Thursday 24th July 2014
Wendy Savage - Consequences of privatising cancer care
Last night I attended and spoke at a book launch of Mike Marqusee's book The Price of Experience: Writings on Living with Cancer
, where he spoke movingly about his treatment at Barts and his fears that the attacks on the NHS will mean patients in the future will not have the excellent care he has received.
Surely the combined CCGs in Staffordshire should have been talking to their existing NHS hospitals and asking them to collaborate to provide a more responsive and streamlined service before embarking on this huge experiment with taxpayers' money? In the previous decade, the NHS (under Labour) made great strides in improving cancer services through networks such as that in east London, yet in 2011 Andrew Lansley withdrew funding for these despite their proven successes. Now we have groups of GPs, with no training in epidemiology, oncology or commissioning, making plans to spend millions on an untried system with private companies, who have no experience in cancer care, eagerly waiting to make profits from these sick patients.
Similarly, the Cambridgeshire CCG, which wants to try a radically different system of care for the elderly, is planning to spend over a billion pounds of our money. This is madness, and the dishonesty of the current government ("there is no privatisation"; "there will be no top-down reorganisation") is matched by the Department of Health's spokesperson who said: "NHS competition rules have not changed under this government." What about the Health and Social Care Act 2012, or the section 75 regulation that was passed this year? It is time for the public to wake up, stand up and fight for our NHS by lobbying their MPs.
President, Keep Our NHS Public
NHS cancer care could switch to private contracts in £700m plans
Mike Marqusee's book
Stop multinationals getting their claws into our NHS
KONP is seriously concerned that the EU-US negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would lead to health and social services being permanently provided on a market basis across the EU, including in the UK. Read more ...
Proud of the NHS Pin
A small pin to wear with pride whether you work for or use our NHS
Yours for £3 (including p+p)
10 pins for £25 (including p+p)
See our campaign resources
page for ordering details.
- Do you trust the coalition government with your
confidential medical records? Do you think a huge new database of NHS numbers and your personal info, available to private companies, can be kept safely and permanently anonymised? If you do, ignore this leaflet, but if you don't we invite you to act now and tell your GP you want to OPT OUT of the care.data scheme.
See also this care.data briefing paper
and this letter to David Nicholson, Chief Executive, NHS England raising many vital questions about the care.data scheme
- Liberating the NHS: source and destination of the Lansley reform - Lucy Reynolds, John Lister, Alex Scott-Samuel, Martin McKee. 2011 paper on the Thatcherite roots of the Health & Social Care Act 2012
- The Cost of Grief? A personal account by Michael Volpe, who has had unfortunate cause to realise how much of what the health service does is impossible to "value". A powerful reminder of why we must continue to fight for our NHS.
KONP Introduction for Campaigners
A guide aimed both at those who are new to Keep our NHS Public and NHS campaigning, and those who have more experience. It aims to cover the main issues facing the NHS - how we got here, where we are now, and where we might be going - and to give you confidence to talk to local health decision makers, the media, fellow campaigners, patients and the general public about what is going on.
Click here for more details
Also see CCG Campaign Guide - Resisting Privatisation, written for Keep Our NHS Public by Caroline Molloy.
Campaigners in Brixton protest
outside a Virgin shop
Food for thought for a Virgin campaign in your area?
Watch the video
Tory £5.6bn NHS sell off
Since Jeremy Hunt has been Health Secretary, over 84 lucrative NHS contracts have been put out to tender, amounting to more than £5.6 billion pounds
The latest issue of the KONP Newspaper is now available.
Why not buy a bundle and distribute to:
Click here to purchase single or multiple copies
- The public, on the high street, through stalls.
- NHS workers - by distributing to local NHS union branches - ask them to make a bulk order.
- GP surgeries - most GPs are willing to take a bundle to place in their waiting rooms for patients to read.
A Unique Inquiry
The People's Inquiry into London's NHS completed its information-gathering stage in Lewisham Hospital on December 6, having held seven public hearings in different parts of London, and received evidence from around 100 people. This is a unique and significant body of information on the capital's health services.
We will be publishing more details of our hearings - edited transcripts, documents and written evidence submitted to the Inquiry - as they are made ready in the next few weeks, with the full report and the panel's recommendations to be published in early March.
Further details here
KONP protests at BBC coverage of the
Some of our members demonstrated in Portland Place against the poor performance of the BBC in covering the fundamental changes which are currently happening in the Health Service. A letter was delivered to Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC.
Click the image to read the letter
Briefings for KONP groups
It is important that local action is taken to ensure we keep pressure on local authorities and through them on CCGs. These briefings are for local KONP groups to circulate to their members to then decide what actions they will take.
Lords vote to accept Government's privatisation regulations
Lord Hunt, Labour's lead on Health in the House of Lords, proposed a motion on 24 April to annul the regulations under Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The vote was won by the government by a majority of 254 to 146, so these regulations will govern how commissioning in the health service operates until they are changed.
We had been expecting a vote which was much closer than that, although few of us thought there was a real chance of winning. There seem to be two main reasons for this big majority:
What can we learn from this?
- Despite this being a three line whip, only 51% of Labour Lords voted, compared with 70% for the Conservatives and 77% for the LibDems. One Labour peer voted with the government. No Conservatives or LibDems voted against.
- The Government is in charge of the timetable for debates, and introduced some lengthy new items, including a debate which took more than an hour about the choice between two different systems for choosing the topics of backbench-led debates. The estimated time for the start of the privatisation annulment debate was 5 pm, and it actually started three and a half hours later, with the vote taking place after 10.30. There was sparse voting from both Cross-bench peers and bishops, although both groups favoured Lord Hunt's motion.
There is a very large section of public opinion which is against the privatisation of the NHS. Many of the speakers in the debate spoke about the deluge of letters, emails and phone calls they had received from people opposed to it. The campaign did well, but we lost the battle.
We need to pressure the Labour Party to strengthen its position on NHS privatisation. Lord Hunt's side was hampered by not having an adequate answer to the jibe that the government is only carrying through what had been put in place by Labour governments before them. While dissenting Labour peer Lord Warner made a speech that was helpful to Lord Hunt - making it clear that despite what the government were saying, this measure was about privatisation, and he was glad about that - you were still left wondering how a person with such views could have been a Labour health minister. KONP will be writing to Labour front-benchers who did not vote with Lord Hunt to find out why and we will publish their responses on this website.
The government repeated the statements made during the passage of the Act that CCGs would still have choices about whether or not to put services out to tender. This provides important campaigning material for local groups, and suggests that the next phase of the campaign should focus on influencing CCGs to keep as much of their commissioning budget as possible outside the market.
We need to be extremely vigilant about how the new market is working. We need to press for greater transparency in the operation of the market and not be content to be told that commercial confidentiality is in place. The more we can make it difficult for private firms to get away with profit-taking which reduces quality and safety, the more we can keep the privatisation alive - and live to fight another day.
We will be taking stock of the situation and preparing new plans for ensuring that we do in the end Keep Our NHS Public.
Haringey CCG Acts to Keep Private Companies out of the NHS
In a surprising but very welcome move Haringey Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has set out rules that can stop private companies taking over health services in Haringey. Now Haringey and Bristol CCGs lead the way in helping local people to defend the NHS!
The CCG are a group of mainly local GPs who from April 2013 will decide on and "buy in" most of the health care in Haringey. This includes emergency health (at hospitals like the Whittington) and community health (like physiotherapy and diabetes treatment).
38 degrees members campaigned since November 2012 to persuade the CCG to adopt amendments to their set of rules (the CCGs constitution) to make the CCG more accountable, transparent and help keep big business like Virgin and Care UK out of the NHS locally.
Under the Health and Social Care Act most health services contracts go through a competition process (partly under EU regulations) to decide who runs them. This allows big companies to bid for and take over our health services.
But the CCG by agreeing to adopt the 38 degree amendments state now they will only invite competition to buy services where "necessary or appropriate". They have adopted amendments stating contractors/providers must be "good employers" i.e. be reputable, meet tax and NI obligations and keep to EO legislation. Other amendments exclude companies convicted of offences, and prohibit companies that use improper tax avoidance and offshore schemes.
These all help protect the NHS locally from corporate involvement.
They have published a public engagement strategy and want the public to consult on this. I will circulate this later.
This victory shows that the persistence of campaigning works and what local residents joining together can do!
Rod Wells 38 Degrees Haringey
The Spirit of '45
Look out for Ken Loach's new film,The Spirit of '45
KONP activists and groups very welcome to attend screenings.
More information here
The great NHS robbery
Award winning author, Marcus Chown, summarises the reality of what has happened to the NHS, the quality of press coverage and why it is so important the public understand the truth beneath the packaging.
Read his article in OurNHS
"No decision about me without me"
Working with Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to keep contracts in the NHS
See our CCG Campaign Guide - Resisting Privatisation
, written for Keep Our NHS Public by Caroline Molloy.
KONP groups have joined with 38 Degrees
, who have a petition through their network to ask CCGs to modify their constitutions. This has generated a lot of grassroots activity:
See the 38 Degrees guide: Clinical Commissioning Groups: Protecting our NHS together
and Avoiding privatisation in the NHS – a possible way out
by Mike Squires.
Western Cheshire CCG
voted unanimously on 18 July not to put community services, including the district nursing and community therapy services, out to tender. Details here
City and Hackney CCG
have submitted their constitution which is part of the authorisation process to enable shadow CCGs to become statutory bodies in April 2013. They will become responsible for spending £60 billion of NHS funds on commissioning services in their local areas.
Monitor is to investigate a complaint
that referrals to a private hospital dropped after two clinical commissioning groups entered into a block contract with a local NHS hospital. Read more
The KONP steering group wrote to all CCG chairs on 3.12.12 pointing out the risks of becoming authorized (see letter
and press release
). What this did not address was the problem with AQP which may be addressed later.
You may like to follow this up locally (the list we have used seems somewhat out of date) and let us have feedback via the website
See also Dr. Coral Jones' CCG Constitution Group blog
. The aim of this blog is to be a resource for 38 Degrees and KONP groups taking action on the constitutions of CCGs.
Click here to listen to an audio recording of a recent teach-in
about CCGs and the NHS privatisation for Hackney GPs and CCG members. The teach-in is presented by Lucy Reynolds, health policy analyst at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The recording lasts for just under 2 hours.
Please follow the link to NHS Support Federation
who are setting up a database to monitor privatisation. Send them any examples you have.
The NHS Support Federation are currently working on a project to collect information on the privatisation of NHS services across the country. They are aiming to provide a central database for that information and a clear overview of the impact of the government's Health and Social Care Act.
If you know of any NHS services in your area being handed over to private and 'social enterprise' providers, then let them know by filling in the form found here
If you know of more than one service being outsourced, then fill the form for each service that you know about.
Also let them know if a service previously run by a private provide or social enterprise is being (or has been) awarded again to a non-NHS provider.
KONP Balloon at Anti-Cuts Demo
The Coalition Against Cuts march in Manchester was well supported and featured the KONP/RMT balloon. Watch a video report here
The battle to save our NHS continues
The Health and Social Care Act became law on 27.3.12 despite public protests and latterly, strong professional opposition.
Changes to implement Clinical Commissioning Groups from April 2013 and Foundation Trusts by 2014 are already taking place. Check your shadow CCG or cluster PCT website weekly to find out what is going on and apply for lay positions on the CCGs, find out about your Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Health and Wellbeing Board.
The current outsourcing of services to Serco and Virgin are taking place under the previous government's 'Transforming Community Services Programme' but as the Stroud legal case shows, these do not have to be put out to tender and can be kept within the NHS.
Look at the False Economy
website for ideas for campaigning and what is happening round the country as well as the news roundup
on this site.
What the NHS provides is shrinking so you must watch out for this and fight it.
Evidence is mounting that the NHS is providing less care for us as the £20bn 'efficiencies' - which have already saved £7bn according to Cameron but have not been ploughed back into the NHS to provide care in the community - and the latest 'redisorganistion' following the NHS Act begin to bite. Already hospitals are offering 'top-up' payments for procedures and facilities not available on the NHS. At least one insurance company is suggesting a policy to cover these top-up payments. Some PCTs are continuing to restrict patients having hip and knee replacements and cataract operations. Meanwhile more private companies are taking over our NHS and turning NHS money into profits rather than care.
Use our postcard
to tell you GP you do not want private care or tests if NHS is available and uphold Lansley's mantra "No decision about me without me".
The fight to protect our NHS from marketisation and fragmentation will continue, with activists working to limit the damage and involve the public and politicians so that the Act can be repealed when a new government comes into power. We aim to start a KONP group in every large town - so join us now!
Support your local Keep Our NHS Public Group, start a KONP group or any campaign to resist cuts and closures in your area!
Background to the passing of the Act
Urgent appeal to support KONP
We need your support!
Please consider a donation to Keep Our NHS Public to help us expand our campaign. The Health & Social Care Act has been passed and this new phase of our campaign seeks to monitor and, in time, reverse this coalition government's legislation, which as you know, paves the way for further privatisation and marketisation of the NHS. This is a major long-term battle.
KONP has campaigned against this legislation since July 2010 when the Bill was first published. We may have lost the vote but we still intend to fight the implementation of this Act. To do this we need your help.
Read more ...
Listen to a recording of the panel-led discussion and question time, chaired by Dr Ron Singer of MPU and KONP. This will interest you because of its excellence, the amount of information therein and the quality of the ideas expressed.
Full details here
Please consult the NHS Support Federation's website
to find lots of post-conference information.
An end to Bevan's dream of free healthcare for all Britons?
Read this article by Allyson Pollock
The Plot Against the NHS
This lecture, given by Colin Leys at Goldsmiths College, is based on the book The Plot Against the NHS by Colin Leys and Stewart Player, published on 14 April 2011.
Wake Up Call DVD
Now available - three important films on DVD
"This film should be seen by all who care about their NHS."
- Allyson Pollock (Professor of Health Policy and Author of NHS PLC)
Previews (each runs for 15-20 min)
• Episode 1
• Episode 2
• Episode 3
Show this DVD at meetings!
Further details here
Only £10 including postage. Order online via PayPal:
The Health Industry Lobbying Tour
Watch this short film about how the private health care industry has its tentacles in the heart of government. Be inspired. Take action!