Health Campaigns Together conference yesterday

It feels like a long time of campaigning for a publicly provided, publicly funded, publicly accountable National Health Service but others have been fighting for 30, 50 years.
Why campaign? Many reasons including
1. To stop mostly greedy Conservatives but others too wanting to line their pockets by stealing public estate, stealing public services and take profits offshore instead of investing back into the nation’s health. 
2. Health inequalities continue to increase in UK since 2012 when the Conservatives removed the provision of an NHS in legislation – by removing the duty of a secretary of state to provide comprehensive healthcare (so non-national health decision makers decide what services will/will not be provided).
The NHS Reinstatement Bill (which is being continually filibustered by Tories in House of Commons) will bring this duty back. This is not some random idea – I know some of the contributors who have decades of national & international health & legal expertise.
3. People who are sick and can’t afford treatment are not economically active. The NHS is a fiscal multiplier:
4 a) People who are sick and can’t afford treatment spread disease. This results in increasing costs for public health. 
4 b) People who are sick and can’t afford treatment get sicker and ultimately cost more to treat. 
5. Publicly funded and publicly provided ensures cost effectiveness e.g. removal of purchaser /provider split in the market allows for better procurement. Buying out of PFI contracts reduces cost burden allowing for better decision making about reconfiguration.

Not all health reconfiguration is wrong but it needs appropriate clinical and public input, away from non accountable bodies such as NHS England and some CCGS who are trying to land grab whilst playing games with hospitals with PFI debts. 
6. Private healthcare is not accountable to anyone other than shareholders. In a public service, health professionals & decision makers are accountable to the public  (except when Conservatives are in government).
7. Private care drastically reduces quality of services with reduced training for staff, worse working conditions, reduced safety with less staff except for a tiny elite. This is enabled by private companies spending more on contract negotiation then walking away when it can’t be delivered in the agreed contract. These contracts then have to be retendered resulting in huge, unnecessary admin costs.
Notes from yesterday:
hashtag #HCT2017, videos, presentations of sessions from the day will be uploaded later onto healthcampaignstogether website

Opening speakers included chairs of Hammersmith & Ealing Councils – both of whom have rejected the STPs – they were described as fraud by Conservative government. Ealing & Hammersmith cover area / population the size of Leeds – if the A&Es close it would be like Leeds without an A&E.
We cannot forget the previous attempts by NHS England to try and close hospitals and the great support from Leeds politicians of different political parties.

Ken Loach thanked NHS campaigners around the country. He said that he & others come to campaigns for information and advice. He wants campaigners to support Corbyn to reinstate the NHS with NHS employees fairly paid, working for the NHS and an end to privatisation.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of BMA spoke of how the BMA votes every year for the founding principles of the NHS. Says 1 in 3 GP surgeries have permanent unfilled vacancies.

“If CQC wants to give to special measures, it should give to government”


Different objections to PFI from policy makers / politicians – all info in CHPI report

PFI profits leave NHS and not invested back, go to offshore funds in Jersey.

​One campaigner found her pension in 4 PFI funds asset managed in Jersey.

Naylor report not well written – doesn’t allow for sequential testing of NHS estate review. For example if deciding that not for clinical use, consider social benefit, social housing (think of numbers of NHS staff and vulnerable patients in poverty or lack of social care and using foodbanks) on estate. This can save NHS more money e.g with stepdown care rather than private companies trying to house people in the community for greater cost).

There needs to be one public estate strategy which includes NHS and all public sector estate. Familiar territory to councillors and sequential testing provides a possible process. Property law attendees at the conference today compiling a brief.

International campaigns – fantastic stories from a Canadian province – holding public referendums and stopped private clinics / independent treatment centres from being established. They have a coalition with 450 member organisations, health professionals, legislators and many other individuals. Engage with USA physicians for an NHS and Bernie Sanders campaign. Patients are not widgets and neither is care.

North Devon held referendum and did a red line protest against CCG refusal to draw red lines around healthcare. Got mainstream media coverage with campaign going from 50 to 4/5000 and local Tory MPs gave support after that. Also in Chelmsford in area with Tory MP.

Book recommendations

  • Plot Against the NHS – Colin Leys
  • NHS PLC – Allyson Pollock
  • This is going to hurt – Adam Kay
  • NHS for Sale – Myths, Lies and Deception – Jacky Davis, John Lister, David Wrigley
  • NHS SOS – Raymond Tallis
  • Rethinking Corporatization and Public Services in the Global South – David McDonald
  • The New Poverty – Stephen Armstrong

Closing remarks

Thanks from SamFairbairn of Peoples Assembly to every local #NHS campaign for their work in organising largest NHS demo in history earlier this year – planning a bigger one in March 2018. Establishment planning celebrating NHS – yes but because of founding principles so keep and celebrate those !

John Lister – ACO – Accountable Care Organisations are a failure – not accountable, don’t care and not well organised!

Notes changes in consideration about removal of competition in local market – now joining up in larger organisations. Think tanks are thinking!  Reiterates that private sector operates on profit, not ideology. United Health investing $2.2bn in Chile at the moment. When services unprofitable, are abandoned. Only profitable bits are bedfilling at the moment – previously in Germany they had more beds than patients and went to other European countries trying to fill beds. Now interest in Germany in NHS concept. in UK, the public doesn’t want privatisation, wants an NHS.

Unprecedented to have NHS CEOs, NHS Providers speaking out – saying mission impossible.

Don’t let councillors off the hook,force them to stand up for our NHS, to reverse the failures in the privatisation of social care and NHS dentistry. Labour keen to work with Health Campaigns Together – work to reinstate the NHS, end privatisation, reduce health inequality.

From a meeting in Massachussets where many private health companies are based. A speaker said that

the NHS is a light to other countries in the world, brings hope of what can be done


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