NHAP’s Dr Bob Gill – Privatisation explained
Make the NHS the Xmas Number 1
A n NHS tribute song mash-up of Coldplay and Simon & Garfunkel is being released tomorrow (Monday December 9th) and is in the running to be the Xmas Number 1.
The song, “A Bridge over You”, is sung by doctors and nurses in the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust Choir. The choir is based at Lewisham Hospital which recently won a high court victory over Jeremy Hunt, preventing the downgrading of the hospital’s A&E and maternity units.
Dr Louise Irvine, of the National Health Action Party and chair of the Save Lewisham Campaign said:
“Lewisham and Greenwich Hospital Trust choir’s poignant song “A Bridge Over You” is not only a beautiful and moving song but a wonderful celebration of the NHS and the incredible work of NHS staff.”
“I urge all those who support the NHS to buy this single. What better tribute to our NHS, and what better way of demonstrating how much we value our NHS, than to make this the Christmas number one.”
The mash-up of Bridge Over Troubled Water and Fix You is accompanied by an emotional video featuring patients, doctors and nurses.
All profits from the song will be going to charity – to Macmillan Cancer Support and local health care charities.
The NHS Choir appeared on Gareth Malone’s TV show “Sing While You Work”.
You can watch the video of the song at:
Please download the song from Monday – and help it reach number one.
Milburn inclusion in Labour election team is worrying for NHS
Co-leader of the National Health Action Party and former MP, Dr Richard Taylor, has direct experience of the impact of Alan Milburn’s policies and says his inclusion in Labour’s election team is a worrying development:
“It is very worrying that Alan Milburn is returning to the forefront of the Labour Party as a key member of their election team. Most people will remember that as Health Secretary, and before that under his predecessor Frank Dobson, Alan Milburn was instrumental in opening up the NHS to greater involvement of the private sector.
“It was Alan Milburn who was the key figure behind the unfair and drastic downgrading of Kidderminster Hospital that led to my election as an MP in 2001. I met him several times soon after becoming an MP and, perhaps recognising me as an enemy, he even accused me of stalking him!
“The involvement of Alan Milburn, the Labour Party’s key advocate for opening up the NHS to the private sector, means we must be very wary about the Labour Party’s stance on the NHS if they form the next Government.”
Dr Richard Taylor’s letter in the Guardian, 5.12.13, on the need for electronic patient records.
I agree with the report, quoted by Jackie Ashley, that patients must own their own medical records. The best way to achieve this would be to create an electronic summary care record for every patient. This would also solve the lack of availability of patients’ clinical details at any time in emergency departments across the country.
A model for this could be the private lifetime record created by Canada Health Infoway Inc. On a single computer screen are listed a patient’s details, healthcare providers, medical history, allergies and other alerts, current and past treatment, laboratory and X-ray results and other useful details that would be vital in emergencies when no other records are available.
Dr Richard Taylor
Co-leader, National Health Action Party
“We don’t want our private information sold off for profit” says Dr Louise Irvine of the National Health Action Party
Statement from London GP, Dr Louise Irvine of the National Health Action Party on the sharing of confidential patient records
“While it’s a good idea to have key diagnoses, medications and allergies accessible from GP records for hospital doctors and other health workers, these must only be used by those directly involved in patient care. It’s not acceptable to have identifiable information going to a government body which can sell it to a private company. This information has a high commercial value and it would be very easy for marketing companies to identify patients or practices and start targeting their products at them. We don’t want our private information sold off for profit. Non-identifiable information is perfectly adequate for public health planning.
“Patients should be asked opt in rather than opt out as at present. There has been so little publicity that most people don’t even realise they can opt out.
“Some GP practices are considering a mass opt out of their patients and have told them they can opt in if they wish, but they are breaking the law doing this. Let’s see if others join them.”
For press enquiries, please contact:
Giselle Green, Head of Press, NHA Party
Mob: 07767 612311
If you want to opt out of sharing your medical records, click on this link for more information and a template letter you can send to your GP:
We will see more tragedies like mid-Staffs unless the government introduces safe and appropriat
e staffing levels, says NHA Party
National Health Action Party reaction to Mid-Staffs announcements on wilful neglect and staffing levels
· We will see more tragedies like mid-Staffs unless the government introduces safe and appropriate staffing levels with the money to match it
· Dumping the blame on doctors and nurses lets off the hook those really responsible for patient neglect
Statement from John Lister of the National Health Action Party:
“It’s vital that staffing levels are consistent with clinical evidence on patient safety. It’s now widely recognised that when the registered nurse to patient ratio is worse than 1 to 4 or 5 on day shifts, the risk of adverse events rises rapidly. A ratio of 1:8 represents the danger level. The overall ratio in is England 1:8.6. That is a dangerous level.
“We will see more tragedies like mid-Staffs unless the government introduces safe and appropriate staffing levels. It’s useless just making hospitals publish snapshot figures of how many nurses are on duty in wards without guaranteeing appropriate levels. How will hospitals pay for new nurses to ensure safe care at a time when this government is imposing a financial squeeze on the NHS and over half of NHS trusts are in financial difficulty? It’s fine to want to have staffing based on patient need, but let’s see the money to match it.”
“The creation of an offence of “wilful neglect” is an attempt to dump the blame on individuals and lets completely off the hook those who are actually responsible: the Trust Boards who were slammed by the Francis Report in Mid Staffs for their cavalier disregard for the impact of cuts; medical directors and senior management whose inadequately staffed services generate these problems; and of course the ministers whose unprecedented cash squeeze on the NHS is creating this chaos and forcing dozens of Trusts into cuts bigger than those at Mid Staffs. This government, with its cuts and chaotic NHS re-disorganisation, has created a backdrop for neglect.
“It’s crucial that we reform the NHS complaints process so that staff are able to securely identify and report concerns about poor care. Threats of jail sentences will stop this happening. We need to provide the means for staff to identify and report their concerns about quality of care and patient safety without fear of recrimination for whistle blowing.
Statement from National Health Action Party on government announcement of new GP contract, cutting bureaucracy and giving elderly patients named doctors
South London GP and executive member of the NHA Party, Dr Louise Irvine said:
“It was this government which introduced intrusive tick-box bureaucracy asking silly, inappropriate questions which distracted us from proper care. Finally they’ve seen sense and are letting us get on with caring for our patients which is all we want to do.
“Giving elderly patients designated GPs is merely a scheme that will formalise and structure what already goes on, so it’s really nothing new.
“There is no new money on offer and it certainly won’t be feasible to provide 24/7 care . These measures don’t address the real issues, which are the chronic underfunding of GPs, the lack of beds, and the cuts to social services and community services. It’s hard to believe, but only 5 new district nurses qualified in London this year. We won’t solve the A&E crisis unless there is massive investment in doctors, nurses and community services and more beds. Many elderly patients have nowhere to go and are stuck in hospital. This had to change.”
Co-leader of the NHA Party, Dr Richard Taylor said:
“Jeremy Hunt’s suggestion of a named GP for everyone over 75 would risk taking GPs away from more deserving really sick people in younger age groups. But maybe he thinks young people are less likely to vote.
“The Health Secretary should let doctors and nurses get on with their job of looking after patients to the best of their abilities. He should be supporting those GPs and nurses in areas where they have effective groups working in the community to review all patients potentially needing hospital admission to decide how they can be looked after in the community rather than in hospital. In my area, Wyre Forest, such a group runs a ‘Virtual Ward’ out of hospital that is reducing emergency admissions.
“The Health Secretary should also cancel the tendering process for the 111 phone number to restore it to its original status of a uniform, national service that would inform patients requiring urgent care exactly which local health facility is appropriate for them. If this was working properly it would help to reduce unnecessary hospital attendances.
“Lastly the Health Secretary should launch a simple, summary care record for every patient that would be available on a secure internet service for doctors. This is used with great success in Canada and other countries and shows on a single computer screen demographics and basic details of the patient’s diagnoses, past and present treatments, allergies and covers everything an emergency doctor needs to know about a patient who is being seen in an emergency situation with no medical records available”.
For press enquiries, please contact:
Giselle Green, Head of Press, NHA Party
Mob: 07767 612311
Keogh Review is years overdue and leaves open door to hospital closures
“And Keogh hasn’t properly addressed the issue of improving access to GPs, which is one of the problems fuelling the A+E crisis. We urgently need more funding for GPs to provide the same day access to primary care that Keogh is calling for. Surely this would be one use for the year-end NHS underspends which currently are returned to HM Treasury.”
Giselle Green, Head Of Press, NHA Party
Mob: 07767 612311
Keogh offers more questions than answers on exactly how his proposals are to be taken forward
John Lister of the National Health Action Party gives a more detailed analysis of the Keogh Review
This means it remains unclear as to whether the Keogh proposal to keep the overall number of Emergency Centres “broadly the same” as the current number of A&E departments is intended to override and freeze the existing closure plans, or whether the “current number” is assumed to be the number of units left after these cuts have taken place.
The language of the review is also ambiguous, in that it appears to leave room for the non-Major Emergency Centres to be effectively downgraded, leaving a limited network of just 40-70 Major Emergency Centres providing most emergency services. This ambiguity could easily have been eliminated by referring to an upgrade or enhancement of services at selected Emergency Centres, making clear that others would remain as they are.
The consequences of concentrating NHS specialist emergency services in a network of as few as 40 and a maximum of just 70 major units must inevitably include the requirement for much larger numbers of beds and facilities at the new major centres: the capital costs and practicalities of this, the logistical challenge of transporting patients and ensuring access for visitors, and the complications of discharging patients at ever greater distances from their homes and families are not discussed. We are not even told how it will be decided how many Major centres there should be, and which units should be selected as Major centres.
In short, Keogh offers more questions than answers on exactly how his proposals are to be taken forward.
Why is this government trying to turn new mums into cash cows? by NHA Party’s Head of Press, Giselle Green, Left Foot Forward, 13.11.13
One of the most powerful images of the Philippines typhoon, and the one which has stayed uppermost in my mind, is that of the newborn baby contentedly sucking on its mother’s breast while death and devastation are all around. If that newborn’s mum only knew the British government has launched a scheme to bribe new mothers to breastfeed their babies she might think a typhoon had also hit the governing heart of this country.
Today’s announcement of a pilot scheme to entice new mothers in Sheffield and Chesterfield with the promise of £200 of shopping vouchers if they breastfeed their babies for 6 months is barely credible. Trying to turn new mums into cash cows is hypocritical, wasteful, futile, divisive and unenforceable.
This government has already been accused by the Royal College Of Midwives of being “hands off regarding breastfeeding”, having scrapped National Breast Feeding Awareness week, cut back on antenatal and postnatal care, abandoned any national breastfeeding strategy and ditched infant feeding co-ordinators who’d been helpful in areas with the lowest number of breastfeeders. We now have one of the worst breastfeeding rates in the world.
Yet suddenly, the government wants to bribe mothers into breastfeeding. Even a new born baby would realise that the money would be better spent on a public education campaign about the benefits and pleasures of breastfeeding, normalising it as an acceptable activity in public, and encouraging new mothers who want to do it via well-funded support from midwives, district nurses and breastfeeding specialists.
New mothers who don’t breastfeed already know they could be saving a huge amount of money (and hassle) by breastfeeding rather than going down the road of formula, bottles and sterilisers. Yet they don’t. So why would the lure of more money convince them – or make them more willing to persevere? As someone who refused to give up in face of bleeding nipples, I can tell you a breastfeeding bonus would have made no difference in the face of such pain. You have to really want to do it.
And what about those who choose not to breastfeed or who simply can’t for reasons of their own or their baby’s health? Why should they be discriminated against and look on enviously while those mums who are already saving money by breast feeding are rewarded with more money? Many mothers already complain of being made to feel inferior if they are not breastfeeding. Rewarding those who do breastfeed will only serve to exacerbate this divide. The first few months of your baby’s life should not be one big guilt-trip. There’s plenty of time later in life for that.
Due to the fact that around half of new mums stop breastfeeding in the first 6-8 weeks, the government will make its scheme “front-loaded” (!) enabling mothers to claim £120 of the £200 after just six weeks. So why would they bother to continue breastfeeding having claimed the bulk of the money already?
And if new mums declare they have been breastfeeding, how will that be verified? We all know about the Poppy Police. Will we now have the Booby Police or booby bobbies on the beat? Is this perhaps part of a greater plan to attract more police officers?
Actually, we’re informed, new mums will be asked to sign a declaration that they are breastfeeding, and midwives and health visitors will have to confirm they’ve discussed it.
Gosh, that sounds like a really watertight method of verification.
The only way to get more mothers breastfeeding is by changing attitudes and giving them information and support both before and after giving birth. This ridiculous government scheme looks set to be a big flop .The only thing anyone will be milking are metaphors.
Stop the hospital closure clause, by NHAP executive member Dr Louise Irvine and Open Democracy’s Caroline Molloy
The government is trying to quietly rush through a law making it much easier to close our hospitals. It’s time to make our voices heard!
There is very little time to act to stop the government making it much easier and quicker to close local hospitals with hardly any consultation. Please act now – there are several things you can do to help protect your local hospitals.
First, you can sign the petition for Hunt to go, and to take the hospital closure clause with him. His attacks on hospitals have gone too far already,
Second, if you have time, please write to your local MP and your local newspaper. You can use the text below. Please amend it to:
a) address your MP directly
b) refer to your local hospitals, and
c) put in any other personal experience or thoughts you’d like to include.
You can find and write to your MP very easily by using this site www.writetothem.com
(If you use this site, make sure to copy and save the text yourself too, for your records).
It can be very effective to send an ‘open’ letter to your MP, by marking on the bottom you are copying it to your local paper and then sending it to the Editor.
Lastly, watch out for more action over the hospital closure clause very soon – we’ll keep you updated!
An open letter to MPs
The government is trying to quickly change the law to make it much easier and faster to close local hospitals and A&Es without any proper consultation of local people.
The law change will be debated and voted on in the Commons in November as part of the Care Bill, which has already been through the Lords. Clause 118, the hospital closure clause, would allow any hospital be closed down, or lose its A&E, maternity or other services, with hardly any local consultation. MPs must ensure this dreadful Clause does not become law.
Currently the law allows such undemocratic and fast-track closures to happen only at hospitals that are in such serious financial or clinical difficulties that they are taken into ‘Administration’.
But the hospital closure clause would change the law. It allows fast-track closures – or privatisations – to happen to any hospital, however high quality, popular and solvent, if it has a more struggling hospital nearby. And given the cuts currently being inflicted on the NHS, there will be few hospitals in the country that aren’t somewhere near a struggling hospital.
Why would anyone want to close down a popular, well-run A&E, maternity unit, or whole hospital? Especially when our hospitals are already full to overflowing?
Ask the people of Lewisham. There the government tried to fast-track the closure of Lewisham’s A&E and maternity services, to redirect patients (and money) to a different Hospital Trust that had large Private Finance Initiative debts to pay off to the banks.
The courts found that the government had broken the law. So now the government is trying to change the law.
If they succeed, no hospital will be safe.
This is a very dangerous move which will put thousands of lives at risk.
The government should think again. We urge MPs from every party to work to scrap this Clause of the Care Bill – and not to vote for the Bill unless it is dropped. The Bill has already had its first reading in the Commons, and the signs are the government is going to try and rush it through in the next month or so.
MPs can, as a first step, sign the Early Day Motion 656 ‘Closure of NHS services’ which has been laid down, and already signed by a MPs from different parties – including Labour front benchers.
We would hope that every MP would be concerned that the Care Bill is being used to drastically reduce the rights of us, their constituents, to have a say in decisions about our local hospital provision. The hospital closure clause could be used to threaten hospital provision in any area. It is totally inappropriate to use the fast track ‘failure regime’ to reconfigure hospital provision more generally.
If services need redesigning the law must ensure this is with proper and extensive consultation with local people. This process cannot be rushed. Decisions should not be based on the needs of investment banks. What happened to the government promises that in the NHS there would be ‘no decision about me, without me’?
Photos from Defend the NHS mass march and rally, Brighton, 2nd November
Lewisham victory in Appeal Court just one battle in war against government downgrade of NHS, says NHA Party
Statement from co-leader of the NHA Party, Dr Richard Taylor , on Court of Appeal throwing out Jeremy Hunt’s attempt to downgrade Lewisham Hospital
“Today’s Appeal Court ruling stops the downgrading of Lewisham hospital and represents an important victory for the people of Lewisham and utter humiliation for Jeremy Hunt, who has wasted thousands of pounds of tax-payers’ money on a court case that was thrown out in just ten minutes. But this is just one battle in the war against the coalition government’s attempt to downgrade our whole health service.”
“It is clear that in order to achieve their £50 billion of NHS austerity savings by 2020, the Government wants to close hospitals. This ruling is a blow to that aim, but they are going to change the law in the Care Bill to give the Trust Special Administrator new powers to close hospitals. This is yet another scandalous attack on the NHS.”
For press enquiries and interviews, please contact:
Giselle Green, Head of Press, NHA Party
Mob: 07767 612311
THE BBC WANTS TO HEAR FROM YOU
The BBC is asking for your views on its news and current affairs coverage. This is a good chance to feedback any comments you may have on its coverage of the NHS.
Details of the review are here: http://consultations.
It’s always best to cite examples of specific reports, and why you have concerns about them, rather than just say NHS coverage in general is biased.
The consultation runs until 13th December so you have time to collect specific information before submitting your response. You might like to keep a note of
- unbalanced interviewees, eg. both participants in a debate attacking the NHS
- ’experts’ labelled as independent when they are not, eg. health think-tanks, employees or former employees of the Department of Health or private sector companies with health interests
- government spin reported as fact eg. the ring-fencing of the NHS budgets
- error by omission – important information or background missed out of reporting of NHS issues
For more ideas about the kind of problems to listen out for and take a note of for your submission, do have a look at this article from Oliver Huitson which detailed some of the ways in which bias and inaccuracy crept into earlier BBC reporting of the Health and Social Act - http://www.opendemocracy.net/
IMPORTANT - at the end of the survey, you will see an option to have your response emailed to you as a pdf file. It would be really helpful if you were able to say ‘yes’ to this, and then forward the email you receive with your response, on to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our NHS at Open Democracy (http://www.opendemocracy.net/
Photos from Save our NHS protest rally in Manchester 29th September.
Our co-leader Dr Clive Peedell completes a 42 mile marathon from Leeds to Manchester to join 50,000 demonstrators outside the Tory Party conference.
Footage of the Manchester Rally: http://youtu.be/YrV6VA7-sqI
Why did the national media ignore the unprecedented NHS rally in Manchester? Article by NHAP’s Head of News, Giselle Green: liberalconspiracy.org/?p=38648
Stark warning from Clive Peedell in Daily Mirror of 2-tier NHS and increased waiting lists, as private operations in NHS hospitals soar.
Read in full: http://t.co/dgF4gJdkqa
NHA Party condemns Hunt’s plans to offload responsibility for A+E elderly onto GPs and paltry sum for dealing with winter A&E crisis
Jeremy Hunt’s proposals to offload responsibility for millions of older A&E patients onto GPs and his announcement of a paltry sum to deal with this winter’s impending A&E crisis have been condemned today by the National Health Action Party.
Hunt’s statements arise from the widely recognised mounting crisis in A&E departments, but the entire situation flows from the relentless drive by ministers for an unprecedented £20 billion “cost savings” from the NHS by 2015, alongside an even tighter, long-running squeeze on social care.
BBC reports have identified an average 10% staff shortages in A&E. Other surveys have found two thirds of people see A&E as facing a crisis, with 65% of them blaming government cuts. They are right.
NHAP leader Dr Clive Peedell said:
“This crisis has been created by a Coalition government which continues to cut hospital beds, shut down hospitals and A+E departments and slash community care so elderly people have nowhere to else to go but hospital A+E departments.
“Jeremy Hunt seems to think having named GPs will miraculously help solve the A+E crisis. It’s a pity we no longer have a named Health Secretary who is responsible for our NHS. The Coalition’s Health and Social Care Act removed that responsibility.
“Jeremy Hunt admitted today that we need more GPs but has suggested just a fifth of the number the Royal College of GPs is calling for. He seems to be deliberately goading GPs with ever more insults and increasing their unpaid workload. This is creating a really damaging polarisation between primary care and hospital services.
“His suggestion that GPs should take on more responsibility for out of hours treatment also runs in complete contradiction to the legislation just passed by his own government that prevents this under competition law.
“Jeremy Hunt wants doctors and the NHS to take the blame, while the private sector profits from the chaos. That was always the plan. For the Tories it’s working perfectly.
“The £250 million he’s announced for this winter is a paltry amount compared to the £3 billion clawed back from the NHS budget by the Treasury in the last two financial years on top of the government’s £20 billion NHS efficiency savings programme.
“It is also very significant and worrying that Jeremy Hunt is openly raising the issue of whether the NHS can continue as a service that is free at the point of use. This is one of the founding principles of our NHS and crucial to its survival and to caring for the population.”
Statement from Dr Clive Peedell on A+E crisis
NHA Party’s Dr Louise Irvine is interviewed on LBC about the A&E crisis
Statement from Dr Clive Peedell on BMA opposition to charging migrants for health care:
“We are pleased the BMA has come out against this policy, as we did when it was first mooted by Jeremy Hunt nearly 2 months ago.
This policy is more about protecting the Tories from UKIP than protecting the NHS and its patients.
Less than 0.2% of the NHS budget is spent on ‘health tourism’ so this is purely distraction politics to focus attention away from the massive cuts in the NHS budget and of course to pander to UKIP voters.
Our fear is that this policy will lead to untreated people spreading infectious diseases such as TB.
What’s more the policy would cost more to implement than it would save so it’s a nonsense to say it’s being done for financial reasons.
Doctors do not want to be a branch of the Border Agency or spend even more time doing bureaucratic paperwork.
This policy may also have a negative impact on attracting immigrants with key skills that this country needs to rebuild the economy as well as international students who bring money and important links. It also opens the door to more patient charging, which will be used to undermine the principles of the NHS even further.”
NHA Party accuses government of scandalous behaviour in clawing back £2.2bn of NHS ‘underspend’
Reaction from our executive committee
This Government is intent on running down the NHS in order to accelerate the marketisation & privatisation of our healthcare service. The public did not vote for this and deserve better. The Government must be held to account for failing our NHS.”
“Yet again I am exasperated that this huge NHS ‘underspend’ has been handed back to the Treasury rather than being used to help struggling Trusts. Again I believe it is all part of the coalition drive to make NHS Trusts vulnerable to take over by private providers.
”The ‘underspend’ is money cut from NHS front line services. It’s worth noting that NONE of it has so far come back to reinvest in A&E, since the £500m over 2 years recently announced came from the financial penalties levied on Trusts whose emergency caseload was above 2009 levels and readmissions above target. In other words this money has already been milked out of A&E and now ministers are expecting gratitude for giving some of it back.
By my reckoning the £2.2bn brings the total clawed back by the Treasury since 2010 to more than £5 billion – with two more years at least of similar cuts to come.”
IMPORTANT – please sign this e-petition to stop global companies buying up our NHS and making privatisation irreversible
For more information please read the following article by Linda Kaucher:
Dr Richard Taylor announces he’s standing again in 2015 to fight government’s NHS devastation
Co-leader of the National Health Action Party Dr Richard Taylor has just announced he’s standing again at the 2015 General Election. Dr Taylor, a former MP and ex-member of the Health Select Committee, says he’s been forced into action by the government’s disastrous NHS reforms.
It was intense anger over the inappropriate, unfair and drastic downgrading of the charter- marked Kidderminster hospital that led Dr Taylor to run for the Wyre Forest constituency in 2001 . He won the seat with an 18,000 majority. He went on to hold the seat in 2005 but lost to the Tories in 2010 after boundary changes.
Dr Taylor says he now has that same deep sense of anger, but on a national scale:
“I cannot sit by and watch the current government’s un-mandated devastation of our cherished NHS. This was brought home forcibly by this week’s news that £5bn of contracts for NHS services are currently being put out to tender and are likely to be won by private providers. So we really are at risk of losing the integrated, uniform national service that we love. Private providers have discovered that they can make profits out of our sickness.”
“We only have to look at the present chaos of the NHS 111 system to see how a fragmented privatised service is hitting patient care. Competition in healthcare is just not appropriate.
As well as being co-founder of the National Health Action Party, Dr Taylor is also Life President of Independent Community and Health Concern (ICHC). Both parties share the same aims regarding the restoration and improvement of the NHS – and that putting up candidates at local and national elections is the best way to engage with the political process to fight for the NHS which must remain publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable.
Dr Taylor said:
“I intend to stand here in Wyre Forest as the ICHC candidate because this is how I am known in this constituency. But I will make it clear that I also represent the National Health Action Party. I hope this will encourage others concerned about the NHS or local health issues to join the NHA Party.
“David Cameron claims the NHS is safe in his hands. I don’t think voters believe him. The Labour Party claims it is the party of the NHS but their recent track record does not support this. That’s why we need MPs whom the public can trust to stand up for our NHS, to restore and, importantly, improve it.
“Think of the difference we could make to the country if a few of us were elected, totally independent of the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and UKIP. We know many people are looking for alternatives to the main whipped parties to vote for and we can give them that alternative. An independent MP, with real knowledge of and passion for protecting and bettering our health service, can make a huge difference in the House of Commons in debates, committees and all-party groups.
“I will encourage other candidates to do what I did before both of my successful elections. That is to provide a personal manifesto on all matters of importance to their potential constituents to know how they, when elected, would vote on a wide range of issues. The huge privilege of being an MP, independent of the main parties, is that one can vote with the government when that is in your constituents’ interests and with the opposition when it is more appropriate.”
“Until people wake up to what is happening to our NHS there will be no stopping this disastrous sell-off” – Dr Richard Taylor’s letter published in the Guardian, 31.7.13
At last! The government’s intentions for the NHS are declared (£1bn deal deepens NHS fears, 27 July). The Department of Health states that as long as the service remains free it does not matter who provides it. So we must say goodbye to the integrated, uniform, publicly provided, national service that we cherish and let the private providers, now convinced they can profit from our illnesses, take it over and break it up.
Until people wake up to what is happening to our NHS there will be no stopping this disastrous sell-off. The splendid book, still one of the Guardian’s bestsellers, edited by Jacky Davis and Ray Tallis, NHS SOS, tells us how we can save it. We must all act now. There is much that each one of us can do to save our NHS and to improve it, where needed, without privatisation.
Richard T Taylor
Co-leader, National Health Action party
We are delighted that Jeremy Hunt’s mad decision to reduce services at Lewisham Hospital has been declared unlawful.
Statement from Dr Richard Taylor:
I am delighted that a mad, politically driven decision has been overturned and an efficient, highly respected district general hospital has been saved for the benefit of local people.
NHAP believes very strongly that the only reasons for NHS hospital reconfigurations must always be to improve the standards of clinical care and must never be purely financial.
NHAP will press for improvements in value for money in the NHS that do not involve reductions in service. These were described in work in the House of Commons in 2010 with which I was closely involved.”
Dr Richard Taylor attacks ‘arms race’ by private companies for £5bn of NHS work, Financial Times 30.7.13
Private sector companies are engaged in an “arms race” to win £5bn of National Health Service work being tendered including hospitals, mental healthcare, pathology and GP clinics in a move that could transform the future of healthcare in Britain.
Around 160 large-scale contracts are currently being advertised to private sector bidders including seven that are worth more than £100m in value, according to research by Bain, the consultancy, commissioned by the Financial Times.
Bain said it had seen a “significant increase” in contract volumes, driven by financial pressures and the Health and Social Care Act, which came into force this year, giving commissioners more clarity on the ground rules for procurement.
The increase comes despite a series of scandals involving outsourced public sector contracts in recent months, including the alleged overcharging by Serco and G4S on prisoner tagging contracts. On Monday, NHS Direct – one of the providers of the troubled NHS 111 helpline – announced it was planning to pull out of its contracts because they were “financially unsustainable”.
Christian Mazzi, head of health at Bain, said: “Now the rules of the game are changing. We can compete for all of the NHS budget on equal terms. What was traditionally locked up in the NHS is going to become available to the private sector.”
The largest is a £1.2bn or £160m-a-year deal providing health services including end of life care for older people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – the biggest yet.
But there are also several smaller deals worth £16.5m to £30m a year that collectively add up to a significant shift in how the NHS operates, with tens of thousands of staff potentially being transferred to private sector providers as a result.
Private sector providers are confident more opportunities will come to market. Faced with a £30bn shortfall in the NHS budget over the next seven years, many trusts believe they have little option to work with the private sector, which pledges to invest in new technology, improve staff productivity and use economies of scale to deliver services at lower costs.
Mr Mazzi described it as “an arms race” as companies compete to get first-mover advantage and prove their credentials in the new market. “As this market begins to open up, whoever can prove first that they are effective in working with the public sector and creating value will be best positioned to become future leaders,” he said.
Although some of the tenders are second or even third generation contracts, there are sufficient new ones to suggest that privatisation is accelerating, Bain said. It cited everything from entire hospitals to individual services such as pathology, sexual health or musculoskeletal services being put out to tender in the next few years.
William Laing, of Laing & Buisson, the healthcare analyst, agreed that companies were involved in a “land grab” because the market is “opening up”. “There is a general sense that outsourcing is happening more . . . if you look at the procurement websites they are chockablock with contracts,” he said.
Although the privatisation of entire hospitals remains politically toxic, the takeover of Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire by the private equity-owned Circle healthcare in a £1bn ten-year contract has paved the way for further deals.
“Potentially all the hospitals in special measures are followers of the first Circle example,” said Mr Laing.
Despite this, most of the contracts currently out to tender are in well–trodden fields for the private sector such as mental healthcare, which has been open to investment from the private sector from the 1980s.
But there are also services being put out to tender for the first time. Serco, for example, is hoping to secure further deals after winning last year’s groundbreaking £140m contract to run community services in Suffolk over the next three years. More than 1,030 NHS nurses and medics transferred to the company as part of the deal.
Increasing private sector involvement is also likely to be driven by the 211 new clinical commissioning groups, which are responsible for procuring around 70 per cent of the NHS budget. The CCGs replaced 150 primary care trusts on April 1.
Vernon Baxter, a private healthcare analyst and the editor of Health Investor magazine, said relatively few CCGs were sufficiently mobilised and prepared to commission large, co-ordinated contracts on the scale of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough deal, making the outsourcing of smaller, individual services more likely in the short term. Some CCGs are also more willing to embrace the private sector than others.
The Department of Health emphasised that the private sector was competing against the non-profit sector as well as social enterprises: “There is absolutely no government policy to privatise NHS services,” it said. “The NHS will stay free for everyone, but it’s right that patients should get the best service – regardless of who provides it.”
But Dr Richard Taylor, leader of the National Health Action Party, which is opposed to the privatisation of the NHS, said the growing number of contracts provided “the starkest evidence yet that Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act has changed NHS England from a provider of healthcare into a purchaser of services from private providers.”
£5bn – Total value of NHS work being tendered – including:
£800m-£1.12bn for elderly care provision July 2013 Cambridge and Peterborough want a provider to take on services including unplanned acute hospital care for the elderly and end-of-life care
£814m for home support and care homes May 2012 Birmingham wants a framework of providers for home support services and homes for the elderly and adults with mental health issues or disabilities
£350m for a youth detention centre July 2012 A contract to operate and manage a secure accommodation centre for young offenders in London, including the provision of education and healthcare services
£267.9m for housing the elderly May 2013 Westminster wants a provider to deliver care services and residential homes for older people
£210m for mental health team June 2013 Bristol wants to re-tender community adult mental health services because of low patient and staff satisfaction with the current provider
£175m for joint and limb disorders August 2012 West Sussex is considering setting up an intergrated musculoskeletal service
£63m for midwifery June 2013 Wiltshire is looking for a provider of a midwife-led service to support women and their families throughout pregnancy and labour
All figures are for the total value of contracts. Source: Bain
View on the Financial Times: http://t.co/4EjRnSfUpi
NHS 111 FIASCO SHOWS HOW PRIVATISATION AND USE OF THE MARKET FAILS PATIENTS
NHS Direct today announced it wants to withdraw from providing NHS 111 services, throwing the whole system into further chaos.
NHS Direct is one of the main providers for the service but says it is “financially unsustainable”.
KEY FACTS ABOUT NHS DIRECT AND NHS 111
NHS Direct was launched by the NHS in 1998, to offer non-emergency medical advice. It was staffed by nurses and was anational service.
NHS 111 was launched this year to replace NHS Direct and offer non-emergency medical advice, as well as an out-of-hours GP service. It directs callers to the relevant service, whether it’s A&E, an out-of-hours doctor, an urgent care centre, a walk-in centre, a community nurse or a late-opening chemist. It is staffed by trained advisers and there are 46 different locally-based service providers.
NHS Direct continued to provide the NHS 111 service to over a third of the population in a large number of local areas, but has announced today it’s withdrawing from these as it is “financially unsustainable”.
The use of non-medically trained staff by NHS 111 has been blamed for a large number of unnecessary referrals to A&E departments putting further pressure on them.
REACTION FROM NHA PARTY LEADERS
Dr Clive Peedell said:
“This is a clear example of privatisation and use of the market in healthcare failing patients. The service becomes fragmented and quality suffers in a race to the bottom to get the cheapest providers. An NHS advice line is a good idea, but it needs to be a national service, properly integrated with local emergency & GP services”
Dr Richard Taylor said:
“The 111 crisis in my opinion is an example of what happens when a service, intended to be uniform across the country, is offered to private providers especially as this is a service that was trialled successfully under the last government. Corners will be cut in the drive for profit. Less triage staff with little experience will be cheap. No wonder it is failing when it could have helped patients and overstretched A&E departments so much.”
How to stop A&E departments bursting at the seams
by Dr Richard Taylor
Our A&E departments are bursting at the seams. Every week there are more reports of increasing waiting times and unsafe patient care. Aside from the glaringly obvious need to suspend the closure of 35 A&E departments across the country, there are other urgent steps the government must take.
1. Improve out-of-hours GP services. This can be done and my local example of this in Shropshire proves it. “Shropdoc”, the Shropshire Doctors Co-operative Ltd, provides urgent medical services for patients when their own surgery is closed and whose needs cannot safely wait until the surgery is next open Their website states: “If you need urgent medical attention that will not wait until your own surgery is next open, call 08444 06 88 88. If your condition cannot wait for 1½ hours this is likely to be an emergency please dial 999 Eg: Choking, Chest Pain, Blacking out, Blood loss.” Shropdoc is a member of the Federation of Social Enterprise Health Care Providers (Urgent Health UK) which covers about 17 other areas in England with wide, patient satisfaction. Unfortunately the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt does not appear to be supportive of this eminently sensible way of bringing suitably qualified GPs back into providing out-of-hours urgent care.
2. Stop the reductions in hospital beds until services outside hospitals are available for those that can be cared for in the community. A shortage of beds in a hospital compounds the problems in A&E because patients cannot be moved to a ward quickly enough.
3. Speed up the discharge process of inpatients to free up hospital beds more quickly.
4. Friday and Saturday night problems in A&E departments, and for ambulance services, are compounded by alcoholics and particularly young binge drinkers. Setting a minimum price for alcohol would alleviate this.
5. Revamp the 111 helpline. The now infamous 111 number was introduced with two aims. Firstly, to direct patients not needing to call 999 to appropriate care for their urgent illness or injury. Secondly, to avoid unnecessary attendances at A&E departments. With appropriate triage systems and phone lines run by medically qualified staff and set up on a national, un-privatised basis, this number could still work excellently for both purposes.
6. Establish multi-agency response teams. Ensure that all areas of the country have teams of health professionals available to patients and GPs to assess patients, particularly the elderly, who are apparently in need of hospital admission, to direct them to more appropriate local health care to keep them out of the A&E department and the hospital unless absolutely necessary. In some areas these exist and have been called multi-agency response teams.
7. Integrate minor injuries units with A&E departments. Ensure much better integration of minor injuries units (MIUs) with their parent A&E department by, for example, rotating shared staff so that MIUs are enabled to cope with more emergencies and all staff members are aware of this. At a recent visit to my local A&E department, over-hearing nurses talk, it was clear they did not know which local MIUs were open 24 hours per day.
Should we pay emergency care doctors more? Yes and no. Working with medical and surgical emergencies should be a very exciting and attractive part of any young doctor’s training leading to adequate numbers choosing these fields for their careers. Pay increases would make little difference to the right sort of doctor. However, in the short term, until working in casualty departments becomes an attractive proposition again, the only way to improve levels of staffing may be to pay more to appropriately qualified doctors. This could be offset by reducing the huge amounts currently paid to agency locum doctors, sometimes of inadequate experience and training.
£1bn NHS sell-off condemned by National Health Action Party
The National Health Action Party has condemned the decision by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group to initiate the largest NHS sell-off to date, saying that it will ultimately lead to reduced quality of care and increased costs- and is clear evidence that the NHS is being broken apart and sold off by this government.
The contract for providing health services for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s 860,000 population is estimated to be around £1 billion and marks a signiﬁcant extension of NHS privatisation less than three months after the Coalition’s massive NHS reorganisation came into effect.
The NHA Party’s co-leader, Dr Richard Taylor described this as “the starkest evidence yet that Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act has changed NHS England from a provider of healthcare into a purchaser of services from private providers.”
“At a time when the users of the NHS in England are seeking reassurance of improved transparency on patient safety and NHS performance, this information will be legally hidden by commercial in confidence agreements between CCGs and private companies.”
“Users of NHS England rightly expect it to be cost-effective: yet purchasing care services from private providers which have shareholders demanding proﬁts can only lead to increased costs or reduced quality of care; or both. That this tender is being placed when NHS England is under government pressure to reduce budgets makes this announcement even more alarming.”
The National Health Action Party’s representative in South Cambridgeshire, John Hully said:
“Cambridgeshire and Peterborough residents will be seriously concerned that one of the potential bidders for these services – which includes end of life care – has recently withdrawn from bidding on another government contract after claims of previous overcharging; and that on a previous NHS contract it was the subject of allegations by whistleblowers that not only was the service short-staffed but that the company had falsiﬁed its performance ﬁgures over 200 times.”
“The CCG should withdraw and reconsider this tender forthwith: but under the recent Health Act has no alternative but to call for tenders when more than one provider ‘qualifies’. “
“The public has been misled and misdirected over the purpose and impact of Andrew Lansley’s Act and must wake up to the fact that their NHS is being broken apart and sold off.”
A&E Crisis made in Downing Street, says National Health Action Party
The current crisis in A&E and the threat to patients’ lives could have been avoided if the government had published the Risk Register, say the National Health Action Party.
Today’s report by the Health Select Committee reveals that only 17% of trusts can guarantee the recommended level of consultant cover and the new 111 non-emergency phone number is not yet offering “timely and effective” advice. It also criticises the lack of plans to relieve the pressure on A&E units in England,
Health Select Committee chairman Stephen Dorrell said: “The system is ‘flying blind’ without adequate information about the nature of the demand being placed upon it.”
Co-leader of the NHA Party, Dr Clive Peedell, says this is a crisis made in Downing Street:
“It’s scandalous that the government vetoed the release of the NHS Risk Register, which specifically warned of the risk of crisis in A&E, 3 years ago. We only know about this because a draft report was leaked to the media. David Cameron was too scared of revealing the impact of his disastrous NHS reforms to the public. Now lives are needlessly in danger. This is a crisis made in Downing Street.
“The abolition of Strategic Health Authorities has meant there is no joined-up thinking to avert or deal with problems of this sort, and the chronic shortage of emergency care consultants, with half of training places unfilled, is yet another indication of the government’s failure to invest in emergency medicine”.
The CAMarathon - 65 gruelling miles, 21 exhausting hours!
Dr Clive Peedell and co-runner Dr David Wilson have completed a totally staggering and heroic ultra-marathon from Westminster to Witney to highlight the government’s dismantling of the NHS and the NHA Party’s plans to restore, protect and improve it.
Please make their incredible effort worthwhile by:
• making a donation.
• printing off your own leaflets and distributing them locally.
Watch the CAMarathon here:
Whitehall to Westminster: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
At the John Radlcliffe Hospital: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Oxford to Witney: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Watch our photo montage of an incredible 2 days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Our photo-gallery from the CAMarathon in London:
The NHA Party response to the NHS Confederation, Association of Medical Royal Colleges and National Voices “Changing Care, Improving Quality” document:
The NHA Party welcomes the call for a national debate on hospital reconfigurations, which is timely considering the current on-going crisis in NHS emergency care, but says simply shutting down hospitals is not the answer.
The NHS Confederation , Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and National Voices “Changing Care , Improving Quality” document raises some important points, but offers little in the way of solutions. The NHA Party has previously called for a moratorium on hospital reconfigurations because the NHS is already under so much pressure. Any reconfiguration must be clinically driven, not financially driven, and local people must be properly consulted and involved. Too many previous reconfigurations have been based on a financial case involving PFI hospitals, rather than the healthcare needs of the local population. This is particularly disturbing considering the Treasury has clawed back £3billion from the NHS budget in the last 2 years.
NHA Party Co-leader, Dr Clive Peedell said:
“Although some services do need to be centralised to ensure high quality care, the knock effects for other specialities cannot be ignored. Closing an A+E department, for example, will result in closure of other services and a complete hospital downgrade, with clear implications for the local population’s healthcare needs. Boosting community services and providing care closer to home to take pressure off hospitals is all well and good, but where are the details and plans for this? The reality is that this Government is intent on fragmenting and dismantling the NHS in order to increasingly privatise large swathes of it. This is being accelerated through excessive efficiency savings and the Treasury clawing back billions from the NHS budget. This creates a debate on reconfiguration that is framed around “unaffordability”, rather than what really matters, which is patient care”.
The government is wasting money on the privatisation and marketisation of the NHS and diverting resources away from emergency services, leading to the current crisis in A&E.
Statement from co-leader, Dr Clive Peedell: The current crisis in A&E and how the government’s NHS ‘disorganisation’ is diverting money away from emergency services:
“The A&E crisis is a clear example of what happens when the Tories are left in charge of the NHS: funding cuts, hospital closures and bed closures, an expensive redisorganisation of the NHS taking the focus away from care, a fragmented and privatised NHS 111 service using cheaper and less experienced staff, too much pressure on GPs, and no solution to the social care crisis.
Worse still, the Government wants to reduce hospital services further and transfer them to the community, but it has not put the funding and infrastructure in place.
The NHA party would stop the NHS funding cuts and divert money wasted on the privatisation and marketisation of our healthcare system into direct patient care by investing in NHS emergency services and improving General Practice with more GPs and community nurses.”
Statement from Dr Clive Peedell: Queen’s Speech announcement on limiting migrants’ access to NHS shows government’s knee jerk populist reaction to UKIP surge:
”We agree with the Royal College of GPs that NHS professionals must not be turned into the UK border agency.
In terms of medical ethics and the duty of care professionals provide to the public, management of the medical condition must come first, especially if it is an emergency.
In addition, public health issues are vital for the nation’s health and immigrants must receive medical attention to address management of community acquired infections, through immunisation and treatment of conditions like TB.
The Government already has policy on this issue, albeit very confused, and this seems to be a knee jerk populist reaction by the Government to address its concerns over the surge of right wing support for UKIP.
Health tourism is a minor issue in the scheme of things with upper estimates of a cost of just 0.15% of the total NHS budget. In addition, not treating people may result in greater costs and unintended consequences further down the line”.
The NHS is now facing increasing privatisation, greater inefficiency, wasted money and rising waiting lists.
The NHS is now facing increasing privatisation, greater inefficiency, wasted money and rising waiting lists, following a crucial vote in the Lords on April 24th.
A Labour motion to annul controversial privatisation regulations was defeated by 146 votes to 254, with Lib Dems siding with the Tories.
Dr Clive Peedell, who co-founded the NHA Party in the wake of widespread and serious concerns at the Health & Social Care Act, said the repercussions for the NHS were grim and the vote was an outrage:
“The defeat of Labour’s motion to annul the S75 NHS privatisation regulations was an affront to the democratic process. Many who voted had vested interests in private companies, which will benefit from these marketising and privatising regulations.
The ambiguity of these regulations will create a goldmine for lawyers. CCGs will fear the risk of legal challenge from private companies if they don’t put services out to tender. With cash strapped budgets, they cannot afford the potential legal costs if such actions.
The NHS now threatens to be increasingly privatised and fragmented over the coming years. This will lead to greater inefficiency and wasted resources, which should be spent on frontline care. The NHS is already under huge financial strain and these changes will lead to greater rationing of care, service closures, hospital mergers, less patient choice, rising waiting lists and ultimately a move towards a mixed funding system of health care. There was no democratic mandate for this. The public deserve better than this and the National Health Action party will do its upmost to highlight this betrayal of the electorate.
The main priorities now are to raise public awareness of the privatisation of English healthcare services, support Lord Owen’s NHS reinstatement bill, and pressurise the Labour Party to stick to their promise of making the NHS the preferred provider of NHS services.
This is a very sad day for the NHS but we simply must not give up on a much loved institution that forms the heart of the social fabric of this nation. We will continue to strive for an NHS that is publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable. That is the most efficient and fair way to deliver a healthcare service for all.”