The plans may still be fantasy: but NHS cuts are starting to get real
Theresa May's government is stepping up George Osborne's programme of relentless real-terms reductions to NHS spending, to reverse Labour's decade of expansion. And NHS chiefs are raising the pressure on hospital trusts, GPs and Clinical Commissioning Groups, demanding concrete plans for cuts to tackle monster deficits ...
Read the full item, and other breaking news
Out Now! HCT Newspaper no. 3
This THIRD issue of the newspaper Health Campaigns Together
is officially published today, free to download online
, but also available as an 8-page full colour tabloid
which can be purchased online to share with local campaigners and political and trade union activists.
Order copies online HERE
This third issue features even more local authors, a centrespread on Sustainability & Transformation Plans
(STPs) which are the new instrument to force through "efficiency savings", cuts and closures – plus articles on how people are fighting back, issues after the Brexit vote, the NHS Reinstatement Bill – and the fight to defend NHS bursaries.
Health Campaigns Together is organising a national conference on STPs
, in Birmingham
on September 17
. More details in the newspaper. LHE is actively supporting this, and all of the work of Health Campaigns Together.
Watch this space for updates.
National Conference -
Challenging the STPs
Birmingham, Saturday September 17
11-4pm Carrs Lane Conference Centre
BIRMINGHAM B4 7SX
(opposite Moor St Station)
Book online now
Since January NHS England has driven through a massive new reorganisation of the NHS. They have carved the country into 44 "footprints" in which commissioners, NHS Trusts and local authorities are required to collaborate on 5-year plans to generate massive savings.
On one level this could be seen as a step forward from the chaos and fragmentation of the competitive market imposed by the 2012 Health & Social Care Act: however the ever-tightening vice of the unprecedented spending squeeze on the NHS makes it unlikely that the collaboration will result in any enhancement of services.
Each Footprint has to submit a "Sustainability and Transformation Plan" (STP) to NHS England by the autumn and be ready to implement the changes quickly to balance the books: only plans which satisfy NHS England will ensure access to £1.8 billion of "transformation funding".
NHS England boss Simon Stevens has made clear he sees the reorganisation as a way to create "combined authorities" which pool their powers - making it possible to override any local "veto" that might prevent controversial cuts or closure of popular local hospitals and services. The little local influence and accountably there is in the NHS will be eliminated. The new system leaves no room for serious consultation before 5-year plans are drawn up behind closed doors and imposed on local communities.
The new system also lacks any legal basis. Stevens' plan simply sidelines the Clinical Commissioning Groups - but leaves them still obliged by the Health & Social Care Act to continue to carve up services into bite sized, fragmented chunks. Services are still being opened up to "any qualified provider" or put out to competitive tender. The whole fragmented, wasteful costly market system remains intact.
So what are the plans that local health bosses are hatching up in secret? How do these new structures work? Who is in charge, and how can campaigners and local communities make them accountable and prevent them cutting and centralising services and worsening access problems for patients needing care? With jobs and services at stake, how can unions collaborate with local campaigners and political parties to maximise the impact of their efforts?
Come and discuss at a conference that seeks to develop policy as a basis to strengthen and unite our efforts.
Open to all. LUNCH provided.
Registration £7.50/£5 in advance, £10/£7 on the door.
Share your thoughts and local plans:
email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
NHS for Sale
by Jacky Davis, John Lister and David Wrigley
Myths, Lies and Deception
In 2010 David Cameron's coalition government discarded pre-election promises about the NHS. Instead they imposed savage spending cuts and pushed through 'reforms' which put at risk the health and lives of all of us. As a result the NHS is now in crisis.
NHS for Sale challenges their myths and lies:
- The NHS is efficient and affordable and didn't need radical reform.
- The private sector is not cheaper or more efficient than the public sector.
- The government is privatising the NHS.
- The NHS market is wasting billions of pounds while harming the service.
- The coalition's Health and Social Care Act:
Has not put GPs in the driving seat
Has reduced patient choice
Has reduced community control over healthcare priorities
Has increased bureacracy and waste
"NHS for Sale: Myths, Lies and Deception is a brilliant account of the shocking story of the Health and Social Care Act: how its true purpose was concealed from the electorate (with the assistance of the media asleep on the job), how it was sold to Parliament, and its appalling consequences ..." Reviewed in The Lancet
Further details here
Available at a special price directly from Keep Our NHS Public
The People's Inquiry website
A complete archived copy of the People's Inquiry into London's NHS website is now available here
, including all submissions and background material.
Dissecting global health "reforms"
John Lister's book Health Policy Reform: Driving the Wrong Way
, published in 2005, was hailed as "the definitive critique of market-oriented health care 'reforms' that the World Bank has been promoting at least since 1993".
This latest work, Health Policy Reform: Global Health versus Private Profit is a completely revised and restructured analysis of health policy in which John Lister brings his critique of health policy up-to-date. He continues to question whether the major 'reforms' which have been, and are still being, introduced are driven primarily by the health needs of the wider population or, in fact, by nonhealth considerations - the financial and political concerns of governments and global institutions.
Read further details here
Click here for video of John Lister speaking to launch the book
Interactive Hospital Millions game
As featured in HE issue 72
Play Hospital Millions
on your computer, with up to four players.
Experience the thrill of making a vast fortune at the expense of the elderly, sick and needy - or the exhiliration of trading while outrageously bankrupt, bailed out by government handouts!
This game is still being developed, but we hope you will enjoy playing it. Make sure the sound is switched on. If you have any constructive comments please contact us
Click here to play the game
Health journalism resources
to assist health journalists, working journalists, journalism students, editors and publishers.
Top up your specialist skills and knowledge!
Training materials on a wide range of health reporting issues, available free
online: simply register to access all content
Download a leaflet here
, explaining the EU-funded project that developed the resources.
Please also tell us what you think of the material and any other issues you would like to see covered.
If you want to link up with other health journalists in Europe and beyond, check out www.europeanhealthjournalism.com
or contact John Lister
Special FINANCIAL Appeal
Help us campaign to save our NHS!
The NHS faces its biggest-ever threat: a 'double whammy' of massive cuts year by year to 2014, coupled with the Health and Social Care Bill that could wipe out all public sector provision of health services.
The ConDem government has no mandate to transform the National Health Service into a national health market. But if there is no public challenge, the Bill could be forced quickly through Parliament.
Hospital staff have everything to lose and nothing to gain from the proposals which could see tens of thousands of jobs axed, and hundreds of thousands pushed out of the NHS workforce, with new threats to their pay scales and pensions.
Every cutback that is accepted will just encourage desperate employers to come back for more.
It really is do or die for those of us who want to defend the NHS as a public service, and who value the staff who deliver services.
To build a successful campaign requires resources, publicity, time and effort: and until there is a broad popular campaign established with the support of the main health unions, much of the work will fall to organisations like London Health Emergency.
But right now, we don't have the resources to cope.
We need help to keep the issue in the media, and work with local campaigners to get the message across in meetings, protests and local publicity. Just producing and distributing the latest issue of Health Emergency newspaper (out early September) will cost £2000.
We urge any readers or supporting organisations that can do so to make a donation, as large as you can afford, to ensure we have the resources to keep on fighting to scupper Lansley's Bill, keep our NHS intact - and keep it public.
You can donate by cheque (to 'LHE', at BCM London Health Emergency, London WC1N 3XX), or online here.
Pressure group in defence of the NHS
Founded in the autumn of 1983, London Health Emergency is the country's biggest and longest-running pressure group in defence of the NHS.
With over 150 trade union bodies, campaigns and community organisations affiliated at local, regional and national level, and many more subscribers, LHE issues a tabloid newspaper Health Emergency
which has a print run of 7,000 and a distribution reaching many parts of England, Scotland and Wales. Health Emergency
carries news and comment on the full range of health service policy issues, with a special focus on acute hospital services, mental health services, care of the elderly, and the impact of the government's marketising reforms.
LHE continues to act as a vocal defender of health services in London and across the country. Our Breaking News
service carries updates and flags up issues of concern to journalists as well as health activists.
Read more about LHE
London Health Emergency was set up by the GLC in 1983, but has received no funding from local government since 1998. It is not linked with any political party or group.
To continue to resource our campaign work we need affiliations and donations from individuals and organisations who support our policies in fighting privatisation and market reforms in the NHS.
Click here to affiliate to LHE or to subscribe to Health Emergency
Keep Our NHS Public
A campaign involving consultants, academics, MPs, trade unions, pensioners groups and campaigners was launched in autumn 2005 to challenge the government's accelerating drive towards privatisation of the NHS.
London Health Emergency, alongside the NHS Support Federation, was actively involved in the launch of this campaign which has endorsement from prominent individuals and trade union organisations and is gathering momentum daily.
For more details, and to register your support online, check out the campaign's website