Weep for the babies, mums and dads affected by the Shrewsbury Baby Scandal.
Have sympathy too for all the midwives and doctors and neonatal nurses, most of whom tried their best against the odds in tough unwinnable circumstances.
Don’t just mourn. Organise for a better health service. Demand that the Government fund maternity to world-class standards. Recruit and retain more midwives and obstetricians
The apologists for cuts in NHS funding and services have used a thousand sugared words and phrases to disguise the damage done, created dozens of fads and fashions to disguise the damage. The language used in reports by the NHS is opaque and coded. Austerity cuts to the NHS have been fatal. Panorama tonight made that clear about maternity in Shropshire. That said, there were many management faults, and doubtless faults by those on the front line as inevitably there will be. The point is to learn from those mistakes, but that was not done.
Jeremy Hunt MP, Health Secretary at the time, said yes the NHS was underfunded, understaffed but some hospitals managed! What he neglected to say was that it was inevitable some would fail.
The Panorama report on maternity in Shrewsbury Maternity Unit was so very sad. Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital Campaign is for all our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and lovers and for every precious baby. We have been campaigning for maternity safety, for additional funding for maternity and for far more midwives and obstetricians and access for all mothers and babies to safe surroundings and access to emergency care.
We are waiting to see the final Ockendon Report on Shrewsbury.
We also champion our NHS staff. The years of underfunding could only end this way. Hunt was allowed to say without challenge that the service was underfunded and that it caused problems, but he will not take the blame. This tragedy is far far more his fault than of any midwife.
Let’s be clear, both natural/vaginal births C-sections, planned and emergency, must be available. Making a low level of interventions a core success criterion did not work, but that does not justify refusing women natural childbirth. Both need to be available and both need extra staffing.
For a decade maternity has been underfunded, understaffed, treated disrespectfully by the government and some management. Overworked staff, deprived of respect, not listened to by management, will make mistakes, sometimes appalling ones. Some staff like all humans make their own mistakes but the culture of underfunding and bullying plays a huge part. Midwives must not be the fall guys. Join us in our campaign for better maternity services, for women to be heeded and treated as full partners in their care.
A big cheer for the mum who spoke about the damage to her vagina during birth and how she wanted other women to know they are not alone.
We will write more on this in the next few days.
Meanwhile don’t forget to stand up for a fully funded, fully staffed NHS at events across Merseyside this Saturday 26th February The nearest to the Hospital is at the Top of Bold Street by St. Lukes steps at 11.30am.
For all our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and lovers, and for every precious baby.
A major demonstration for the NHS is long over due. Meanwhile the Conservative Government reckon they can get away with anything. Covid has given them a shield from public protest. NHS staff are tired and worn out from the long pandemic and years of cuts and poor pay. Many are angry, or just leaving. But the people value the NHS, we are proud of the NHS. We want to support the staff and the NHS system of universal health care as a public service free at the point of need.
In the run up to Feb 26th we will have stalls, lots of leafletting and petitions and posters put up, and meetings to explain whats happening. Please help. Invite us to speak at a meeting, set up or help with a stall in your area. We can help with leaflets. Put up a poster in your window, post leaflets through doors in your area.
The NHS has been betrayed, underfunded, understaffed and privatised by stealth. Centene has taken over GP surgeries in London and campaigners are challenging it in court.
Stop the forty-two phony ICS systems, all based the US mode, slicing our precious NHS up into bite sized bits for private companies to take over.
Restore mental health care! Mental health care has been allowed to fall into the hands of private companies and care levels have plummeted. “The published figures show that, compared to 2017/18, the amount of planned spending on mental health services within the NHS has gone down by around £34 million in real terms”.
Fund Maternity – respect midwives, protect mothers and babies! Recruit and retain more midwives!
No charges, no rationing of care in the NHS!
Tackle the waiting lists!
Stop funding private hospitals, with no proof they help NHS patients!
Stop the charges for treatments being slid in through the back door. Keep all our services!
Full Mitigation and Public Health to defend us from Covid! This means space in schools, air filtration, smaller classes, space on public transport, sick pay that can feed a family, masks where needed and boosters when necessary!
Stop Migrant charges for healthcare. They are brutal and do not save the NHS any money once costs of collection are counted. many doctors and NHS staff are paying for their hjealth care and that of their children whilst working in the NHS
Stop a major reorganisation when Covid lingers on and staff are tired.
What we do want
Renationalise and fully fund the care system, so we can provide well for everyone who needs care.
Fully fund the NHS
Invest £20 Billion now! Kick out the privatisers!
This government disrespects our very lives! #Look up!
We call for ONE NATIONAL, FREE, UNIVERSAL, COMPREHENSIVE, PUBLIC, HEALTH SERVICE
You can help; Day of Action February 26th!
On February 26th a National Day of Action for the NHS has been called. All the big unions are involved. Many health campaign bodies are involved too.
Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital is one of many organisations raising these issues in Cheshire and Merseyside.
Speaking up for the NHS in Cheshire and Merseyside are:
The state of the NHS has been caused by Conservative governments, following ten years of underfunding, bed closures, insufficient staff being trained, poor pay and conditions, and a poor response from the Government to Covid.
But if we do not object, and object loudly, they will carry on doing even worse.
Conservative MPs need to know they will be held to account, and Labour MPS too if they support privatisation.
Women’s lungs are especially susceptible to particulates from carbon-based fuels and particularly to traffic pollution and in some countries to cooking pollution.
Babies in the womb and in early life are vulnerable to pollution. Children suffer from badly insulated and badly heated homes.
Disasters kill women three times more often than they kill men.
Above all, though our children deserve a future on our planet, in a climate system that can support human life. To do that we must keep fossil fuels in the ground.
The money spent subsidising fossil fuels would be better spent on health, care and education
Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital Campaign
is proud to join and sponsor the campaign for Climate Justice on November 6th. We support the demands for an environment fit to live in, and for a great future for all the babies born in Liverpool Women’s Hospital and those around the world.
Our children and grandchildren could live long lives in comfort and prosperity if the world drops the mass pollution machine that is fossil fuel. The world has to change for the future of our children.
We demand action against the damage done to babies in the womb and to children’s lungs from exposure to airborne pollution from fossil fuels, especially traffic.
Badly insulated homes mean our children get ill especially with respiratory infections. We call on the government to insulate Britain to save our children and the climate
Keep Liverpool Women’s Hospital on the garden site on Crown Street, set back from Traffic. We oppose the waste involved in plans to move it to the Royal Site, with less space and worse traffic.
Stop charging migrant women thousands for maternity care. These charges kill babies.
Devote resources not to polluting industries but to researching women’s health.
We want investment in health care as part of the Green New Deal to ensure clean air, well-insulated homes, good public transport to take cars off the road, larger well-ventilated schools, a national childcare system and well-funded social care, good youth work, support for disabled people.
Good health requires good food and that means sustainable farming for all, without the intensive farming of animals that breeds viruses.
Stop privatisation of the NHS. Stop the Health and Care Bill, invest in good healthcare for all
If we can afford to subsidise some of the richest corporations in the world to produce fossil fuels then we can definitely afford a great health service.
Midwives before fossil fuel subsidies!!
We demand major investment in health care for all and especially for women who are affected physically and mentally by pollution and stress.
We demand investment in mental health and know that a good environment helps prevent and helps heal mental illnesses
We demand the resources in staff and funding to give all women full attention during labour and good ante and postnatal care
Write to your MP and councillors. It does not matter what party. They all need to hear from their constituents. If you can, go to their surgery/ office. Make an appointment.
Write to a friend or family member who has a Conservative MP asking them to contact their MP. Conservative MPS are particularly crucial. Many do not understand what goes on the NHS and those in newly won seats are anxious about it
Put a poster up in your window. We will soon have car stickers. Email us with your address and we will send them to you
If you are in a trade union, write to them asking them to raise their game in the campaign against the Health and Care Bill. We can send you a draft letter.
The last leg of our tour of Tory constituencies in Lancashire ended this week with a trip to the Morecambe and Lunesdale seat of David Morris MP and then a visit to the Wyre & Preston North seat of Ben Wallace MP.
This has been a collective campaign by Unite Community Lancashire branch, along with Chorley and South Ribble Hospital campaign, and members variously from Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital campaign, SHA Liverpool City Region, Keep our NHS Public Merseyside, Defend Our NHS Wirral and Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC), and members from various Constituency Labour Parties and from Trades councils in Lancashire.
The plan was to contact the 11 Conservative MPs in Lancashire who all voted the Health & Care Bill through on its second reading. The aim was to urge them to vote against the Bill and to oppose the Integrated Care Systems into which the NHS has been remodelled. We wanted to deliver to each of them a lovingly hand embroidered handkerchief with the message
“Don’t Blow It! Kill the Health & Care Bill Before It Kills Us”
Thanks to the CK999 and 999CallForTheNHS campaigns for the brilliantly creative #DontBlowIt campaign and to all the volunteers around the country who have been hand embroidering handkerchiefs.
In some constituencies, we held stalls near the MP’s office to speak to local voters. It was heartening to see the extent of awareness in the public of the dismantling of the NHS, they knew they were being denied care, they knew it has been made so difficult to get appointments, referrals, tests, scans and that they or their friends and family are suffering as a result. Those who worked in the NHS knew they were being taken for granted, underpaid, exhausted, expected to do more for less, their lives being put at risk throughout the pandemic. They understood that remodelling the NHS on the American system is a terrifying prospect for us all.
Why would any government think it was a good idea to push through the complete remodelling of the NHS and fast track legislation to legitimise what they have already done during a global pandemic which has killed hundreds of thousands in the UK and millions across the planet?
No one admires the US system so why would a 21st Century country import that profit-driven system in place of Bevan’s National Health Service? That US system which incentivises cuts, which is a bare minimum “service”, which is bureaucratic, inefficient and yet massively more expensive to run, and which encourages denial of care and consequently has pain suffering and death built-in.
The public were angry, and they couldn’t sign our petition quick enough. We often had queues of socially distanced people waiting for their opportunity to sign the petition.
The sun shone again yesterday. Unfortunately, no one at the office of David Morris was prepared to speak to us or meet us. They didn’t answer their phone. We were told by another occupant of the building that whoever was in his office wouldn’t come down. He wasn’t listed on the board of occupants so we couldn’t contact his office by the entrance intercom. So, we had to post his embroidered handkerchief in his letterbox.
Ben Wallace’s office in Great Eccleston was deserted. (Just like the offices of Jake Berry, Nigel Evans,Christian Wakeford). No answer at the door. No lights on. No intercom even. Again, how do people contact him? If you can’t even catch him in his constituency during the very long summer parliamentary recess, when MPs are supposed to be back in their constituencies, it must be impossible when Parliament is sitting. But never mind we will go back another time to see them again.
Again, we had to post his embroidered handkerchief through his letterbox.
Mark Menzies – no way of contacting him in the constituency, no office, no answer on phone.
Paul Maynard– no answer on phone, address apparently on an industrial estate.
David Morris, James Daly – although apparently there was someone in the office, no one would deign to come to the door to take receipt of the handkerchiefs
What can we say about Sara Britcliffe MP for Hyndburn? Well, Sara’s staff could see and hear me at their door but refused initially to answer the intercom. Eventually, veteran County Councillor and Lancashire County Council vice-chair, father of the MP, came to the door and accepted the handkerchief, leaflets and letter addressed to his MP daughter. Sadly, shortly afterwards, the MP who was not present to witness what happened, wrote a misleading post on Facebook making false accusations against us, alleging that we surrounded her staff and intimidated them. Must be those Harry Potter books again and the Hogwarts’s school of magical thinking if I alone could “surround” one man and intimidate him? Quite a magical power! 🦄🧙♀️🎩 This false account was picked up and repeated by Lancs Live with no attempt to verify what happened.
It was then picked up by the Lancashire Telegraph, again with no attempt to ask what my version of events was other than to ask for permission to use our photos, which I didn’t see until after they already used them. The Lancashire Telegraph piece was quite comical, it made fun of the MPs accusations using the tag #HankyIntimidation and for some reason they did seek a quote from Cllr Peter Britcliffe who was forced to admit he was not intimidated by me, being as he is such an experienced long-term Councillor. He would have looked silly trying to claim he was surrounded and intimidated by one woman wielding a scary hand-embroidered handkerchief!
We must thank Sara Britcliffe MP and her daddy, County Councillor Peter Britcliffe for increasing the publicity our visit got. 👏 It’s a pity the local media/press didn’t want to report more often and in-depth about NHS privatisation and about our tour of Lancashire. Perhaps they will use this blog to do so? 🤔
I don’t know how constituents get hold of some of these Tory MPs. It’s nigh on impossible. Presumably, you must write to them. We did find a post-box for David Morris which is more than can be said for Fylde MP Mark Menzies who didn’t appear to have an office in the constituency at all. His constituents must have to write to him at Parliament.
We found an address for Paul Maynard MP, Blackpool North & Cleveleys, on another industrial estate but it was Friday 13th and we had had enough of wild goose chases searching for the non-existent offices of Mark Menzies so when we didn’t get an answer by phone we decided to stop wasting our time and petrol!
So, 13 MPs later, unlucky for some? unlucky for all of us if they wave through this Bill!
If you are a constituent of any of these MPs please go to one of their surgeries ( if you can get hold of them and if they hold surgeries) or write to them, tell them you object to the remodelling of the NHS, don’t be fobbed off by platitudes that they “love the NHS” or the “NHS is safe and will never be privatised”. All governments of all colours have said that while continuing the long slow privatisation by stealth. This bill is the final nail in the NHS coffin, and it must be opposed outright. It can’t be tinkered with and improved by amendments, the whole premise of the Bill is dangerous and destroys the NHS denationalising it, breaking it down into 42 separate businesses with capped budgets, with private profiteers able to sit on the boards and committees making decisions about what services will be offered, to whom and which providers will get the lucrative contracts. It is about denying care.
We can afford a high quality, universal, comprehensive publicly provided and run National Health Service available free to all according to medical need. This model is far cheaper than the US model both for patients and the Government finances
We, the public, cannot afford to allow the government to reduce our NHS any further, it’s already a shrunken postcode lottery provided by a hotchpotch of providers.
The disastrous remodelling of the NHS had no political, legal or democratic mandate, no one proposed it at an election, no one had the chance to vote for or against it, but they did it anyway. The top bureaucracy of the NHS, closely advised by the big healthcare corporations, created Integrated Care Systems quangos which had no legal authority, but which have gone round dictating and calling the shots around Lancashire and South Cumbria (and across the whole of England).
Sadly, many MPs, CCGs, GPs, Hospital trusts, Councillors and local authorities have meekly gone along with their diktat putting up no resistance.
Where is the evidence that the local organisations scrutinised these plans, or did they wave them through?
Where is the regard for the health and wellbeing of the population? The rhetoric was about Integrated health and care being better, fluffy & cosy leading to prevention of ill health, reduction of inequality and better services! Sounds lovely. But it was all magical thinking!
Social care is indisputably a mess. Council funding has been cut to the bone, the providers of services are now largely private companies running expensive disconnected businesses paid for from people’s own pockets or from the cash strapped councils. Poor Pay and conditions have led to a terrible turnover in staff. How has it been integrated into NHS provision?
We want a nationally-funded universal care system run by public service, free at the point of need. Not a privatised fragmented service that leeches off the NHS and local authority budgets
The Health and Care Bill says nothing about social care, it does not oblige any organisation to provide Hospital care for us. It involves the denial of medical care in return for a bigger share of the savings/profits for providers, it requires staff to do more for less, work beyond their competencies & be “flexible” meaning they can be forced to work anywhere in the footprint of Lancashire and South Cumbria or beyond and forced to work for any provider including private profiteers
WORSE STILL they plan to make £340,000,000 of cuts to services in Lancashire and South Cumbria alone and on top of all this, the measly 1% pay offer (effectively a pay cut as its well below the inflation figure of 4%) has to be funded out of existing inadequate budgets.
So, I would really like for one of these MPs to explain how that can work? How do you magically conjure up better services, better health & care for the nation while continuing to undermine the NHS, continuing to pay poverty wages & cutting staff income, continuing with staff shortages, cutting budgets, making “savings”, allowing profiteers to take out huge profits from the ICS capped budget etc?
What kind of magical thinking or delusion is this? Have they all been reading Harry Potter books, looking for unicorns and phoenixes or invisibility spells? It’s an impossibility. It’s fiction.
We had an efficient, integrated health system, it was called the NHS. We need it to be renationalised, reinstated and properly resourced for all our sakes and for future generations.
For a straightforward explanation of the Bill please see this and for more detail this
Tell your MP, wherever you live in England, whichever party they represent, that you want them to oppose NHS reorganisation into Integrated Care Systems (or whatever new name they give them to pretend their plan has changed) and you want them to vote against the Health and Care Bill during the Committee stages, the House of Lords stages and when it returns to the House of Commons in late autumn.
You can help save the NHS from the Health and Care Bill now in Parliament.
This bill is a threat to the NHS in total.
Breaking the National Health Service into around 42 geographical systems with reduced responsibilities to provide healthcare
The American managed (or accountable) care model, designed to create a two-tier system, a bare bones service for those who are too poor or ill to get private healthcare/insurance.
Private companies getting a seat on the Integrated Care System boards. Companies could get huge contracts without competition
We can expect rationed treatment, so more people will have to pay
More private companies involved through the Health System Support Framework.
Threats to staff professional regulations
Local Authorities having less say but being bound by the Integrated Care Board decisions on annual budgets
Local Authorities having less say on closures
Using Apps, overriding clinicians’ skills and knowledge by making them follow actuarial algorithms
Discharge to Assess – discharge from hospital without care packages in place
Neglect of maternity
Who says NO to the bill?
Keep our NHS Public, Defend our NHS, Socialist Health Association, Open Democracy. Every Doctor, National Pensioners Convention. Public Matters. Socialist Health Association, 999 Call for the NHS. Health Campaigns Together. We Own It. British Medical Association, Labour Party Conference Policy. All the local health campaigns working together in Cheshire and Merseyside including the local trades councils
What you can do: Add your name to the opposition. Help tell your electors of this risk. Vote for your council to cease cooperation with the so called Integrated Care System. The only integration is with the private sector, Care is till privately owned, under funded, unstable, means tested and far from comprehensive and it is privately owned( and very profitble. We want a service not a sytem
Call a meeting in your area.
The NHS has already been badly damaged by the Government:
Poor funding for a decade
Shortage of staff
Poorly paid staff
Bringing in private companies
PFI (Just look at the “new” Royal)
The chaos of privatised and means tested Social Care.
ICS system introduced without legal sanction
Years of cuts in beds
Mental health service in ruins
Children’s mental health services damaged
Dental care not available for many
Maternity services needing urgent investment and better staffing
The pandemic deaths
Children getting illnesses of poverty
Millions wasted on propaganda by the big corporations involved in the NHS
GP surgeries taken over by private companies
Propaganda hiding the truth of cuts
A fully funded, fully staffed NHS
Publicly owned, publicly delivered
Free at the point of need
A national service across the whole country.
Good pay for staff
Health care for all and end to migrant charges and the migrant surcharge
Fully funded maternity services and healthcare for women
Mental health care given greater priority
No more hospital closures
Good healthcare for children
Fully funded public health services
Health care makes a country richer and happier, not poorer. It is an investment which returns financial as well as health benefits to the country, communities, families and communities.
Public service is more efficient than private sector health care in every country.
A national care and independent living service, for our elders for disabled people, and all who need support. It should be fully funded free at the point of need but distinct from the NHS. End the privatised free for all in social care
The NHS was built by cate backgroundtend will be defended by a mass movement.
Why should a Labour Council cooperate with ending the NHS? The damage will be blamed on local councils. Voters will blame you along with the Conservatives
A public campaign to stop this bill can win to show how the government and their cronies in the private companies are risking our health
The football fans made the government change their mind, so can we
Greg Dropkin, a retired NHS administration worker and long term warrior and researcher for the NHS campaigns spoke at our zoom meeting about the impact of the proposed legisaltion as foreshadowed in the NHS White Paper. These are his notes
Every trade unionist should be interested
“I will be talking about the implications for staff, which should ring alarm bells for all unions organising in the NHS. But let’s start with the Health Systems Support Framework, an NHS England scheme to accredit companies to support the development of Integrated Care Systems.
The HSSF already involves 200 companies including 30 US firms involved in the health market, providing health insurance or supplying services to insurers. IBM, Optum – owned by UnitedHealth, Cerner, Centene, Palantir. The Bill is expected to allow them onto ICS Boards and Committees, with pivotal roles in setting up digital and data systems. Already in Bristol, Virgin is on the ICS Board. It is accredited for 6 topics under the Framework:
1) Shared or Integrated Care Records (Implementation Support); 2) Development of Service Change and reconfiguration proposals; 3) Transformation project and programme management (expertise and capacity); 4) Organisational redesign, governance, payment and contract reform; 5) Workforce and leadership development; 6) Patient pathway optimisation and care model design
This isn’t about Virgin getting a contract to run a service designed by the NHS, it’s Virgin and other transnationals lined up to tell the NHS how it should redesign and govern itself with new payment systems and contract models, and develop the workforce to deliver new models of care.
The Bill will be based on a White Paper which adopted proposals from NHS England.
I’ll talk about 3 issues for staff: national agreements, flexible working, and deregulation.
Currently, NHS staff are covered by national agreements on wages, terms and conditions. The agreement covering all healthcare staff apart from doctors and dentists, is called Agenda for Change.
Neither the White Paper, nor the Consultation which NHS England ran over Xmas, nor the Workforce Strategy for Cheshire & Merseyside, mentions Agenda for Change or wages, terms and conditions. If you search for “pay” in the Workforce Strategy, the only thing that comes up is: “…we must improve the experience of our people. At every level we need to pay much greater attention to why many of them leave the NHS” (!)
Breaking up the NHS into 42 separate ICSs each with their own budget, threatens the national agreements, because each ICS will be trying to cut the costs in their own area, and staffing is the biggest item because healthcare is still labour intensive, although of course they want to change that.
Back in 2012, employers in the South West tried to break from Agenda for Change. It was known as the South West Pay Cartel, and all the unions including the RCN fought it off. Here’s what NHS South of England said at the time:
“We are aware that some employers are considering working more collaboratively in order to ensure that their pay frameworks represent best value for money… the Strategic Health Authority continues to work with employers and trades unions in applying national terms and conditions where employers do not have the freedom to develop their own.”
Now the ICS will give employers that freedom. Before Xmas, an NHS England consultation on reform of the payment system stated:
The blended payment model would involve: •a fixed payment based on the costs of delivering a level of activity conforming to the ICS system plan •The fixed payment would be based on consideration of costs, rather than prices. •The value of the fixed payment would be determined locally. •Fixed payments would be expected to include funding for new ways of delivering services – for example where there are service design changes
Now a locally determined fixed payment based on consideration of costs means that there is no guarantee that staff costs will be tied to a national agreement on wages, terms and conditions.
The latest guidance from NHS England, issued this month, includes a commitment to protect terms and conditions for CCG staff being directly transferred into the ICS body, but says nothing about the other 1 million NHS employees.
The latest NHS England guidance, like the earlier consultation, highlights flexible working.
To support local and national people priorities for the one workforce in the system,
the ICS NHS body should work with organisations across the ICS to:
Develop new ways of working and delivering care that optimise staff skills, technology and wider innovation to meet population health needs and to create flexible and rewarding career pathways for those working in the system. This should be enabled by inclusive employment models, workforce sharing arrangements and passporting or accreditation systems.
This will allow continual redeployment as and when deemed necessary.
It will interfere with union organisation, demoralise staff, reduce continuity of care, undermine local knowledge and team working, and require more travelling, which is bad for the environment as well as staff.
Also, inclusive employment could allow redeployment into private sector partners.
Later on in the document, NHS England say NHS bodies are expected to
“adopting a simplified cloud-first infrastructure that provides agility and frictionless cross-site working experience for the workforce.”
This poorly written phrase suggests that as long as the computer system is set up for it, all other problems with continual redeployment are irrelevant.
A) Non-nurses in nursing roles.
On 9 June, the Guardian reported the RCN warning that NHS trusts are recruiting people without the right qualifications to act as registered nurses, despite the risk to patients. One trust advertised for a matron – a managerial role usually filled by a senior nurse – to work in acute medicine but said that a qualification in nursing was not necessary. Another trust sought to recruit a matron who would be responsible for older people’s mental health and learning disability services, but did not specify that the successful applicant had to be registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which regulates both professions. Another advert for a nursing role stressed that the recruit could be a staff nurse, nursing associate – a new role being expanded to help plug the shortfall of registered nurses – or healthcare assistant.
B) The White Paper would give power to the Secretary of State to remove individual professions from regulation in future. “over time and with changing technology the risk profile of a given profession may change and while regulation may be necessary now to protect the public, this may not be the case in the future.” But technology means taking decisions by algorithms and apps instead of clinical judgement. If the healthworker lacks skills, training and experience, they won’t even be able to tell their manager they think the computer is wrong, either because of a glitch or a badly written programme. This is a risk to patients and also threatens professional development.
C) The Bill will remove the NHS from the scope of the Public Contract Regulations 2015. This is being promoted as an end to privatisation, but it actually means an unregulated market, without the protections in the PCR 2015 under which “contracting authorities may consider incorporating social, ethical and environmental aspects into specifications, contract conditions and award criteria. In addition specific rules have been included for handling abnormally low tenders, and on the exclusion of suppliers who have violated certain social, labour and environmental laws.” Those protections will vanish.
Over the last year, Government spent £37 billion on a Corporate Test & Trace which failed – even as the Delta variant emerged, when case numbers were low and the timing was ideal for it to work. The government threw billions more at private sector crony contracts, like those in the latest revelation from the Good Law project:
*Uniserve Limited* is a logistics firm controlled by Iain Liddell
Prior to the pandemic the firm had no experience in supplying PPE, yet the firm landed a staggering £300m+ in PPE contracts from the DHSC and an eye watering £572m
(This video starts with some noise distortion but settles quickly)
We have an excellent healthcare system in the NHS. Its battered and bruised but still worth its weight in gold.Our campaign is for a fully funded public service providing all the treatments and to everyone The NHS is not only in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of delivering millions of vaccines and in the midst of major staff shortages, it is also facing a fundamental political reorganisation by this government. This reorganisation is spelled out in the NHS Whitepaper, a reorganisation which will ration services, ramp up profit for private companies. and pay the corporations to cut our services. It has significant implications too for NHS staff. The NHS is being split into 42 very different areas Ours is Merseyside and Cheshire.
As ordinary people we have to do our best to spread the word of what is happenning and give people the chance both to be informed and to take action. We were delighted to be joined in a zoom meeting by two local MPS. Margaret Greenwood MP and Ian Byrne, and by John McDonnell MP
Our June 22nd 2021 meeting started with an introduction to our local campaign. Our campaign is for a fully funded public national health service providing all the treatments for everyone. Nothing less.
Report to public meeting from Cheshire & Merseyside Campaign 22 June 2021
To date, we have written to hundreds of council candidates in Wirral and in West Lancashire before the local elections in May asking if they were prepared to oppose Integrated Care Systems.
In the last 3 weeks, we have written to every councillor in the footprint of the Cheshire & Merseyside ICS, that’s 9 councils comprising 579 councillors from all parties. The headline under which we have written to them is “Not on Your Watch”. We sent them detailed briefings explaining ICS and the implications of the white paper. We have offered to provide more information, to speak at council meetings or party groupings and to work with any council or councillor and any party willing to engage with us. We have had some replies but not many considering the number of emails sent. The replies we did receive range from automated replies, to replies saying that they are not responsible and directing us to some other councillor, to saying they are planning a meeting to discuss the meaning of ICS, to saying they do not understand, to disclaiming responsibility for waving through this remodelling and claiming they are trying to mitigate the effects, to some who are supporting our campaign and want more information.
In particular the green party group in Wirral council are interested in learning from us and have invited us to meet with them.
Cheshire West had invited Felicity, on behalf of the local trades council, to speak but have now postponed that meeting until the Bill is published when they will have very little time to oppose it if the rumours are true that it will be rushed to a second reading by the end of July.
The ICS restructuring is made to sound complicated, using misleading vocabulary, ignoring traditional boundaries and local historical arrangements. The chief officer of the Lancs & Sth Cumbria ICS was one of those in Davos with Simon Stevens when McKinsey drew up their plans for the NHS. L&SC was one of the early vanguard ICS and so has been grappling with the restructuring and new ways of thinking for some years. In January 2020, Amanda Doyle also took over as chief officer at West Lancashire CCG (she was already chief officer of two other CCGs) and the tension in the room was palpable. Previously CCG meetings had been fairly relaxed affairs, the former chief officer sat off to the side, was mostly quiet throughout and was softly spoken when he did contribute. However, under the new regime it was clear the boss had entered the room, she sat centre stage and took control. She does the same at ICS level and often reminds committee members that they are straying into the old ways of thinking and they need to forget boundaries and CCGs borders. They talk about getting the “right people around the table” especially from local authorities because they have “difficult decisions to make” – one difficult decision is how to make £300m of cuts across the ICS, £ 200m of it in one year was their original aim. They have spent a fortune on bringing in consultancy firms to re-educate NHS staff and others to think in the ICS way and to persuade the public to change our way of thinking about what the NHS is for and what we should expect from it, e.g., our GP-patient relationships are being broken down. They talk about “winning hearts and minds” and admitted in one meeting that they are “not quite there yet” in persuading clinicians. So, it is no surprise that councillors and the public find the concept difficult to understand. We have access to speakers from our collective campaign and also from other organisations and we will return as many times as necessary to speak to groups until they have grasped the ICS model and its implications. We really want to keep the dialogue open.
Some councillors have claimed they are mitigating the worst excesses of the bill and claim to have reached an agreement in C&M whereby each of the 9 councils will have one councillor on the ICS board. However, the recent government guidance is that there will be one councillor from the ICS footprint and that councillor will not represent their local government sector. Who or how will the 9 councils decide which councillor is the chosen one or is it the ICS chief who can bestow such gifts?
We are not looking for mitigation or amelioration, to quote our very own Dr Alex Scott-Samuel that is just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. What we are calling for from councillors is wholehearted, loud, and vocal, public opposition to ICSs particularly labour councillors just like the uproar we heard from football fans in the 48 hours it took them to turn around the involvement of US corporations and the European Super league. If we do not want US global giants like United Health and Centene running our football, we certainly do not want them running our NHS.
We will be following up our letters to councillors reminding them that this wholesale destruction of the NHS is happening on their watch, and it will go down in the history books as the biggest theft perpetrated against an entire population.
Another campaign action over the last 3 weeks was the distribution of 5000 leaflets to NHS staff at their shift changeover mainly at 7am. Our campaigners were outside The Royal, Aintree, Liverpool Women’s, Arrowe Park, Alder Hey, Southport and also at a picket with striking Biomedical Scientists at Burnley General Hospital. Greg will speak more about the industrial action in Burnley. We handed out the KONP leaflet aimed at NHS staff, and it was very well received by them. We could see them reading it before their shifts, as they came off shift and during their breaks. For the last month, campaigners have been holding stalls in West Kirby, Wallasey, Ellesmere Port, Crewe and Chester with a good reception and causing merriment by handing out leaflets via fishing nets to ensure social distancing! These stalls will continue, and we are planning stalls across Sefton, Knowsley, South Liverpool and also in Blackburn over the next few weeks. Please get in touch if you can do a stall in your location, the idea is to have them all over the footprint and beyond. We can supply you with leaflets and posters or alternatively let us know if you want to join us on a stall. Everyone is most welcome. Bring your fishing net! For over a year we have been producing our own artwork for posters, having them printed and laminated and putting them up in prominent locations around the C&M footprint but mainly across Merseyside. For example posters were put on railings in Sefton Park, Otterspool Prom, County Road, Walton Vale, Ellesmere Port and many more places like parks, shopping areas,and in shop and café windows. Members have also encouraged the public to take the posters home and to put them in a window. We have electronic posters in distinctive vivid blue and yellow which we use for social media posts and for banners to create a recognisable colour scheme and message. Our posters are being used by other campaign groups. Let us know if you would like a poster for your window.
Other work we have undertaken is to speak at as many meetings as we can with organisations, campaign groups, political party meetings, union branches, Trades councils, Area Activists meetings, North West health committees and privately with a wide range of union officials and MPs and supporters. This is getting the message out, building the body of people who understand what the whitepaper threatens and who can in turn speak to colleagues at work and at home to spread awareness, and aids us in getting the ICS motion passed and pushed through the layers of parties and unions. Our aim is to bring people on board with our campaign and it has spurred some on to start their own campaigns. We have learned lots of new skills, made new friends and built up relationships and it has to be said we have also ruffled a few feathers which is exactly the aim of our campaign. We need people to feel uncomfortable about what they are waving through. Zoom has enabled us to reach audiences we may never have reached before. We want all unions and all sectors talking about this attack on the NHS not just health unions and health branches. These plans put patients at risk, risk jobs and leave staff at risk particularly when being expected to work beyond their competencies. We all need the NHS and we need properly trained and properly paid NHS staff.
Our efforts are gaining momentum and as we speak to each group, they are horrified to learn what has happened to the NHS and the way it has been restructured without any political mandate nor any statutory authority to do so. Our campaigners also attend CCG, ICS, Trust Board meetings, council O&S and Health and Wellbeing meetings. We raise Freedom of Information requests and hold them to account where we can.
We are building a movement – anyone who can help with any of these actions, who can write letters, use social media, write articles, use technology etc is urged to get in touch. We need any skills you can bring to the campaign.
Our campaigning against the NHS restructuring did not just start this year, it has been going for years including resisting the closure of the Liverpool Women’s Hospital as part of the ICS restructuring which is an ongoing battle. Two years ago, we mounted a mass campaign over the course of 2 weeks against the MyChoice NHS price list at Warrington Hospital Trust, giving out 5000 leaflets, getting signatures on petitions, lobbying MPs, getting articles in the Daily Mirror and The Echo and forcing Simon Stevens to have to speak about it in a House of Commons committee meeting. We got that pricelist paused but it is part of the restructuring of the NHS so it will come back on the agenda and indeed it was forced through in other parts of the country. But the point is, we CAN do this if we build enough pressure from the ground up so that those in positions of power cannot ignore us. They have to take notice. Just like people did in the poll tax campaign. It just needs us all to do our bit however small.
If you have children under 13, you need to fill in this form [PDF] and e-mail or post it back to NHS Digital – this form works for both you and your children.
If you have an adult dependant for whom you have legal responsibility, you must use this form [PDF] and send it back to NHS Digital on their behalf.
There is no deadline for step 2, the National Data Opt-out (i.e. your non-GP data), but the sooner you do it, the sooner it takes effect. The National Data Opt-out will not stop your GP data being extracted by the new GP data collection.
N.B. If you opted out of care.data in 2014, then you shouldn’t need to do anything now. As most people did both a ‘Type 1’ opt-out and what is now a National Data Opt-out, you can check your NHS Digital opt-out status online at NHS Digital. Your GP opt-out status will probably match the opt-out status shown there; although if you’re not sure, giving a a ‘Type 1’ form to your GP Practice now doesn’t have any risk.
If you don’t have access to a working printer, you can ask the NHS Digital Contact Centre to post you the forms you need. Their phone number is 0300 303 5678 and they are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm (excluding bank holidays).
Or, if you prefer, you can e-mail printer@medConfidential.org with your postal address and we will post you copies of the paper forms, for free, no questions asked. If you don’t have e-mail, you can text your address to us on 07980 210 746. If you can afford to make a small donation to support us in offering this service to others, we have a donation page. We will, of course, only use your details to send you the forms you want and will delete them as soon as we have done that. (medConfidential is registered with the ICO to process personal data in this way.)
As new information or actions that you can take become available, we inform people via our mailing list: Join our mailing list We will not share your details with anyone else.
GP data: As your ‘front door’ to the NHS, your GP holds the lifetime history of your GP care; all of your prescriptions, your diagnoses, your ailments, your tests and referrals – and the context for them all as well. You have the choice whether information from your GP record is copied outside of your GP practice for purposes other than your direct medical care. (This choice was created in 2010, and is between you and your GP only.) Your GP treats you; other parts of the NHS tend to treat ‘a condition’.
Other data: The National Data Opt-out is intended to cover your data being copied from all other care providers, and NHS Digital, for purposes beyond your direct care. This choice will in time cover all hospitals, etc. but can at present only be set via NHS Digital, the option to do so via your GP having been withdrawn in 2018. (N.B. The National Data Opt-out does also cover your data leaving bodies such as Public Health England, which used to run the database of every patient who has ever had cancer, as well as other databases.)
Opting out: While in 2014 you could opt out of secondary uses (i.e. non-care uses) of your NHS data with a single form, now you must use at least two different processes – three, if you have children or dependents.
Re-use of your records beyond your direct medical care: Choices not available to you
Exercising the opt-out choices linked above will protect you from some risks – certainly more risks than if you do not express those choices. Both opt-outs do precisely what the Department of Health claims they do, but they do not protect you as they could.
These choices do not, for example, currently:
Prevent the sale of your hospital history to companies;
Prevent the non-clinical body NHS England insisting that you opt out all over again if it decides to create a new project…
As of 2021, some NHS bodies’ actions are still not compliant with the 2018 Data Protection Act, which implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) into UK law. And several of the important safeguards promised in 2014 are still entirely missing:
The commercial re-use loophole remains open;
No ‘single-strike’ penalties are in place;
No significant contractual sanctions have been applied, despite serious breaches;
No Regulations have been laid to guide the Confidentiality Advisory Group;
NHS Digital is still releasing huge volumes of linked, individual-level patient histories rather than using safe settings;
The best way to have confidence in how your wishes will be respected, and in how your data will be used next month, is to see how your data was used last month. This, for all the reasons we list above, remains impossible.
For all our sisters,mothers, daughters and babies.