Only with your efforts

In June 2019, the NHS is in significant danger. In 2015 we started the fight to protect the Liverpool Women’s Hospital. This struggle is and will be inseparable from the overall campaign to defend and improve the NHS locally and nationally.

Plans and events have come together to present a major opportunity for the privatisers. These very well paid people have been working assiduously, and with determination, to package the NHS into an organisation that works within the for-profit  US and multinational models, used by free trade international and especially US health care and insurance corporations.

The process has been underway for many years and is now almost complete.  This is more than the outsourcing we have seen previously but something comprehensive. It is at a regional level,  with accountable care organisations, merging of trusts, population budgets with rationed care, and the deep involvement already of the big US and multinational corporations. This has tied the NHS up in gift wrapping for privatisation on a whole new scale. 

 There are real crises in the NHS in the number of beds, of staff and of access to the best medications. All of these lie on the shoulders of those administering the NHS at the national level. It is widely reported that making the NHS unsatisfactory is a precursor to a major change.

Now we have a political crisis over Brexit, and demands for free trade deals to replace the EU, and the NHS openly discussed as being essential to a free trade deal with the US.

The US president, no less, says the NHS must be on the table in any free trade deal, and he is given a state welcome. A political party whose owner is committed to an insurance-based health care system has just won an election in the UK, albeit just the European one. Jeremy Hunt, pioneer privatiser, and Liam Fox free traders par excellence are bidding for the Conservative leadership. The roar of support from the crowd when Jeremy Corbyn spoke out in defence of the NHS   at the anti-Trump demonstration shows something of the huge potential support the NHS has but that support must be active, very widespread,  loud and insistent.

The warning sirens must sound across the land, voice by voice.

This morning Trump rowed back a bit on the “everything is on the table” position but that is not worth the air he used to utter it. The process is underway.

What you do and say on this issue will matter. Speak to your workmates and family, friends and colleagues, write to your MP, write to your councillor, write to your union nationally and locally, join a union if you have not already., raise it in any political party you are in, join an NHS defence campaign, ours, or another nearer you.

Only with your efforts will our NHS free at the point of need, publicly provided be saved. That NHS saves mothers lives and babies lives.

We will be raising with other campaigns what the next steps will be locally and nationally but we need you with us.

For all our mothers, daughters, friends and lovers, and for each and every baby, save the NHS.

 

Is this acceptable?

Is press and publicity manipulation aimed at Labour Party Conference a suitable use of NHS money and time?

The local management of the NHS and Liverpool Women’s Hospital want fundamental and unpopular change. They applied for money to rebuild the Hospital on the site of the benighted Royal Liverpool University Hospital. Unsuprisingly they did not get the money.

The team behind these plans includes the local STP, the CCG, and the Liverpool Women’s Hospital Trust. To push these plans they have used the media in many ways. They claim that their media intervention was successful in reducing the imapct of our demonstration to Labour Party Conference in September 2018. “The impact of the demonstration march was perceived to be less than the campaign group’s previous activities”.

The state of the NHS, with under funding, privatisation, reorganisations in favour of big corporations, outsourcing, low pay, cuts in services and rationing of care is profoundly political, but interevening to affect a demonstation to Labour’s Conference is hardly aceptable even in that context. It is a questionale use of NHS resources.

More than our campaign’s entire budget will have been spent on this media offensive. This is taxpayer money that should have been spent on patient care, in a city with really poor health oucomes and where nearly twice as many babies dying before the age of one than the national average.

Our Campaign to Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital has large and widespread public support, and our campaign fundamentally disagrees with this plan. We want to keep a women’s hospital and to keep it on its current low rise and green site. We object to spending more than £100million on the project when women and babies in Liverpool face major health issues.

Our petition has 46,000 signatories, online and many more on paper. Our campaign has gained support from Labour Party branches and even Labour’s conference. Diane Abbott MP, Emily Thornberry MP, and Jonathon Ashworth MP (Labour’s spokesperson on the NHS) have all spoken at our demonstrations. The campaign is now in its 4th year.

We support the work of Liverpool Women’s Hospital. It has remarkable successes and dedicated, hard working staff. Most of Liverpool’s Babies are born at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, and it has many excellent services. We are aware of problems and difficulties, but LWH is well worth protecting.

In the context of the Climate Emergency and major concerns about air quality, putting the birth of the the majority of Liverpool babies in an air polluted traffic islnd and highrise blocks seems frankly ridiculous.

In key documents at the Liverpool Women’s Hospital Board Meeting on 2nd May 2019, this document ‘Strategic Aims and our Corporate Objectives 2018/19’ was presented.

Included in he report were these sections.
“..the need for a move, more decisively, to a multidisciplinary hospital site within 5-10 years.”
Commissioner support retained despite lack of success in STP Capital bid, with plans for a way forward being developed.”

Recent developments of note where these key messages were used occurred during September 2018 in advance of the Labour Party Conference. The Trust referred to the key messages to counter a planned demonstration against the plans for the future by a local campaign group. The Trust’s key messages received significant media, online, social media and public exposure with an overall average reach/audience for TV/radio/printed news of over 410k and an average reach/audience for LWH social media and website posts of almost 40k. The impact of the demonstration march was perceived to be less than the campaign group’s previous activities due to our proactive factual messaging and anecdotally the Trust feels that stakeholder understanding about our future is now more clearly understood as a result.

The board claim that;

Dialogue is ongoing with NHSE, MPs, councillors and other stakeholders to ensure the case for change is well understood”

So in this context they feel it is acceptable to pay for whole page adverts in free sheets and in the Liverpool Echo? Is it right to be putting forward a whole major media intervention?

When the plan to “move” Liverpool Women’s Hospital was first launched they ran a story about how dangerous it was ro transfer women to other hospitals but now somehow the figures for transfers, the main plank of the earlier media message, have dramatically dropped to just one!

We don’t deserve 34 years of ill health.

Women’s Health matters.

Liverpool and Merseyside need a Women’s hospital, focussing on improving the lifetime health of women from the womb to the grave. We need a health service that recognizes the needs of women. We must improve the lives and health of women in this city. A well funded hospital with a committment to the health of women could lead the way for other hospitals. This hospital could link up others with the aim of improving women’s health across the nation. Women spend more of their life in ill health than men do.

This is not, in any way, acting against men

As we come marching, marching, we battle too, for men,
For they are women’s children and we mother them again
Our days shall not be sweated from birth until life closes, 
Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread, but give us rose
s”.

 It doesn’t have to be this way.

Women tend to look after their health more than men do, so the difference is not from risk taking or deliberately unhealthy lives, even if some do take risks. Though women live longer than men do, they live in worse health for more of their lives. Women from poorer areas, like Liverpool, endure 34 years more ill health (You would get less for murder!) than women from more affluent areas. Women from poorer areas have shorter lives, with more illness and this is getting worse. Within Liverpool, life expectancy is 10.2 years lower for men and 8.3 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Liverpool than in the least deprived areas of the city. That’s just within the city. The differences with wealthy areas of the country is even greater

 ‘The gap in life expectancy between women living in the most and least deprived areas has also widened, falling for women in the most deprived areas and continuing to rise for those in the least deprived areas.”  Professor Danny Dorling

It does not have to be this way, This is a long term Governmental choice to make the poor pay for their policies. Even the UN has described it with horror Each person who speaks out against this impoverishment begins to turn this terrible tide.

In 2015 a World Health Organisation Report showed that Life Expectancy of women in the UK was is the second lowest in western Europe. The UK is ranked 14 out of 15 nations; we need a focus on women’s health.

Healthcare is just one way we can help women’s health. We have also to fight low pay ( especially for mothers ) poverty, expensive and poor quality childcare. bad housing, pollution, stress and abuse. But in this storm what we have, we hold; we will not surrender the benefits earlier genserations have won for us.

There are many aspects of health treatment that are specific to women.

Teenagers still have major problems with periods and acne, some very serious problems. No contraception is perfect and some have side effects.

Mesh, breast implants have been the source of many scandals caused by profit seeking at the expense of women’s health.

Mental health is a major health issue for women. The same numbers of women and men experience mental health problems overall, but some problems are more common in women than men, and vice versa. Twice the percentage of women in work suffer (or admit to) mental health issues than men do. Some mental health issues are related to hormones and reproduction, some to poverty

Endometriosis1.5 million women suffer from endometriosis but it takes 7 years on average to get a diagnosis. That’s one in ten women in debilitating pain.

Heart disease is a major killer of women, more so even than the horrible breast cancer that ends the lives of so many of our sisters.

Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke are all diseases with distinct female issues.

We need research and focussed treatment. We need the research done at Liverpool Women’s hospital to be expanded. This hospital would give a great case for significant increases in investemnt if we can win the battle to get a government that respects its people.

We are in a politically driven storm of cuts, privatisation and destruction in the NHS. Full details can be found here. Having established the Internal market the privateers have now decided to privatise the service at the regional level. To garner the greatest profits for the large companies operating at this large scale, the NHS are bringing some services back in-house, so it will be more profitable from the very big US health care companies.

We are short of beds, short of doctors, nurses, midwives, and the myriad of professionals working in the NHS and the devoted ancillary staff. Poverty wages makes women ill, yet outsourced companies pay these wages to women and men who work in the NHS. Let’s hope the ancillary workers keep on fighting for better pay and conditions. They will have healthier lives and use the NHS less.

What we have we hold!

We must defend Liverpool Women’s Hospital and fight for more, much more investment in health. This is the sixth richest country on planet earth. There is wealth aplenty to fund the NHS.

What causes this extended ill health in women?

Poverty plays a part. Drug research based on men not women plays a part, the level of importance given to women’s health and unthinking sexism, also play a part. So do the physical facts of women’s hormones and of childbearing capacity, whether or not we have children.

We have specialist hospitals for many conditions; a hospital for women is deeply needed.

For all our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and lovers, we need a women’s hospital!

It’s for the babies too!

For each and  every one of our precious babies, we need an excellent world-class maternity hospital  In Liverpool. We must defend what we have and insist on improving it.

Liverpool’s infant mortality rate is at its highest level since 2010. ”Some 5.2 infants died per 1,000 live births between 2014 and 2016, significantly higher than the national average of 3.9 deaths per 1,000 births.”

IMR ( Infant Mortality Rate ) is used internationally as an indicator of the comparative wellbeing of nations. It is sensitive both to the socio-economic conditions affecting women of childbearing age and children; and the quality and accessibility of services for families. IMR continues to improve in most rich countries, with recent data showing that in countries such as Japan and Finland the IMR has dipped to only 2 per thousand.(3) In Liverpool, where some of us work, the infant mortality rate is now an unacceptable 6.8 – more than twice as high as London’s average.

In 2017 1 in every 225 births ended in a stillbirth. For every 1,000 babies born, 4.2 were stillborn, according to the Charity Tommy. Other babies die shortly after birth and still more have significant birth injuries.

 …mortality for the poorest infants in the UK is rising ( getting worse) every year since 2011. This is despite mortality continuing to improve in all other European countries, which often still benefit from very rapid improvements in health no longer seen in the UK.  The most recent rise in premature deaths is now leading to a situation where overall life expectancy could begin to fall for all groups. It is already falling in the poorest areas and for the poorest groups.

The Nuffield trust says “The UK has made less progress in reducing stillbirths and neonatal and infant deaths over the last two decades than many other developed countries”.

Sadly Liverpool Women’s Hospital has made saving on maternity this year despite this death rate “Maternity activity has reduced as anticipated and is expected to have deliveries in the region of 8,200 (2017/18 8,600). The service has reduced costs in terms of pay and non-pay and has also reviewed service income and costs as part of the “right size project” .

Is this the response we want to the news of increased deaths of babies? Surely the extra capacity could support women after birth far more effectively than they are supported now.

The NHS is not a democracy, nor is it socially or communally responsible. The NHS answers to Simon Stephens and to the requirements of their grand plans and privatisation. But camapigning does make some difference.

The big companies involved in the NHS have more and more say. Their purpose is profit.

The future of the  Liverpool Women’s Hospital is still unclear.Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital  campaigns for a fully funded NHS and for Liverpool Women’s Hospital to be upgraded on the Crown Street site.

The current management still favours a move that would cost at least £100 million. The April Board meeting said they were going to hold a clinical summit on this issue this summer. We call for a community summit too. The wishes of more than 50,000 petitioners cannot be ignored.

Liverpool Women’s hospital is inadequately funded by the NHS, as are many hospitals. Aintree, for example has major financial problems. There are underlying additional problems at Liverpool Women’s.

  1. The maternity tariff is still inadequate.
  2. The funding does not reflect the very specialist work that the hospital does. Birmingham CCG does recognize this for their women’s hospital, but not Liverpool.
  3. The NHS insurance system is difficult for all obstetric providers but Liverpool has a historic (and disgraceful) case, significantly inflating premiums.
  4. Most of these problems stem not just from inadequate funding, real though that is, but from the “Internal market” imposed on the NHS by wave 2 privatization.

The Liverpool Women’s Hospital makes decisions within the policies of the  Merseyside and Cheshire Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). This plan describes extreme reductions in spending.

It is our understanding that the budget of Liverpool Women’s Hospital is kept in balance by a subsidy from Transformation funding,“The control total now assumes receipt of £6.8m Provider Sustainability Funding (PSF) (including a £3.2m of bonus and incentive).which is dependent on the plan to move. Somehow we are meant to believe that the move will save money.

LWH also has to cope with damaging decisions like the withdrawal of bursaries from midwives and nurses training, and an inadequate number of training places for doctors in the whole country. Staff are consequently overworked and underpaid.

Women in the UK as elsewhere have a right to a long healthy life. But we are going to have to fight for it.

The NHS, though battered and bruised, is still worth the fight.

Staff keep the NHS going despite the privatisers, and despite the government.

Campaigners are winning some battles.

The strikers at LWH won, well done.

Well done to all who are fighting for the NHS, and especially to the victory in Ealing where plans for major closures have been withdrawn!  Let us hope these victories give courage to all who support the NHS and better the pay and working conditions for staff. Let Ealing’s victory give courage to all who fight for our hospitals. Campaign groups for the NHS are   growing. Come and join us!

The privatisation model this government and the NHS national administrators are working on is not just of making the sick pay for their individual treatment. That “patient pay system” is is starting in various ways, including charging migrants. Patient pay and refusal to treat without payment will get the biggest backlash. Right now, their kind of privatisation is more diverting the huge taxpayer spend on health into the pockets of big business.

Just one example of the shift from public wealth to private gain was seen in 2017 when NHS plasma supplies were sold off by Tories for £230 million, then sold on to a Chinese company for £820 million. Nearly £500million profit that was yours and mine, but went into private pockets.

The biggest privatisation of the NHS is underway. The break up of the national NHS into 44 STP or accountable care areas is a precurser to the privatisation of the whole system, a step further in the privatisation process than the contracts given out previously, huge though they were. Campaigners and trade unions face their biggest battles ever, Increasingly workers in outsourced companies are taking action against the privatising companies who are not meeting NHS pay levels, (and NHS pay is are low enough already).

We send solidarity to the strikers at HMRC cleaners and to AFG care workers whose nightwork pay has been cut.

The NHS was founded to be

  • Free at the point of need
  • Funded from taxation
  • A national service
  • Not for profit
  • A service for everyone; a truly universal service
  • A comprehensive service, providing the best available treatment for all


This original model of health care is the most cost effective and most
efficient form of healthcare service delivery in the world. It was responsible for dramatically improving women’s lives and reducing infant and maternal mortality. It is much less expensive, and more effective to the nation than the US insurance model. We cannot afford this government and the NHS national administrators who are closely linked to private companies. Out sourcing, PFI and financially unstable outsourcing firms like Interserve, are only good for the international health corporations.

There are real dangers in the cuts in funding that reaches the hospitals and primary health care;
The UK has also slipped down international league tables for infant mortality and is now 15th out of 19comparable countries”

In a recent study that compared access to and quality of health care in 195 countries by analysing ‘health care-amenable mortality’ – ie, mortality rates from causes that should not be fatal if effective health care is in place – the UK is ranked 30th out of 195 countries – its overall score was similar to Portugal and Malta but lower than comparable countries like Germany, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.

We also have fewer doctors per head of population than other comparable EU countries.

The number of beds in the NHS is dangerously low, as many readers will have seen with their own eyes;
The UK, for example, has 2.7 hospital beds per 1000 population compared to an EU average of 5.2 – far lower than Germany (8.2) and France (6.2) but similar to Ireland (2.6) and Sweden (2.5). Although this might be seen as a sign of efficiency (indeed the declining number of hospital beds in the UK has been partly due to medical advances that have shortened length of stay in hospital and a shift in the model of care that means people with learning disabilities, mental illness and the longer-term care of older people occurs in community settings) there are significant concerns about high levels of bed occupancy in hospitals and the problems this causes.”
https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/articles/big-election-questions-nhs-international-comparisons

Every NHS hospital in the land, and all public and community health services, require major new investment for day-to-day running.  Meanwhile much needed money is being squandered on outsourcing, PFI and privatisation.

Please get involved and fight for the NHS, fight against privatisation, for keeping NHS funding for the NHS, not letting it leak out to the private sector.

Defend your GP services

(This is shared from Defend Our NHS and 999 Call for the NHS).

Dear friend of the NHS

Please urgently help to annul the Dept of Health’s stealth changes to legislation about how GPs work

Please will you help to stop the government from bypassing MPs as it sneaks in big changes to the way GPs work?

All it takes is to ask your MP to support National Health Service Early Day Motion #2103.

You can download this template letter to MPs and change it in any way you like. You can find your MP’s contact details here.

Regulatory changes that bypass MPs’ scrutiny and debate

NHS England knows that 999 Call for the NHS has applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against the contentious Integrated Care Provider contract (formerly called the Accountable Care Organisation contract).

But the NHS Long Term Plan has announced that the NHS England quango will make the contract available for use in 2019.

To enable this, on 13th February the Department of Health sneakily introduced big changes to the way GPs work, without giving MPs any say in the matter. It did this through Statutory Instrument 2019 No. 248 – The Amendments Relating to the Provision of Integrated Care Regulations 2019.

Statutory Instrument 2019 No. 248 makes major changes to the existing contractual arrangements for providing GP Primary Care services. These changes are to enable Integrated Care Providers (formerly called Accountable Care Organisations) to run a whole range of hospital, primary care and community health services for their given area and its population.

Now Jeremy Corbyn, Jon Ashworth and other MPs are sponsoring a Prayer Motion (National Health Service EDM #2103) that calls for the Statutory Instrument’s annulment:

“That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Amendments Relating to the Provision of Integrated Care Regulations 2019 (S.I., 2019, No. 248), dated 13 February 2019, a copy of which was laid before this House on 13 February 2019, be annulled.”

Please will you call on your MP to support this PRAYER MOTION?

Time is short. The deadline for the Prayer Motion is 24 March. The Statutory Instrument is due to take effect on 1 April.

Please visit this web page to find out more.

The last time a “prayer” was answered was in 2000. If it succeeded then it can succeed again. But it needs us all to push it, so that it has wide support from MPs.

Please get in touch if you need any further help or information.

WHY WE’RE ASKING FOR YOUR HELP

Statutory Instrument 2019 No. 248 makes major changes to the existing contractual arrangements for providing GP Primary Care services.

It would enable new Integrated Care Providers (formerly called Accountable Care Organisations) to directly employ GPs to deliver a model of primary, mental health and community health care that would radically change patients’ (and GPs’) experience of the NHS. This is likely to damage an area’s NHS organisations AND the health needs of the public.

Recent reports by the National Audit Office and the Nuffield Trust say there is no evidence that this new model would meet the intended aims of reducing costs and improving quality of patient care. And the Chair of the BMA has told GP members they‘should not feel pressured into entering an Integrated Care Provider contract as to do so could leave their patients worse off.’

We must take this seriously. We feel strongly that these major changes should not slide through Parliament in secondary legislation without any oversight by MPs.

THERE IS HOPE

Getting this Prayer Motion passed is a long shot. But we hope you’ll agree it’s worth trying. The stakes are high and we should seize any chance of stopping this undemocratic move by the Dept. of Health and NHS England.

If a Prayer Motion succeeded in 2000, then it can succeed again.

The Integrated Care Provider contract aims to “manage demand” for NHS care

This means it could threaten patient safety standards and restrict patients’ access to treatments.

Standards of NHS care are already under pressure, and all of us will have begun to see restricted access to a full range of high quality health care in our local areas.

The Integrated Care Provider contract is set to make this worse.

In and out of the courts, we continue to oppose its introduction.

Thanks and best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

Obstacles to Health Care 2019

Women need the NHS, for themselves, for the babies, and for their communities.

Women of the Labour movement fought hard for decades to found a National Health Service. Despite the huge difficulties, and after decades of struggle, in 1948, with the great reforming Labour Government, they succeeded. Some of these women recounted being mocked for demanding health care free at the point of need for all, but they fought on.

Now The NHS is being dismantled before our eyes. Fight like your grandmothers and great grandmothers, fight like hell to win back the NHS. You can make a difference. Get in touch with campaigns or set up one yourself. You will find lots of help.

The Women’s Cooperative Guild fought for a health service more than a century ago

Profit, not human need, is driving NHS cuts. Some of the wealthiest corporations in the world are involved, invited in by this government.

Building blocks of the NHS

The NHS was founded to be a national service. A national service shares the risks of more than 66.02 million people. It provides a huge base for research, data and professional education.

The NHS was founded to be  

  • Free at the point of need
  • Publicly provided
  • Available for everyone
  • A comprehensive service
  • Funded from general taxation (So the bosses pay too, not just the workers).

Using this model, the NHS became the world leader in health care. We saw nearly 70 years of consistent investment, of professional training and great returns in money invested and women’s lives improved, babies survived.

The NHS was far from perfect, the UK did not and does not top the charts for women’s health or for babies health. Campaigners are realistic about the problems. But, we can afford a decent NHS.

Health care is a great investment. Every pound invested returns £3 to the economy. Poor health care means pain and worry, unfit people, less competent workers, more people giving up work to care for family members who are ill, and lower GDP.

Health care spending at Western European levels would give us a good NHS, we don’t need a money tree.

There are two distinct waves of deliberate disruption, privatization, and marketization of the NHS, and each wave is damaging our health and the service itself. Step one started with Blair legislation but comes now from the Coalition’s Health and Social Care Act, 2012. It is cruel and vicious.

These changes are wrapped in the sugary language of “progress”, “efficiency” “consultation”, and “personalization”. In cold reality, they mean:

  • Deliberate shortage of money and resources
  • Bad planning of staff training, recruitment, and  retention so we are short of doctors, nurses, midwives, and other health professionals
  • Cuts in the number of hospital beds
  • The internal market and the Hospital Trust system which sets hospitals up to compete, significantly increasing costs and administration
  • The Commissioning model, which massively increased private providers moving into the NHS, and is inefficient and wasteful.
  • The NHS is no longer for everyone. Many are charged –   especially if their skin is not white. (Please see our blog or Docs not Cops for more on migrant charging)
  • Not all services are now provided
  • Maternity services are inadequate
  • Mental health care has been wrecked, especially for children
  • The involvement of financial consultants from huge corporations, supporting the involvement of profit-making bodies.

Social care

Every human society has to care for its elders. Yet since Thatcher, our elder care has been privatized. Whilst it started as small often family enterprises, they have now been consolidated into big corporations

Privatization, speculation, underinvestment and inflated private profit, from hedge funds and others over many years, has damaged social care for our elders, whilst disabled adults have been the hardest hit in cuts to services supporting independence (see Reclaim Social Care campaign).

Social care is means-tested and badly funded. Staff less well paid, with less professional development than in the NHS. Social care is in deep crisis. None of the NHS changes addresses these issues. Heath and social care working well together is an admirable aim, but the Integrated Care system does not address this at all. It is an accountancy measure.

Maternity faces closures of units and hospitals, as well as half of them,  being so full they have turned mothers away, sending them to other units; such is “choice” in this situation. There is a profound and increasing shortage of midwives, shortages of obstetricians and related professionals. Postnatal care is especially hard hit.

In NHS newspeak, every issue is supposedly to do with a mother’s choice, but somehow, not if that choice is to give birth in her own town or city, or the maternity unit she has chosen. No, these cuts and closures, we are told, are essential! Continuity midwife services much vaunted in the propaganda would require at least fifty percent more midwives to implement nationwide One NHS spokesman claimed it was fine to travel for four hours to access obstetric care. It is not just maternity though. All services for women matter. Any improvement in women’s health has halted thanks to austerity and NHS cuts. UK women on average endure 18 years of ill health. The gap in life expectancy between women and men is closing downwards. Austerity is shortening our lives. Liverpool Women’s Hospital is always in peril in this system.

2019 wave of privatization is happening now in every area of England. The NHS and social care are being reorganized. It looks like this

Find out more, spread the word.!

Step 2 looks like this;

Not even all councillors know what is happening, yet councillors can have a say in this through health and well being boards.

Campaigners can alert the public. Councillors can intervene to oppose this at Health and Well-being boards; they can shine a spotlight on the issue and rouse public opposition. Councillors can challenge it. Telford and Wrekin Councillors have done just that. The ICO is slightly different in each area, but is all to the same end.

Hospitals, A and E, Maternity care, GP services, prescribing policies, urgent care, Ambulances mental health, children’s mental health, are all at risk.

Across the country local campaigns are working to thwart these plans, a whole social movement is developing. We need ever-growing campaigns, and to win a Labour government who will return the NHS to its original model.

Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital Campaign works with other campaigns across the UK. There are dozens to get involved with, including KNOP, Health Campaigns Together,Defend our NHS https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/ and Socialist Health. Get a speaker to your branch and get outside your hospitals.

Digging in for the future

 Today the Liverpool Women’s Hospital digs the first turf to mark the start of the new, much needed NeoNatal Unit This investment of £15 million is the way  that we want to see Liverpool  Women’s Hospital grow and thrive.

February 2019. Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital is still campaigning for a fully funded Liverpool Women’s Hospital, for the NHS, for all our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and lovers, and for the babies. We campaign with the public and with trade unions, women’s organizations and pensioners to challenge the people with the power to make these decisions. The real decision makers are the Government, their friends in the multinational health care companies, and their local appointees. In reality, an ordinary doctor or nurse has little say., and few approve of what’s happening to the NHS.

Despite underfunding, Liverpool Women’s Hospital, and the NHS work wonders. The day to day caring work of NHS staff continues, under pressure, and meanwhile, these battles are fought out in boardrooms, with big companies and international politics. There are very real dangers ahead for staff and patients.

We want LWH to be upgraded on site with full cooperation with all local and regional hospitals. We want bloods, diagnostics and imaging all upgraded. We want parent accommodation for the neonates. We want the hospital to go on caring for Liverpool people. This campaign offers solidarity to people trying to improve working conditions in the hospital.

We want the money from the government as much as the Board does but not for the same purpose

We have consulted a leading obstetrician and a team of health workers in different professions, about our objections. Some of our activists fought and lost to stop the PFI at the Royal., which was as passionately supported by the Board at the Royal as this ” move” is supported at the Liverpool Women’s hospital. Doctors are not trained in health economics, nor are they infallible. The doctors and managers who supported PFI were very fallible about the Royal

The late Sam Semoff campaigner for the NHS and a fierce opponent of PFI

Tectonic plates are moving in the NHS. Different types of privatization are fighting over the NHS, which continues to be underfunded and the staff overworked.

Good health care is an investment that repays the money paid by the country three times over.

Back to basics

The NHS model was designed to provide all the treatments needed, for all the people, and not for profit.  This model is the  most efficient and the most cost-effective, focusing the maximum money on the patient and the least on profit and admin

The UK can well afford a good health service. Funding to western European levels would easily sort the NHS problems.

Bad health care is expensive and wasteful, to the country as a whole, and bad for the individual and bad for their families.

Women fought for decades to establish a health service, and that campaign started in Liverpool. For 70 years, everyone has benefitted from women who persisted.

The current part-privatized NHS model spends money on financial consultants and private profit, money that should go to treating patients.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital is in the midst of (often-chaotic) change in the NHS.

There has been significantly more privatization since the Health and Social Care Act. This gave parcelled up services to private companies to run under the NHS label. Now the model of privatization is changing. Local commissioning is going. CCGs are merging.  Hospitals are being closed or merging.

The internal market is now challenged as wasteful. The model of Foundation Trusts is being criticized.  Instead, the NHS is being divided into 44 Accountable care services. These services must work within a set budget so rationing is required. The treatment might be needed but it will not necessarily be given, and admin rather than doctors will say yes or no to treatment like an insurance company does. This is being brought in, gradually across the country.

How to boil a frog. If you put a frog in boiling water, it jumps out. If you put it in tepid water and heat the water up the frog does not know it is being boiled, it sits and cooks.  So privatization is done on the sly.

 Capital Spend

The NHS needs money for day to day services, (revenue) and capital spend, money to build new hospitals, NHS capital spending was squandered by the PFI scandals that built flawed hospitals and charged way above the cost of the build, and are still raking it in. Liverpool Royal is just the worst of the scandals. The new Royal will now be completed without a PFI! The money will come from the government directly. PFI( and it’s variations with different initials ) is now disgraced, and not available for the move favoured by the management at LWH. (See pages page 177 to 179 of the pre-consultation business case for their earlier

Huge public health hazards like the toxic diesel particulates that accumulate in the placenta, cannot be ignored. The health campus, with major corporations, on the Royal site, is highly questionable for pregnant women and babies.

Our campaign wants to keep a women’s hospital, on site. We think this site is safer and we think a focus on women’s health is essential.

Help Track the Takeover

UNITEDHEALTH IN THE NHS

This is a shared post from POHG research and campaign group. It gives us information and requests our help. Please help if you have the time to do some google research through documents about your local area.

  • In 2014, America’s largest health insurer UnitedHealth saw their President of global expansion installed as Chief Executive of the NHS in England.
  • UnitedHealth has a track record of being fined for fraud against the US government, but these penalties do not ever seem to improve its conduct. UnitedHealth is currently being sued by the US Government in a case ongoing since 2017.  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/19/business/dealbook/unitedhealth-sued-medicare-overbilling.html
  • UnitedHealth is right now embedding its subsidiary company Optum as an integral part of NHS GP care nationwide, through its financial control systems and IT systems (including the Scriptswitch software).  This insurance company has sold these Trojan Horse systems into the Clinical Commissioning Groups which control our GP services nowadays.

Case study – NHS Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

UnitedHealth subsidiary Optum has been installed in NHS Ealing CCG’s clinical and financial decision making, with tasks that require its access to patients’ confidential medical records.

One of Ealing CCG’s Joint Vice-Chairs has the following Register of Interests entry, which mentions Optum:  https://www.ealingccg.nhs.uk/media/147147/COI-GB-Members-Register-Aug-18-v3.pdf

Referrals

In 2015 NHS Ealing CCG expensively outsourced its referral management service to Optum; this included a transfer of staff to this UnitedHealth subsidiary. https://www.ealingccg.nhs.uk/media/1304/Paper_7_Referral_Facilitation_Service_-RFS-_Procurement.pdf

This “Referral Facilitation Service” (RFS) covers all GP referrals that come under eight speciality areas:

The RFS contract allows for provisional expansion in the future; e.g. extending to prior approval of all GP referrals to acute hospitals.

Optum, as referral gateway operator for NHS Ealing CCG, now decides which patients referred by their GP (primary care) to hospital (secondary care) will be funded out of the NHS CCG’s budget.

In other words, a UnitedHealth subsidiary now determines whether an Ealing GP patient who needs NHS hospital treatment of the above types is allowed to access it.

GP medical records access for UnitedHealth

The “Referral Facilitation Service” contract gives UnitedHealth access to the medical records of all patients registered with Ealing CCG’s GPs whose referrals it handles.

Might this situation explain why Ealing CCG’s Fair Processing Notice does not reference the data processor for referrals?https://www.ealingccg.nhs.uk/media/124323/eccg-fair-processing-notice-v2-0.pdf

How many NHS contracts like this are in place across the country already, positioning UnitedHealth to access commercially valuable patient data that the patients thought they had shared only with their family doctor?

We can all work together to identify and publicise where UnitedHealth and Optum are gaining footholds within our NHS

If you feed back what you find about all this in your area on to this and the Public Health list, and also share your information and the crowdsourcing request with all of your interested contacts, then soon we’ll all have a much clearer picture of this threat, and the specific contracts, locations and public officials involved.

Please use your access to search engines, libraries, experts and any other resources and contacts you can think of, to uncover and document deals that have been struck by UnitedHealth/Optum, and what roles they are in with your own CCG and neighbouring ones in your part of the country.

Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital

“We want the absolute best for our patients all the time.” Liverpool Women’s Hospital doctors said on the BBC program ‘Hospital’ on 25th January 2019

The staff also stressed the importance of the hospital as a safe space for women.

Some of the great work Liverpool Women’s Hospital does was shown on the programme. Oddly the very real problems were presented, not as a consequence of underfunding, cuts and privatization, overworked staff and faults in the NHS structures, but as a consequence of it being a standalone hospital!

Liverpool Women’s hospital operates in a climate of cuts and shortages, like all the NHS in 2019. The basic maternity tariff is inadequate. There are significant cuts, underfunding and staff shortages across the NHS. There is a shortage of doctors, midwives, nurses, and other key staff groups. The bureaucrats seem to grow in number. Financial consultants, not the medical ones, are making loads of money from the NHS. This arises from Government policy, and only from that. Somehow this did not feature in the programme.

We have to fight for a fully funded NHS, stop the cuts, train more doctors and nurses. We want to Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital. Keep the only women’s hospital in the land!

The move to the Royal has not been funded, at least not this year. If it had been approved earlier it would have been a PFI! We oppose this move, we oppose the PFI! A move to the Royal site, especially in its current chaos, would be wrong in many ways.

We want people also to recognize that particulates from diesel damages babies. Most of the rest of the world has got this message. The move to the Royal presents significant problems in putting the babies into a hazardous situation. That is not the only reason we oppose that move.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital should stay where it is and be improved on site. Already £15 million is being spent on upgrading the neonatal provision. Moving the hospital would be a major mistake.

All of the NHS is at risk. In this situation, we need to defend what we have “What we have we hold!” Other experiences of closures have not been good ones. Other experiences of building at the Royal and building using PFI were catastrophic.

This is the only hospital fully devoted to the needs of women, in the whole of the UK. Women’s health needs much more research and more focussed research. Young women and girls are still crippled by period pain, not all contraception is safe, fertility is problematic for many and women, on average, live with ill health for 18 years.

We need research and dedicated treatment to prevent stillbirths and into birth injuries. We need research and dedicated treatment to deal with post-natal injuries to women

We need to stop  low birth weight and illnesses in babies

We need research into  women’s mental health

For all of this, we need the emphasis and focus on women.

Problems with recruiting Cancer specialists

The programme stressed the shortages of consultants and difficulties in recruiting to the  Liverpool Women’s Hospital. A clear future for the Liverpool Women’s will surely help this.

The problem’s with cancer recruitment are not confined to Liverpool Women’s Hospital. This problem must be addressed nationally and locally. Of course, doctors from different hospitals should cooperate, as the surgeon described. Such cooperation is hindered financially and organisationally by the  Foundation Trust system. This system has to go to be replaced by a system that promotes cooperation and cuts undue bureaucracy.


The Women’s Hospital Building

The hospital is a good building, better than many newer ones
Liverpool Women’s Hospital is 23 years old. It is a good hospital building only a few years older than the first of the flawed PFI hospitals built across the country. The site is set back from the road and landscaped to keep traffic away.

Problems with the Royal site

There is a half finished new hospital, a hospital that will need demolishing and a cramped site in heavy traffic. It would be dangerous to have Liverpool babies born in such a situation.
Traffic fumes, and especially particulates, are very dangerous for babies. “Burning fossil fuels is now “the world’s most significant threat to children’s health”. Their life chances are compromised before they are born. Toxic particles from exhaust fumes pass through the lungs of pregnant women and accumulate in the placenta. The risk of premature birth, and low birth weight, this causes, is described in the British Medical Journal as “something approaching a public health catastrophe”. Guardian

The move to the Royal site is part of a larger project, not one that focuses on the needs of our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and lovers nor for the precious babies. The move is part of this planThe Campus can provide 100,000 square metres of space devoted to life sciences. This will provide development space for companies involved in research, pharmaceutical and biomedical industries. The Campus will capitalize on its location with a unique concentration of health, academic and industry life science assets; the famous Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (extensively supported by Bill Gates), the National Zoonoses Centre, Medical School, Dental School, centre for drug safety science, Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine, pharmaceutical and biomedical industry.

The move is also part of the plan to close one of Liverpool’s Hospitals, which is well documented. Liverpool Women’s Hospital should stay where it is and be improved on site. Already £15 million is being spent on upgrading the neonatal provision. Remember Liverpool Women’s Hospital it is less than a mile away from the Liverpool  Royal Hospital site

All of the NHS is at risk. In this situation, we need to defend what we have “What we have we hold!” Other experiences of closures have not been good ones.

This is the only hospital fully devoted to the needs of women, in the whole of the UK. Women’s health needs much more research and more focussed research.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital features on BBC #Hospital

The Liverpool Women’s Hospital is a great hospital where staff, in general, are happy to work. It saves many lives and helps launch thousands more tiny lives each year. In the midst of all the damage being done to the NHS, saving Liverpool Women’s Hospital is crucially important, for all our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends and lovers and for all the babies born there.

Liverpool Women’s Hospital is the subject of a programme #Hospital, which shows some of the outstanding work of the hospital and talks about a major recruitment crisis at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

The Chief Executive of LWH is reported as saying “Alongside the patient stories featured, you will see some of the other challenges we face as an NHS Foundation Trust, including our desire to protect our services for the long-term future by moving to a new Liverpool Women’s Hospital on the campus of the new Royal Liverpool Hospital site.” 

The time money and effort put into the flawed plan to move the hospital less than a mile down the road, has perhaps distracted the board, if we are now to believe that after all recruitment is the problem. This crisis in recruitment has not featured greatly at the board meetings of LWH which our campaigners have attended for the last number of years.

Our campaign sees the move as a serious risk to the service provided by Liverpool Women’s Hospital. The people of the UK and of Liverpool have lost many NHS beds and services, we have had to pay for crazy dangerous projects like Carillion at the Royal PFI, all of which have been “sold” to the public with false gravitas by NHS strategists and politicians. Not many apologies have been forthcoming when they have been proved so very wrong.No apologies for leaving the NHS short of beds, no apologies for the PFI scandal. Why? These projects have made a lot of rich people much richer

The NHS needs more doctors. Britain has fewer doctors per head of population than other advanced countries. There are 2.2 doctors per thousand people.  Cuba has 5.9, per head of population and is significantly less wealthy than the UK.

Doctors themselves need more doctors so they do not have to work ridiculously long hours, and have a better work life balance.

There are now more doctors in training, and if you trust him, Jeremy Hunt claims that more doctors will be trained in future, with new medical schools opening.

There is though a shortage of doctors and many who train either take time out or leave altogether or want to work part-time. Doctors are human and often female. Women need time off to have babies. Men too want paternity leave. Ridiculous working hours and stress make it harder to retain staff.

There is a shortage of doctors at pretty much every stage.

The basic causes of the shortage are

1. The UK has not trained enough doctors and relied on recruiting from abroad. There are many overseas doctors working in the NHS. These medics are most welcome and badly needed.

2. Cuts, privatisation and underfunding are driving significant deterioration of the  work experience for staff

3.Recently, there has been a drop in recruitment from the EU.

There are some recruitment issues specific to the main specialisms, obstetrics, and gynecology, in the Liverpool Women’s hospital. The most commonly mentioned was difficulty in recruiting to rural areas. Being in a rural area is not a problem at Liverpool Women’s Hospital.

There are problems in the mix of different levels of experience required in Obstetrics according to the Royal College of Obstetricians

None of these issues would be changed by the unnecessary move of LWH less than a mile down the road to the New Royal Site, proposed by the Liverpool CCG and the Trust.

To improve recruitment our campaign believes the Trust, the Government and NHS need to do the following

  • Improve staff confidence in the management at the hospital, as shown in annual returns.
  • Return to the ethos of a women’s hospital, appoint more women to senior medical and surgical positions.
  • Nationally recruit more  doctors, train more doctors and retain more doctors
  • Reduce the working week as soon as possible.