National and local news from the front line of NHS campaigning
Significant victories, creative voices speaking for our NHS, new initiatives and threats of privatisation characterise the latest in NHS campaigning. It’s never a dull moment!
VICTORY FOR LOCAL CAMPAIGNERS IN WEST LONDON AS ‘SHAPING A HEALTHIER FUTURE’ SCRAPPED
Huge victory for local campaigners as plans to close Charing Cross Hospital and further downgrade Ealing Hospital have been stopped.
On Monday 26 March, Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that the proposed plan, ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ in NW London, which has been opposed by campaigners for the last 7 years has been halted. This has been a long and hard fought campaign by local activists and national organisations like Keep Our NHS Public. The years of tireless and determined campaigning by Hammersmith & Fulham and Ealing residents, Save Our Hospitals Hammersmith & Fulham, Ealing Save Our NHS, Hammersmith & Fulham Labour Council, Ealing Council and Labour MP Andy Slaughter, should be an example to all that campaigning does work and that tenacity can be rewarded.
Merril Hammer from Save Our Hospitals Hammersmith & Fulham said,
It was a long 7-year battle but it does show that campaigning works. Of course we and Ealing have more to do – but right now we are celebrating and even resting on laurels. But we’ve had so much support from other campaigners over the years – that too has been very important.
Eve Turner from Ealing Save Our NHS added,
It’s fantastic news that there’s been a climb down on Shaping a Healthier Future from the Tory Government whose idea it was in the first place, using Ealing and Hammersmith and Fulham as their testing ground for centralising and closing our A&E’s. Of course along the way we’ve had serious losses, Ealing has lost it’s maternity and paediatrics. But we’ve saved our accident and emergency and we’re absolute proof that campaigning works.
Since then both Save Our Hospitals Hammersmith & Fulham and Ealing Save Our NHS have had their own fantastic celebrations. The fight for NHS services in west London aren’t over of course, nor is the key struggle to fight for a publicly run, publicly owned NHS nationally.
Keep Our NHS Public Co-Chair Tony O’Sullivan said,
The battles are not over. We are with you in your fight to restore the damage done and win back maternity and children’s services in Ealing Hospital.
JOIN KEEP OUR NHS PUBLIC AND WE OWN IT IN CALLING FOR SCRAPPING OF SECTION 75
- NHS England (NHSE) is proposing an end to enforced competitive tendering of clinical services (‘section 75’)
- But NHS England is not proposing an end to all contracting
- KONP and We Own It support the demand for an end to section 75
- But we go further and call for a complete end to competitive tendering in the NHS
- ‘Stop private companies suing the NHS’ – write to NHS England using We Own It’s letter (deadline 25 April)
Section 75 regulations are part of the implementation of the much-hated 2012 Health & Social Care Act (implemented April 2013). KONP campaigned vigorously against both. We correctly argued that serious damage would be done by section 75 regulations enforcing competitive tendering of clinical services. Amidst other related dangers – including the spectre of Integrated Care Providers and the ICP contract – the damage done by s75 regulations is real and present.
We say ‘Yes’ to an end to Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act.
We argue this because there is no sensible reason why campaigners, who fought to prevent this Act ever going through, would not support the scrapping of one of the most damaging sections of the act that has led to the carve-up of the NHS through multiple contracts and a competitive market.
We go further and demand an end to contracting and privatisation altogether, an end to the Health Social Care Act and the reinstatement of the NHS as a wholly public service.
Write to NHS England today, using We Own It’s letter (deadline 25 April)
TWO EXCITING SHOWS COMING UP FOR THE NHS
Mark Thomas Checking our NHS at 70 shows at Battersea Arts Centre
BATTERSEA ARTS CENTRE, LAVENDER HILL, LONDON SW11 5TN
From 23rd April and 4th May at 7.30 pm (matinees 27th April & 4th May at 3.00 pm)
The award-winning comedian, activist and rabble-rouser is back. Mark Thomas is 54, the NHS is 70, UK national average life expectancy is 84. If Mark makes it to 84 the NHS will be 100, what will they both look like? Based on a series of interviews with leading experts in and on the NHS and residencies in hospitals and surgeries, Thomas working with director Nicolas Kent, uses his own demise to explore the state we’re in. What’s going right, what’s going wrong and how does it get better?
For special concession ticket for NHS staff call: 020 7223 2223
KONP are calling for support for the KONP stalls during the Mark Thomas shows at Battersea Arts Centre please. We need coverage between 27th and 30th April especially, but any additional hands on the other days, 23-4, still welcome. Please email if you can help [email protected]
In Place of Fear by Rosa Hesmondalgh previews this weekend 19/20 April
Pleasance Theatre, London Friday 19th April 3.30pm, Friday 19th 7.45pm, Saturday 20th 7.45pm
In Place of Fear follows 3 front line NHS staff, a nurse, a paramedic and a junior doctor, as they battle with a health care system that is understaffed, underfunded under crisis.
Taken from real testimonies NHS workers, bereaved family members and recovering patients, In Place of Fear is a glimpse into the state of our health service and the health of its workers. Come and see the show!
KONP WELCOMES INITIATIVE FROM DOCS NOT COPS:
Docs not Cops have just released a powerful new resource for campaigners. See below for the key arguments for our invention on migrant charges and fighting the ‘hostile environment’ here:
Healthcare workers aren’t border guards and healthcare shouldn’t be a hostile environment. Healthcare workers have a primary duty of care to patients. This is being compromised by the charging regulations and by the NHS-Home Office data sharing agreement.
Charging introduces a points-based system for migrants that purposefully deters some of the most vulnerable in society from seeking crucial treatment, and the duty on the NHS to implement this makes all healthcare workers complicit.
The requirement for healthcare workers to ask for details of someone’s history of migration and residency status for the purpose checking their eligibility for treatment is unethical. These regulations are unworkable in a clinical setting, with individuals making subjective decisions about whether a patient is eligible for treatment that may put patients’ health at risk further down the line.
Access to healthcare is a human right enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Charging deters people from seeking care or attending screening. This has already been documented amongst migrants living with HIV, despite the fact that HIV treatment is exempt from charging.
Those deterred from seeking treatment, particularly those who have recently migrated, already face barriers to seeking treatment, such as a lack of knowledge around entitlements to healthcare, language barriers and fear of having information shared with the Home Office. Financial barriers and complications compound this.
Research by Doctors of the World shows that 2 in 3 pregnant women who attend their clinic have not had an antenatal appointment by the recommended 10 weeks, and 1 in 4 haven’t been seen at all by 18 weeks. Considering BAME women face significantly higher rates of maternal and infant mortality in the UK, placing further barriers to accessing antenatal care such as fear of being charged risks the health of pregnant women.
The government scapegoats migrants for the problems facing the NHS, despite the fact that by the government’s own figures, deliberate ‘health tourism’ only accounts for 0.3% of the annual budget.
On the other hand, privatisation of the NHS through Private Finance Initiatives has resulted in £billions in debt; in 2016/17 PFI projects cost the NHS an estimated £2bn; 2% of the NHS budget.
Migrants are not an economic pressure on the NHS: they are less likely to use the NHS than their UK resident counterparts, and the NHS relies on overseas staff, who make up 12.5% of the workforce.
Keep Our NHS Public is proud to publicise the following meeting:
Patients not Passports: Challenging Far Right Policies in the NHS
Meeting Tuesday 30 April 6.30pm
Organised by Docs Not Cops, Migrants Organise and Medact at St Pancras Old Church
ANGER GROWS AT DIS-INTEGRATION OF CANCER CARE
Oxford based GP Dr Helen Salisbury reports on the increasingly disturbing news about the dis-integration of cancer care which could set an unwelcome trend nationally.
We are lucky enough in our city to have a world class cancer treatment centre. But word is out that the contract for doing combined positron emission tomography and computed tomography scans for the region has been taken away from the local NHS trust and awarded to InHealth, a commercial provider of medical imaging. The contract, along with those for PET-CT imaging at other hospitals across the country, was put out to tender in 2016 by NHS England, and the local hospital’s bid was not chosen.
There are several reasons why this is a really bad idea. The scans are used in diagnosis, to find out whether cancer has spread, and to determine whether treatment has been effective. Currently radiologists are part of a multidisciplinary team who discuss and plan treatment for patients. If the NHS does not provide the service, how will we train the next generation of specialist cancer radiologists? In future, scans will be performed at a different site and will be reported by a radiologist who is not part of the team. And patients, some of them quite unwell, will need to travel off site to be scanned. Oxford’s role as a major centre for PETCT research is also at risk.
Keep Our NHS Public is the longest running national and local membership campaign fighting to save our NHS. You can find out more about us here. By joining us you’ll become part of a community of health campaigners with unparalleled experience and passion, will belong to a nationwide network of activists and have the support of a core team of experienced organisers at a national level. It’s easy and doesn’t cost the earth. Join today.