Last Updated on Friday, 08 January 2016 15:32
Support Doctors Tuesday 12th January
Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis, Member of BMA Junior Doctors Committee National Executive has written an excellent "CALL FROM THE BMA - TO OUR FELLOW WORKERS, TRADE UNIONISTS AND ACTIVISTS: WE NEED YOU", which is worth reading in full. Essential excerpts are copied below:
"Junior Doctors across England will be commencing industrial action on Tuesday 12th January. We are opposing this government’s attempt to impose an unsafe new contract on the medical profession. It is our view that the proposed contract represents an existential danger to the NHS as an institution.
You may be aware that the BMA had initially suspended its planned industrial action at the start of December and returned to talks with the Department of Health. That decision was made in good faith. However, over the last few weeks, in the course of negotiations with Government we have encountered only intransigence. It is clear that the government perceives our contract issue as pivotal for its attempt to “reform” the NHS towards a neoliberal, commercialised system. It is therefore evident to us that we have no choice but to transform our 98% ballot mandate into action."
The BMA currently plan to take action on the following dates:
- Tuesday 12 January 8am to 8am Wednesday 13 January - Emergency care only
- Tuesday 26th January 8am to 8am Thursday 28 January - Emergency care only
- 8am to 5pm Wednesday 10th February - Full withdrawal of labour
Dr Yannis Gourtsoyannis concludes his article by saying: "We are in no doubt that Osborne, Cameron and Hunt will use the proposed doctor’s contract as a tool for achieving the destruction of safe terms and conditions throughout the NHS and throughout the public sector. The Conservative Party is attempting to stretch the NHS into an ostensibly 7-day elective service whilst simultaneously launching the biggest assault on NHS resources in its history. The politics of austerity represents a clear and present danger to the nation’s health. A victory for the Junior Doctors would signify the first real crack in the entire edifice of austerity in the UK. Please stand with us. And when you need us, ask us. We will stand by you."
Stroud Against the Cuts encourages supporters to stop by local pickets to talk to those taking strike action and pass on messages of support and solidarity.
Picketing will be from 8am - 12noon at least, locally at:
Gloucester Royal Hospital (GRH)
Cheltenham General Hospital (CGH)
Members of SATC will attend the CGH. Get in touch with James Beecher on 07734 058789 if you would like to attend but wish to discuss sharing transport.
The following hospitals in the region will also hold pickets - in case these sites are easier for any of you to stop by on commutes/lunchbreaks:
Southmead Hospital (NBT, Bristol); University Hospitals Bristol (UHB, Bristol); Royal United Hospitals (RUH, Bath); Musgrove Park Hospital (Taunton); Yeovill Hospital (Yeovil); Weston General Hospital (WGH, Weston); Great Western Hospital (GWH, Swindon);
Meet the doctors events are being planned for the afternoon Bath, Swindon, Taunton, and in Bristol at: Millenium square fountains; Broadmead; Clifton triangle; Turbo island (Stokes croft); North street.
Check the Stroud Against the Cuts twitter account and the BMA twitter account on the day and the #junioraction tag for updates.
Two articles explaining the dispute:
1. "The connection between the junior doctors’ contract and the American corporate takeover of the NHS".
2: Six Reasons Junior Doctors Are Preparing to Strike.
Last Updated on Sunday, 27 September 2015 21:39
Press Release Stroud Against the Cuts 27/09/2015
Response to CQC inspection of services defended from privatisation in 2011-12
Last week, a team of inspectors from the CQC issued a report detailing their inspection of Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust (GCS), which runs seven community hospitals including Stroud Hospital, health clinics including Beeches Green, and community services for adults, children and young people (1).
In 2011-12, Stroud Against the Cuts led a successful campaign to keep the services now provided by GCS in the NHS (2).
A spokesperson from Stroud Against the Cuts said: “Behind the rhetoric of care closer to home the reality is that here and around the country our local hospitals and services are being run down. We know that health workers are trying their best - but to have safe services we need to stop the expensive bureaucracy of running the NHS as a beggar-my-neighbour competition between fragmented parts and private providers. (3)”
Unite the Union (4), Gloucester Area Health Sector Branch, representing over 500 health workers, issued the following response to the Gloucestershire Care Services (GCS) Care Quality Commission (CQC) report:
"We are delighted that the staff of our community NHS trust have been given the recognition they deserve by the Care Quality Commission. Our staff are caring and compassionate health providers.
We wish to extend this message from the report to GCS administrative staff and front-line reception staff, and to the porters, drivers and other, less conspicuous, workers. Our staff, unselfishly, give much time of their own time to the role of enabling our more visible health professionals to carry out the job of keeping the county's population participating in society.
We take on board what the CQC has said about areas which are struggling, but view this as part and parcel of an NHS set up to work within a competitive market.
The market diverts money meant for caring toward repeated tendering and bidding for services and on outsourcing services or entire trusts and hospitals. Health staff are increasingly spending time undertaking administrative duties that drive this wasteful marketised system. We are, however, grateful that GCS has been able to remain an NHS Trust, having watched as our out-sourced neighbours across the south-west struggle with privatisation, shrinking of services and reduction in staff terms and conditions. And we are pleased to see the trust is putting in place improvement action plans and look forward to being a part of the process.”
Stroud Against the Cuts is encouraging people to join national protests at the Conservative Party Conference on October 4th - free transport is available via coach from Stroud, organised by Unison's Local Government branch in Gloucestershire - more details at: http://stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/fightback/healthcarecuts/44-events/192-manchester-oct-protest.html
Notes for editors:
1. The trust was rated "Good for caring but Requires Improvement for providing services that were safe, effective, responsive and well-led. Community inpatient services provided at the trust’s hospitals were found to be Outstanding for caring. Safety in the urgent care service was rated Inadequate." Read the full CQC report.
2. Stroud Against the Cuts and other anti-cuts groups in Gloucestershire campaigned against plans to hand services to a private company (a so-called 'social enterprise') or conduct a competitive tendering exercise over who would run the services. Across the South West, handovers of similar services to 'social enterprises' did take place. Peninsula Community Health (PCH) - one such body - recently announced it would not extend it's contract in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, blaming a "challenging financial climate".
3. A recent estimate by a group of Liberal Democrat MPs estimated the cost of the market system in the NHS at as much as £30billion a year. Dr Jacky Davis and other doctors and campaigners including the National Health Action Party have put it at £10billion a year. The Centre of Health & the Public Interest put it at a ‘conservative’ £4.5billion a year. Read Stroud Against the Cuts member Caroline Molloy's article "The billions of wasted NHS cash no-one wants to mention".
4. Contact details for Unite the Union in Gloucester
Stroud Against the Cuts on twitter
Stroud Against the Cuts on Facebook
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 11:38
PRESS RELEASE STROUD AGAINST THE CUTS 12/03/2015
Campaigners who fought NHS privatisation cry foul over Hospital pharmacy sell-off
Contact: James Beecher 07745 058789 |
Stroud Against the Cuts, which led the successful campaign to stop community health services in Gloucestershire being handed to a social enterprise, has reacted angrily to news that Gloucestershire Care Services’ pharmacy provision will now be provided by private company Lloydspharmacy. Lloyds is owned by Celesio AG[i], a German company. Celesio is in turn majority owned by McKesson[ii], an American health and pharmaceuticals giant.
James Beecher, Chair of SATC said: “The views of local people and NHS workers have been made abundantly clear in the past – we do not want our services privatised. When our campaigning forced a survey over the proposed privatisation of Gloucestershire Care services (GCS), 91% of staff and 96% of the public who voted wanted local community health services to remain in the public sector.[iii] CEO of GCS Paul Jennings has recently claimed that “It doesn’t matter who provides the service”, but if he’s so confident of this, why wasn’t anyone asked?”
He added: “People want services to stay in the public sector for good reason: private providers cherry-pick services they think they can extract a profit from. Pieces of the NHS are chipped off, fragmenting and complicating service provision. Staff are cut, conditions worsen, and everything is conducted in secrecy behind ‘commercial confidentiality’ and exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act. Meanwhile, the expense of running tenders and a market in NHS services waste far more money than any supposed efficiencies achieved could save[iv].”
In an interview broadcast on BBC Radio Gloucestershire this morning[v], CEO of GCS Paul Jennings confirms that the on-site pharmacies at Stroud and Cirencester district hospitals will be lost as part of the arrangements with Lloyds. Mr Jennings also confirmed that negotiations between the current and future employers haven’t yet been resolved 3 weeks before the new employer takes over, leaving staff wondering where, who for and whether they will be working, and said he could “neither confirm or deny” whether the current provider of pharmacy services, Gloucester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, didn’t submit a bid because they felt it was impossible to provide an improved service for a substantial cut in funding.
Caroline Molloy, Stroud Against the Cuts co-ordinator and Green Party Cllr for Stroud Central said: “What always seems to happen is they secretly sign off a contract that neither staff nor public want and what actually happens to staff and to the service the public receive is treated almost as an afterthought to be worked out on the back of an envelope at the last minute. We don’t know much about the details here, but we do know the price offered was too low for the current NHS provider to believe it could continue to provide a quality service – where’s Lloyds’ magic wand?”
Nationally there has been controversy around the speed with which pharmacy contracts are being handed to the private sector, and it has been pointed that that private companies are able to undercut the NHS due to a VAT loophole exempting private companies but not NHS providers from VAT on medicines
Notes for editors:
[i] Celesio AG is a German healthcare and pharmaceutical multinational.
[iii] See details of the 2012 surveys here: http://www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/fightback/healthcarecuts/38-healthcare/131-press-release-crunch-point-arrives-in-long-campaign-against-local-nhs-privatisation.html. Nationally, polls regularly show that at most one in five want more private involvement in the NHS. A recent poll by YouGov, for instance, showed 74% of people think hospitals should be run in the public sector, with 18% saying they think the private sector should run these services”. Just 3% agreed with the statement “it doesn’t matter which sector they are run in, as long as the standard of service is maintained” See www.y-g.co/1NNZNJd. Indeed “In six out of eight major public service areas, the option of running them in whichever sector that can maintain standards comes last, behind nationalisation and privatisation. Most people think the public sector should be the provider of every service apart from utilities and banks”.
PRESS RELEASE 10/02/2015 Stroud Against The Cuts
CAMPAIGNERS WHO WON LOCAL NHS BATTLE ORGANISE CRISIS MEETING
WHAT: “THE NHS IN CRISIS..? REBUILD THE NHS! Public Meeting”
WHEN: Monday 23rd February, 7.30-9.30pm (doors 7pm)
WHERE: The Old Town Hall, Stroud.
In 2011 and 2012, a determined Gloucestershire-wide campaign led by Stroud Against the Cuts successfully (1) used legal action (2), petitions (3) and protests (4) to force local NHS bosses to halt the transfer of local community hospitals and 3000 health and social care workers out of the NHS (5).
Earlier this year Gloucestershire’s A&E services declared a ‘major incident’ alongside A&E services elsewhere in the country (6). On Monday 23rd February, four members of the co-ordination group that organised the successful campaign to save Stroud Hospital and others from privatisation will speak at a meeting exploring the question “How we can rebuild the NHS?”
Members of the Stroud Against the Cuts co-ordination group Hannah Basson, Chris Moore, James Beecher and Cllr Caroline Molloy will address questions including “Is the NHS sustainable?”, “Is PFI bankrupting the NHS?”, “What’s wrong with privatisation?”, and “What demands should we make?”. Hannah Basson is an NHS health worker and Equalities Officer for the Gloucester Health branch of Unite the Union (she will be speaking in a personal capacity). Cllr Caroline Molloy represents the Stroud Central ward at the District Council for the Green Party. She is also editor of the OurNHS website (7), and a freelance writer. Chris Moore led the local anti-poll-tax non-payment campaign in the 1990s, and is a Trade Unionists and Socialists against Cuts (TUSC) candidate. James Beecher is Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts.
James Beecher said: “We’re enormously proud that a campaign in Stroud was able to successfully resist the privatisation of local community health services, but since that victory in 2012, local non-emergency ambulance services have been handed to a private company, and around the country services are being forced out to tender and taken over by private companies thanks to the Health and Social Care Act – just the latest form of marketization and privatisation of our NHS. At the same time, health and social care services have seen their budgets cut, and workers have seen not only their pay decline dramatically in real terms, but – as in the case of District Nurses – experienced changes in their conditions of work that have led many to consider leaving the service. Morale in the NHS is at a low ebb and workers deserve better. We know we can resist, and win, so we’ve organised this meeting to provide people with information about what is happening and discuss the demands we should be making, and share lessons from our successful campaign” Stroud Against the Cuts have organised a further meeting, on austerity and the UK economy since the financial crisis, on Monday 23rd March, also at 7.30-9.30pm at the Old Town Hall.
Notes for editors:
1. See the press release from the time “Landmark triumph for people power”. Covered in the Stroud News & Journal.
2. See the press release from the time, “Gloucestershire People Power on Show Again”. Covered in Stroud Life and The Citizen.
3. A petition of 6,530 signatures was collected in favour of keeping community health services public, and the formal ‘engagement’ exercise showed 96% of the public and 91% of staff who voted wanted services to remain in the NHS rather than enter a ‘social enterprise’.
4. Several protests were held, including two of over 500 people in Stroud. Videos of many of the protests are available on the SATC website.
5. The original plan was to transfer the following services to a ‘social enterprise’: the hospitals at Stroud, Berkeley, Cirencester, Dilke, Fairford, Lydney, Bourton (Moore Cottage), Moreton, Tewkesbury, the Health Clinics at Beeches Green Stroud, Stonehouse Health Clinic, Sandpits Clinic Dursley, Cinderford Health Centre, Coleford Health Centre, Lydney Health Centre, Hesters Way Healthy Living Centre, Hotts Health Centre Newent, Lydbrook Health Centre, Symn Lane Clinic (Wotton-under-Edge). All District Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Specialist Nursing, Out of hours medical and nursing services, Pharmacy, Sexual Health and Chlamydia screening, Podiatry, Dental services, Wheelchair services, Musculo-skeletal services, Telehealth and Specialist Domiciliary care were also to be transferred
6. “A major incident [was] declared for two hospitals in Gloucestershire, due to high demand in A&E departments”, on 4th January, see the BBC News story. The major incident status was lifted on the 14th January, see the ITV News story.
7. Read a recent article by Cllr Molloy, “The billions of wasted NHS cash no-one wants to mention”.