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Author Archives: John Lister

Despite the legitimate protests against the continued fragmentation of the NHS in England and privatisation of services, a sensible look at the state of play confirms that we still have plenty of NHS to fight for and defend against further erosion. Against the clamour in some quarters that the (English) NHS has already been lost we would propose reasoned counter narrative: that campaigning has been largely successful, in ways not seen in other public services also under attack. Despite eight brutal years of virtually frozen funding, and legislation (the 2012 Health and Social Care Act) clearly intended to carve up local […]
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Ministers have ignored a strident “winter warning” from NHS Providers – the body that represents NHS and foundation trusts. The government is determined to stick to their plan to freeze NHS budgets for the decade to 2020 even as costs and population rise. England’s hospitals and other NHS providers warned that if an extra £350m were not found by August at the latest, we will face another winter crisis even worse than the situation last year. It’s the middle of September, and there’s no extra cash, and none promised. Nor is there any let-up in the brutal 8 years of frozen or […]
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Thanks are due to you and to all the trade unions and other organisations who generously supported and mobilised tens of thousands of activists and their families locally and regionally to support our hugely successful ‘Our NHS’ demonstration in London on March 4, called by Health Campaigns Together and built jointly with the Peoples Assembly. The police estimate was 250,000, which they don’t say lightly, so by any standards this was a tremendous show of strength. At least 16 national unions gave us their support, along with the National Pensioners Convention and many more national and local organisations. You can […]
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Many members of the public, and even some politicians, are only just becoming aware of Sustainability and Transformation Plans, which were imposed in a policy directive from NHS England just 3 days before Christmas in 2015 as part of a major shake-up of the NHS. The dramatic reorganisation of England’s NHS into 44 ‘footprint’ areas, and the requirement for all NHS bodies to collaborate with local government social service agencies on these new 5-year plans, seemed like NHS England’s best hope of balancing its budgets by 2020-21. But the variegated and inconsistent series of 44 documents that have been published […]
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2016 has been an eventful year for Health Campaigns Together, which held its first activist conference in January, with support from UNISON, Unite and GMB, flagging up the looming threat of a further reorganisation of the NHS through Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), and assembling almost 200 people at the London Welsh Centre. Our platform included national officers of UNISON and Unite, along with Junior doctors, campaigners against scrapping NHS bursaries, supporters of the NHS Reinstatement Bill that is now supported in Parliament by Margaret Greenwood MP, Keep Our NHS Public, and more. It was at that same conference that […]
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As amended and agreed by 150 campaigners attending Health Campaigns Together conference, Birmingham September 17 As campaigners across England, we are sounding the alarm over the potential impact on health care services of the 44 Sustainability & Transformation Plans being drawn up in secret at the behest of NHS England. Drafts of all 44 plans were submitted in July: but as of this weekend only 6 relatively complete drafts have been published – for North West London, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Dorset, the Black Country, Wider Devon and Shropshire. These plans all centre on achieving drastic “efficiency” savings, to […]
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Neither Hinchingbrooke nor Circle are what they seem. The carefully created public image of Circle, the private hospital company that took over the management of Hinchingbrooke Hospital, is a triumph of PR spin – a classic exercise of smoke and mirrors. Reference to the “success” at Hinchingbrooke has become shorthand for any right wing politician advocating privatisation as a solution to the crisis created in the NHS by coalition policies since 2010.  These people, given easy platforms by journalists who uncritically rehash Circle press releases, endlessly tell us how services at Hinchingbrooke have been transformed – ignoring the fact that […]
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Andrew Lansley’s Health & Social Care Act, which eventually passed through parliament in March despite massive and growing opposition – not just from health unions and campaigners, or the wider public, but also from GPs and from hospital doctors. It’s set to change the landscape of the NHS. The changes are not instant, but will be imposed at a forced march, with most to be implemented within a year. It will sweep away the 150 or so Primary Care Trusts that currently hold the budgets to commission services for defined population areas, and also carry out over 120 Statutory Duties, […]
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