiting, Podiatry.

[2]As the Health & Social Care Act 2012 abolished Primary Care Trusts with effect from April 2013, the PCT’s

‘provider arms’, ie community services, have had to find new homes.  In most of the country these services have

been housed in other NHS Trusts, but across the South West there was a widespread move to outsource to

non-NHS providers, a move that started under the ‘Transforming Community Services’ programme introduced by

the last government.

[3] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/features/9193015/Healthy-competition-in-the-NHS-is-a-sick-joke.html

[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-19786652

[5] http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/oct/13/david-nicholson-fears-nhs-reforms

[6] http://www.nhsglos.nhs.uk/2012/10/nhs-gloucestershire-nhs-swindon-board-papers-for-october-15th-2012/ see appendix 2 for court order

[7] http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/exchanges_between_doh_and_glouce in particular, see second letter from Department of Health to Geoffrey Cliften Brown MP (attachment 701443), dated 21st May.  There had been earlier misunderstanding about the need for tendering in some quarters, see for example: http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk/news/9655101.Stroud_MP_Neil_Carmichael_refuses_to_join__Keep_NHS_public__campaign/

[8] See for example http://keepglosnhspublic.posterous.com/communication-from-the-board-of-nhs-glouceste letter from Jan Stubbings dated 16 May (scroll down)

[9] http://www.nhsglos.nhs.uk/2012/10/nhs-gloucestershire-nhs-swindon-board-papers-for-october-15th-2012/ appendix 3 (staff consultation results), app.x 5 (public consultation results) 

Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2012 15:18
 

PRESS RELEASE: CRUNCH POINT ARRIVES IN LONG CAMPAIGN AGAINST LOCAL NHS PRIVATISATION

Friday, 12 October 2012 11:02
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CAMPAIGNERS URGE PCT BOARD TO HEED MASSIVE PUBLIC VOTE FOR NHS TRUST TO RUN LOCAL HEALTH SERVICES

Interview/Photo Opportunity: Monday October 15th, [campaigners from across Gloucestershire will attend an extraordinary board meeting and  respond to the decision on the future of Gloucestershire’s health services]. Contact: Caroline Molloy, Stroud Against the Cuts - 07931 302507

On Monday, October 15th, the Board of NHS Gloucestershire will hold an extraordinary meeting to decide whether Gloucestershire’s community health services will be run by an NHS Trust, or opened up to bids from the private sector.

This marks a decisive moment in Gloucestershire campaigners’ long running campaign to keep the county’s community hospitals, clinics and health services in the NHS.  Earlier plans to transfer Gloucestershire’s community hospitals, clinics and health services [1], to a “social enterprise” (a non-NHS body) on 1st October 2011, were halted in an eleventh hour legal challenge by retired railway worker Michael Lloyd, 76, from Stroud, in Feb 2012.

On Wednesday 10th October 2012, NHS Gloucestershire revealed the outcome of a public consultation, which they were obliged to conduct as part of the legal settlement reached with Mr Lloyd. NHS Gloucestershire state [2] that “During the 12 week engagement period, NHS Gloucestershire has received a significant level of feedback regarding the future management of its community health services. The overwhelming majority of respondents, from all groups, expressed a preference for Option 1 – the establishment of a new NHS Trust.” (emphasis added). Of 2,564 responses, 96% voted for Option 1, in addition to a petition of 6,530 signatures expressing support for Option 1.

James Beecher from Stroud Against the Cuts responded by saying “We would like to thank all those who completed the survey and who’ve helped the campaign get to this stage. We’ve always said that putting our health services out to tender was unnecessary and that staying in the NHS via a new NHS Trust was possible, popular, and appropriate.  We’re glad that NHS Gloucestershire has now made clear that this is a valid option and one for which, as they say themselves, support is “overwhelming”.”

Caroline Molloy from Stroud Against the Cuts added “Having established that both patients and staff want our NHS to remain in public hands, without tendering, that this is entirely possible, and the considerable disadvantages of going out to tender, it would be astonishing and irrational if the board instead opted for ongoing uncertainty and the risk of private take-over.  We urge the board to listen to the public, and to allow staff to get on with the job of looking after patients within the NHS.”.

The court settlement also required NHS Gloucestershire to survey NHS staff, and the report released on Wednesday [3] again states that their “overwhelming preference” is “to be a standalone organisation in the form of an NHS Trust”, with 1,482 staff voting for this option ( 91.03% of the responses).

The report also confirms that going out to tender would be a lengthy and complex process which could lead to services being split up, that a private sector takeover would incur additional costs which would have to be recouped in ‘efficiency savings’, and if this option were chosen, the ownership of hospital and health buildings would be transferred out of the NHS, to a company called ‘PropCo’.

Notes to editors:

[1] The services that are under discussion include eight community hospitals (Stroud, Cirencester, Dilke, Fairford, Lydney, Moreton, Tewkesbury, and the new Vale Hospital in Dursley) and nine health clinics (Beeches Green Stroud, Stonehouse Health Clinic, Cinderford Health Centre, Coleford Health
Centre, Lydney Health Centre, Hesters Way Healthy Living Centre, Holts Health Centre Newent, Lydbrook Health Centre, Symn Lane Clinic (Wotton-under-Edge)), as well as services such as District Nursing and Podiatry.

[2] For the report on the public “engagement exercise” see: http://www.nhsglos.nhs.uk/?wpfb_dl=2454 [1]

[3]     For the report on the survey of affected staff see:
http://www.nhsglos.nhs.uk/?wpfb_dl=2452 [3] 

Last Updated on Friday, 13 March 2015 15:47
 


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