Audio recording

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.

Click here to play the recording, which lasts about an hour.

Just a few extracts to whet your appetite:

(The audience takes about 3 minutes to settle down during the preliminaries, but after that the sound is clear.)

Polly Toynbee -- "[The campaign to save] the NHS is the great winner ... this is the one that levers open what the government is after and what the whole thing is about. The reason why [the Act] was rushed forward in such a hurry, so pathetically recklessly was because it is a template for what's happening to all public services. If you can do it with the NHS, you can do it with anything and the Public Services White Paper actually says that. And yet I think politically it is entirely insane because I think this is the issue that's going to bring the government down ... When it comes to all these hospital closures in London [and elsewhere] [and the hiving off of other services] that is going to be absolutely toxic. [As the public comes to realise increasingly how severely the changes to the NHS are going to affect them] ... as waiting lists rise ... I don't think [any campaigner] could be gifted so well by any government with the material for its own self-destruction."

John Lister - "This underlines what the government is actually about, it's nothing at all to do with restoring the economy, it's about smashing the public sector..."

At shortly after 18 minutes, Wendy Savage talks about a postcard KONP has produced. The postcard (which patients may if they wish send or give to their GP) is given a cautious welcome by Clare Gerada, although she expressed some reservations, for example blood tests are now done by private agencies and even GPs don't know (necessarily) who does them, so patients couldn’t really find non-private alternatives to them. (The implication was that there are likely to be other such examples.)

Dr Clare Gerada -- "GPs have no right rationing care, any more than my bus driver does." Incidentally Clare highlighted how even GPs, even those who will be responsible for heading up the soon-to-be Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), do not appreciate the full extent and nature of the changes in store from the new Act, and which are actually happening the length and breadth of England as we speak. Neither do many of the MPs and even ministers to whom she has spoken.

It came out during the discussion that Sainsburys has gone into the hospital pharmacy business -- see 38' in to the audio - in St Thomas's Hospital and Kings. A speaker from the floor added (same point in the audio) that Sainsburys are also providing pharmacy services at Guys Hospital (he and his comrades have organised demos against Sainsburys because of this).