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NHS - latest news from Keep Our NHS Public and others

Wednesday, 27 November 2013 18:05
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As many Stroud Against the Cuts supporters joined due to our involvement in the Keep Gloucestershire's NHS Public campaign (which successfully prevented Gloucestershire's community health services being privatised), we want to keep you informed of NHS issues. The below stories come via our affiliate membership to the national campaigning organisation Keep Our NHS Public and subscription to the Open Democracy: Our NHS email list. If you would like to recieve such updates by email, and engage in discussion about them, you can join a yahoo group for those concerned about NHS cuts and privatisation in Gloucestershire:


Update to 10/03/2014

Our NHS: Caroline Molloy -  Coalition MPs vote through sweeping hospital closure powers. The controversial Clause 119 of the Care Bill, dubbed the ‘Hospital Closure Clause’, has won a crucial vote in the Commons. The decision is likely to be met with anger by campaigners... The Clause broke the Coalition Agreement promise to "end the centrally mandated closure of A&E and maternity wards", instead making it far easier, many Labour MPs alleged. Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, did not attend until the closing summary of the debate, a move which was labelled as "extraordinary" by Grahame Morris MP and seemed to leave some on his own benches unimpressed... Many MPs highlighted the importance of local hospitals, and concerns that increasing financial difficulties could suck more hospitals and other health services into ‘backdoor reconfiguration’ if the Clause was passed. Read the full article here:

Clive Peedell - Outsourcing cancer care - the biggest and most reckless NHS privatisation yet? In the biggest outsourcing to date, the NHS has announced it is tendering a huge £700 million contract for providing NHS cancer care in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, along with another £500million for end of life care in the region. It’s a dramatic indication of the rapidly increasing commercialisation and privatisation of the NHS. In the messy fight over the Health & Social Care Act, during the ‘listening pause’ the Coalition promised parliament the changes they had made to the legislation included “ruling out any question of privatisation”... Private sector providers will only be interested in managing the high volume, low complexity work, leaving more complex and uncommon cancer care to the established NHS centres. The NHS will lose both government money and already scarce staff to the private sector. Read the full article here:

Our NHS: Andrew Causon: "The NHS, the LibDems & the "Undesirable Contact Man"." Last month one of the Lib Dems biggest donors, Sudhir Choudhrie and his son Bhanu Choudhrie, were arrested by the Serious Fraud Office in connection with alleged bribes paid by Rolls-Royce (makers of military jets) to the Chinese and Indonesian governments. The Choudhries and their healthcare business Alpha Health are one of the Lib Dems largest donors, giving them a total of £1.26 million over the last 10 years, including hefty individual donations. In November last year Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes accepted a £60,000 donation from Sudhir Choudhrie. At the time of their arrest the Guardian reported that Sudhir Choudhrie was on the Indian government`s list of "dubious" middlemen whom government agencies must keep at arm's length. The official term is "Undesirable Contact Men" (UCM)... A few months later, in March 2004 Choudhrie’s healthcare business Alpha Health gave the Lib Dems their first £10,000. In September that year the Orange Book – Reclaiming Liberalism was published. This was a collection of essays by the party`s right-wingers, included one on “reforming” the NHS by disgraced former banker David Laws. On May 2005 Alpha Health made its second donation; this time of £100,000. Five months later, Nick Clegg, then a leading candidate for party leader gave an interview to The Independent, where he told Marie Woolf: “One very, very important point – I think breaking up the NHS is exactly what you do need to do to make it a more responsive service. I don’t think anything should be ruled out.” Read full article

Daily Mirror: "Firm with links to top Tory sucks £2.6 million from NHS 'reforms' he helped push through."

A firm boasting a close advisor to the PM on its board of directors has sucked £2.6m from the NHS in 10 months by filling vacancies caused by Tory health reforms. Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi – who helped push the controversial GPs’ funding system through the Commons – was appointed non-executive director of recruitment firm SThree in 2008. And the firm has been staffing new Clinical Commissioning Groups set up under the Health and Social Care Bill, via an arm of its international business specialising in “Healthcare & Life Sciences sectors” called Real Staffing... Dr Clive Peedell of the National Health Action Party, said: “It looks like a collosal amount of money going out of the NHS which could be spent on direct patient care instead of going to shareholders.”
Read the full article

(worth pointing again, at this point, to this "Compilation of Parliamentary Financial Links to Private Healthcare", by Social Investigations)


BBC News: 'Worrying shortage of senior NHS nurses'.

The NHS has lost nearly 4,000 senior nursing posts since 2010, putting patient care at risk, warns the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). The void includes ward sisters, community matrons and specialist nurses and has been brought about by cost saving reorganisation, it says. According to the most recent data, in November 2013, the NHS was still short of 1,199 full time equivalent (FTE) registered nurses compared with April 2010. The RCN says that hidden within wider nursing workforce cuts are a significant loss and devaluation of skills and experience in the NHS, with 3,994 FTE nursing staff working in senior positions. Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: " These cuts are a short-term attempt by trusts to find efficiency savings, yet they will lead to a very serious and very long-term crisis in our health service."
Read the full article

Also covered in Hospital Doctor here:

The Financial Times: "Private groups invited to help NHS buy services."
The NHS has for the first time asked the private sector to help purchase billions of pounds worth of services for hospitals and GPs. NHS England on Tuesday advertised for companies to compete for work worth at least £5bn advising the new doctor-led clinical commissioning groups, which spend more than two-thirds of the NHS budget buying care for patients... It also highlights the opportunities for private sector investment in the service despite political sensitivity. Roughly 30 bidders, including Serco, Optum, part of United Health, and Assura, are expected to compete for the work, which will see them appointed to a “framework” of preferred suppliers, which can be used by hospitals and GPs to buy services more quickly.Voluntary sector providers, local authorities and NHS organisations are also expected to bid, many in partnership with private sector companies such as Capita or KPMG, for example.

Rabble: Story on Allyson Pollock talk on the privatisation of England's NHS, given in Canada.  Pollock is the Founder and, between 2005-2011, co-ordinator for the Centre for International Public Health Policy University of Edinburgh.. Read the full story here:

South Yorkshire Times: "Further strike action for Doncaster care staff."

Care UK staff in Doncaster are set for a further seven-day strike after union members could not come to an agreement with bosses over terms and conditions. Unison representative Jim Bell met with Care UK morning, when he gave legal notice of a further week-long industrial action. A seven-day strike was held last week after union members, who care for some of the most vulnerable people in society, voted overwhelmingly for action over management threats to slash their wages by up to 50%. Mr Bell said: “We had a meeting brought about by ACAS last Friday and heard the company had made marginal improvements on the transitional payments from 12 to 14 months, but there has been no movement on holidays or sick pay. We spent a day with ACAS and that offer was unanimously rejected. Members are 100 per cent committed to defending their terms.”
Read the full article

Independent: "NHS faces ‘managed decline’ unless it is properly funded, says health chief."

The NHS cannot survive in its current form and problems could escalate to the point where anyone who can afford it will choose to go private, the chief executive of NHS England has warned.
Read the full article 


Read updates for previous weeks by clicking 'read more' below:

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 March 2014 12:45

Stroud Against the Cuts supports District Nurses

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 10:01
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Members of Stroud Against the Cuts demonstrated their support for District Nurses in Gloucestershire on Tuesday 12th November 2013, outside the Board meeting of Gloucestershire Care Services (GCS) in Stroud. GCS is the Trust which employs District Nurses and is currently conducting a consultation regarding changes to working conditions. The consultation ends on Friday 15th November. Stroud Against the Cuts encourages District Nurses to:

  • Complete the formal consultation making clear their individual and collective concerns.
  • Contact union representatives with concerns: RCN - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Unison - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Contact Stroud Against the Cuts to discuss concerns:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it / 07583 497887

Our previous press release can be viewed here. A further press released will be issued ASAP.



Monday, 04 November 2013 13:14
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CONTACT - CAROLINE MOLLOY 07931 302507 / JAMES BEECHER 07583 497887 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it





Summary:  Stroud Against the Cuts [1] have written [2] to Gloucestershire Care Services raising serious concerns about proposals to change the way District Nurses work. Staff have told Stroud Against the Cuts they are deeply worried about the changes, which may mean District Nurses working in isolation from each other and their colleagues, jeopardising both their safety and professional standards. Campaigners will attend the next board meeting of Gloucestershire Care Services, which will be held in Stroud Town Hall on November 12th at 9.30am [3], and which members of the public can attend.

Gloucestershire Care Services - the body which provides community health services in Gloucestershire, set up after local campaigners prevented such services being privatised -  has proposed changes to the way District Nurses work. The changes are currently subject to a staff consultation but a number of staff have told campaigners they feel their voices are not being heard. District Nurses have told SATC that under the changes they will no longer work from local health clinics, but will be expected to work in their cars between patients. Staff have already begun to raise concerns anonymously with the local press [4]. Campaigners also point to government plans to sell off ‘underused’ parts of the NHS estate, and question whether moving District Nurses out of health clinics, is a step towards this.

Caroline Molloy, one of Stroud Against the Cuts’ volunteer co-ordinators, said “We are worried about the attitude of Gloucestershire Care Services - when nurses raised concerns about working alone in their cars on dark country lanes, they were told to work in Costa Coffee, which is utterly inappropriate for entering confidential patient data. We have been told that nurses are so unhappy they are leaving - this loss of experienced nurses is not something the NHS can afford. We hear a lot these days about ‘integrating’ healthcare with social care, and we understand these plans are part of these proposals. But these plans seem to take some of the worst aspects of social care - isolated staff like home helps, with far less opportunity for professional support and interaction - and apply them to our NHS nurses.”

In the letter (attached) to Gloucestershire Care Services campaigners ask 7 questions:

1.    Have they considered the clinical impact, particularly on professional development and standards, of staff not having a fixed base where they can interact with other clinicians?

2.    What impact will the changes have on plans to keep open - or close/sell off - NHS clinics?

3.    Why have they not consulted patients about this substantive change to NHS services?

4.    How have they involved patients in the planning of this change, in line with their legal duties under the NHS Constitution?

5.    Have they done the legally required risk assessments?

6.    Have they involved staff in them?

7.    Have they considered the impact on equality for patients and staff?

Stroud Against the Cuts have for the last two weeks been trying to get the County’s Health & Overview Scrutiny Committee [5], the group of councillors responsible for scrutinising NHS decisions in Gloucestershire to ask these questions, but has been told by the Chair, Labour Cllr Stephen Lydon, that he is not yet ‘convinced there is an issue’ and that raising these questions is not the role of Scrutiny. Chris Moore, another co-ordinator of SATC, said “This is strange and unhelpful as Scrutiny has raised questions about NHS services in the past. We will continue to strive to get answers and will support any action that staff and/or their unions wish to take.”



Click Read More below for notes to editors


Campaigners take fight against NHS privatisation to Manchester

Tuesday, 01 October 2013 10:46
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Press Release 01/10/2013
Campaigners take fight against NHS privatisation to Manchester
Members of Stroud Against the Cuts and other local groups joined a national demonstration outside The Conservative Party’s annual conference on Sunday.
Summary: On Sunday 29th September, more than 50,000 people marched through Manchester.
Among them were around 70 people from Gloucestershire, who travelled on coaches organised by Stroud Against the Cuts and the Gloucestershire branch of Unite Community, and by Unite the Union. Having successfully defended Gloucestershire’s community health services from privatisation last year, campaigners said they attended the march to “send a clear message to the Conservative Party that privatisation of the NHS is unacceptable and will be resisted at every opportunity.” Healthworkers, and members of Unison and Unite, and other trade unions were present, as well members of 38degrees Gloucestershire, Cheltenham and Gloucester Against Cuts and Forest of Dean Against Cuts, and concerned members of the public.
On a sunny September Sunday, thousands of people marched through the streets of Manchester [1] – passing the site of the Conservative Party Conference, which concludes on Wednesday 02/10/2013 [2]. Greater Manchester Police. Greater Manchester Police estimated 50,000 attended the protest and said it was “One of the largest ever policed by GMP” [3]. While organisers claimed as many as 75,000 took part. Many carried placards saying “NHS not Trident”, a reference to the policy of ‘efficiency savings’ in the NHS and the cost of replacing the UK’s Nuclear weapons system.
James Beecher, one of Stroud Against the Cuts’ co-ordinators said: “The government says it has ringfenced funding on the NHS, and claims it is increasing year-on-year – but with the population and healthcare needs rising, and more than £3 billion wasted on an unnecessary top-down re-organisation, budgets are creaking and care is suffering as a result, as we see with the downgrading of A&E at Cheltenham General Hospital [4]. Following the Health and Social Care Act, private companies are increasingly taking over the management of services – with Arriva taking over non-emergency ambulances locally for instance [5] – diverting money from patient care to shareholder pockets”
Caroline Molloy, another of Stroud Against the Cuts’ co-ordinators said: “Everyone is very fired up and we have been talking to people about what we’ve been doing in Gloucestershire, fighting privitisation in the NHS. It seems others are facing similar problems”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘Austerity is having a devastating effect on our communities and services, with 21,000 NHS jobs lost over the last three months alone. The NHS is one of Britain’s finest achievements and we will not allow ministers to destroy, through cuts and privatisation, what has taken generations to build.’
Under the title “Save Our NHS: Defend Jobs and Services – No to Austerity” the march was not only about health services. Protesters from campaigns against the Bedroom Tax, Atos’ much-criticised ‘fit-for-work’ tests, and cuts to libraries and pensions were also part of the march – as well as campaigners against fracking and a large contingent opposing the badger cull.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 11:03

Join Stroud Against the Cuts at the national ‘Save Our NHS’ protest march

Monday, 23 September 2013 12:43
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Join Stroud Against the Cuts at the national ‘Save Our NHS’ protest march against government cuts and privatisation in Manchester on Sunday 29th September.

A coach is leaving Merrywalks bus station at 8.30am on Sunday (please arrive by 8.15am at the latest so we can leave on time. We will not be able to wait for you as same coach is picking up from Pulman Court in Gloucester at 9am). Phone Steve Hunter on 07799 812633 or Sue Powell on 07947 632 437 As Soon As Possible to book your seat. More details below...

The ‘Save Our NHS’ protest will highlight the impact of huge job losses and spending cuts across the health service, as well as the way in which private companies – many of whom are also Conservative Party donors – are taking over our NHS. The demonstration will also raise concerns about the wider effect of the government’s policies.

Please do as many of the following as possible this week:

  1. Book your seat on the coach if you can attend. The coach will leave Merrywalks bus station at 8.30am on Sunday and is FREE. We will be asking those who can afford it to make donations to cover costs and for us to campaign, but if you cannot afford to make a donation you are still more than welcome – no-one will be turned away for lack of funds. Phone Steve Hunter on 07799 812633 or Sue Powell on 07947 632 437 ASAP to book your seat.The organisers are asking people to dress up and/or bring things that will make a noise (see NHS 299 back.jpg, attached). We will have a few vuvezelas etc, but please bring what you can.
  2. Pass this information on to friends and family - and let them know there are also coaches from Gloucester, Swindon, Bristol, and all around the country (click on the appropriate area of the map)
  3. If you use twitter, retweet this tweet and/or send versions of it to other people on twitter. If you use facebook, post the following, or something similar: “No to privatisation - no to cuts - Save Our NHS! Join the Protest outside Conservative Party Conference, in Manchester this Sunday September 29th - see the website for more information". Click here for more ideas on supporting the protest online. Please feel free to print and distribute the attached A4 poster (which can be photocopied to make an A5 flyer).


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 October 2013 10:52

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