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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.
 
ENDS
 
NOTES FOR EDITORS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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
 

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
 


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