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    The Local Government Association has released a statement that 91% of 600 councillors support a campaign for reform of social care launched by a partnership called Social Care Futures. As part of re-building society post-pandemic, their campaign calls for social care to serve the purpose of enabling people in need of care and support to: ‘live in the place we call home, be with the people and things that we love, in communities where we care about and support each other, doing the things that matter to us’.
    This is a warming vision whose worthiness few will dispute. But before committing to it political leaders are likely to want to know the cost. The Chancellor will certainly want to know the cost before his colleagues commit. However, with this vision so different from the current realities of social care, testified by the 500 people who responded to a survey by Social Care Futures, the cost is simply not known. All that Social Care Futures can say is;‘Government resources must be increased to the level that allows people the funding they need to live a life like other people’.

    Social care has not lacked for a vision similar to this for a long time. The most recent is a vision based on wellbeing in the Care Act of 2014. Before that the ‘personalisation’ agenda of the noughties. Neither have happened, with sector leaders claiming lack of funding.
    But there is a chicken and egg situation. While social care leaders say they cannot deliver a visionary service without more money, in the absence of the vision being costed, political leaders will not give sector leaders more money. It is an impasse.

    Breaking the impasse – a parallel campaign
    Coincidentally there is another campaign to reform social care concurrently being launched. It has been developed by a national collaboration of disabled peoples’ organisations. Included in its proposals is a route to break the impasse. It comes in the form of endorsement of the principle of ‘progressive realisation’ of the resources required through ‘concrete action’. This is a concept taken from the United Nations vision of Independent Living, which is a vision almost identical to Social Care Futures’ vision. The UN recognises that the resources required for people to lead the lives right for them is a political matter, not a legal right. Much as we may like the world to stop still while social care gets the funding it requires first, it is most unlikely political leaders will be so moved by the Social Care Futures vision that that will happen. The concrete action that must be taken is the key.

    Concrete action

    The action required to make progressive realisation a reality relates back to the very reason why social care leaders do not know how much it would cost to give people the lives they should have. In the NHS, clinicians diagnose and recommend treatments based on what they see before them. Waiting lists act as the financial safety valve if clinical need outstrips resources at the operational level, and as the weather vane and information source for funding requirements at the strategic level.
    This is not so in social care. Resources determine what is recognised as ‘need’. Managers determine ‘eligibility’ thresholds in order to ensure demand matches the local budget. It is the reason why sector leaders have no idea how much it would cost to resource the Social Care Futures vision or any other vision.

    The action required is to abolish the resource led definition of need – the eligibility process. Councils must require their front line practitioners to identify and cost all the needs each individual has to live the life described by whatever vision is adopted. On a case by case basis, councils must decide what can be afforded and what cannot. The needs unmet must be aggregated and put in the public domain. In this way, unmet needs in social care can sit alongside waiting lists in the NHS to inform future budgets. This is an approach that has recently been adopted by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (please see link below). It recommends the Secretary of State should periodically set out plans to close the gap between needs and funding.

    Delivering change – problems for Social Care Futures
    At the core of the action required is the axis between needs on the one hand and resources on the other. A founding principle of the NHS was that need must precede resources. In social care, from the outset, the opposite applied. The concrete action required is to reverse the polarity putting social care on the same basis as the NHS. Whilst simple in concept, it will require a change in the both the culture and modus operandi of the way councils deliver their part of the social care system that will shake the system to its roots. But this creates a problem for Social Care Futures. It is a partnership involving the key leaders of the sector – the LGA, the Association of Directors of Social Services, Skills for Care, Social Care Institute of Excellence. But the sector consistently and collectively denies the need for change in the way councils operate, citing only lack of funding as preventing them from delivering the personalisation vision.

    But the evidence not only undermines this position, it points to a seriously dysfunctional system;
    • In 2009/10 (at 2019/20 prices) £21.4BN was spent on social care, which included £1.3BN of NHS money. In 2019/20, £22.4BN was spent, which included £2.3BN of NHS money. Spending in real terms has thus actually increased by about 5%.
    • Whilst sector leaders point to increased demand from increased demography thus suggesting an effectively cut, they are silent on levels to which demand has – or should have been – reduced.
    • One of the selling points of the personalisation agenda was that it would reduce demand. By matching resources to the personalised needs of individuals, better outcomes at lower cost would follow.
    • Over the past decade the sector has proclaimed great success in delivering a range of demand reduction strategies. Chief amongst them has been what is called ‘strengths based practice’, designed to eliminate the dependency on services. However, while all councils have adopted the practice, sector leaders offer no information as to how much this may have saved.
    • In 2009/10, 1.7 million people were served. In 2019/20 that had reduced to 1.1 million. Spend per service user has therefore increased by some 35%. Why does the Social Care Futures survey find people seriously under-supported?
    • According to the LGA’s own figures, shared confidentially with councils but not released to the public, the highest centile of councils spent 60% more than the lowest in 2018/19. However, there is no suggestion that the highest spending councils have broken the mould any more or any less than the lowest.

    These figures point to a dysfunctional system. Until and unless sector leaders acknowledge as much and the parts they have played in its design and delivery, they will remain a central part of the problem, not the solution.

    Conclusion
    The immediate needs for increased funding within the existing system are beyond dispute. In particular the low level of pay for the care workforce and the unfairness of the charging regime and pricing that risks market collapse should be addressed without delay. However, hopes for funding levels beyond the immediate that rest on the belief that government will be so moved by a new vision that it will commit regardless of cost is at best naïve. Worse, how can government have the confidence required to entrust new funds to a sector so dysfunctional and incapable of making best use of the resource it already has.
    It is easy to sign up to Social Care Futures’ vision. Who wouldn’t? But if we want a system of social care driven by that vision, or any variation of it, it will only happen if government listens more to the call for the fundamental systemic change that the disabled peoples’ movement includes in its agenda for change.

    1. https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/inquiries-and-investigations/inquiry-challenging-decisions-about-adult-social-care

    Colin Slasberg is a social care consultant

    This post makes an important contribution to the debate on the provision of social care in England and is not a reflection of the SHA’s policy.

    4 Comments

    Many readers may be aware that this is a major issue, but I am going to do my utmost to condense its main aspects into this blog. Obviously different people will have a varying spectrum of knowledge on this subject, but I am writing here from the perspective that many might be unaware or have limited knowledge of the issues involved.

    What is a PEEP?

    PEEP stands for a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan. Its purpose is to provide people who are unable to self evacuate unaided from a building, or to a place of safety, with a plan to help ensure that they can.

    Not everyone identifies as disabled or with a health condition, and whether they do or not, some people may not realise that PEEPs exist, or that they could benefit from one. I know I didn’t.

    Some might need a PEEP for a temporary period, e.g. while they have a broken leg, whilst others need them long-term, and the PEEP may need to be updated as needs change. I would argue it is in everyone’s interests for PEEPs to be readily available, not only as a principle, but also because nobody has any idea if they might need one, either on a short-term basis or permanently. I have not been disabled for most of my life, for instance.

    Brief Background

    It is utterly shameful, to put it politely, to think that 42% of those who lost their lives in Grenfell were disabled. None had PEEPs, and it seems to me there has been no will by Government or those who make such decisions, to even try and increase access to PEEPs.

    Four years on, and only now has the Government recently opened a consultation. This has been due to what has (and continues to) come out of the Grenfell Inquiry. It isn’t an easy listen or read. More poignantly, bereaved families, survivors and others have fought the injustice throughout, including going to court over this major issue. That should never be forgotten. We would not be having this consultation otherwise, even though it has taken far too long.
    It should also be noted that PEEPs are nothing new: they have existed for decades. Although I think it is clear that current law legislates for them, arguably this has been and is being continuously contested by various parties. Due to the current situation, as described below, I will not focus on that here, for reasons that will hopefully become clear.

    My Experience

    When major fire safety issues were found in our building, our evacuation procedure changed from ‘stay put’ to simultaneous evacuation. It was assumed that all of us could self evacuate. Those who could not were not even considered, let alone acknowledged. Maybe it did not occur to those involved in making this decision? So installing a Gerda box (secure and fireproof for the storage of PEEPs) turned out to be pure tokenism. Initially it gave me hope, thinking that finally we were going to have PEEPs stored where the Fire and Rescue Service could easily access the necessary information. I had been refused a PEEP countless times and advised that I needed to ‘stay put.’ That because I am disabled I would have to wait to be rescued, while my neighbours, who can self evacuate, should do so. But I had to wait.

    Can you imagine being told that? Many disabled people will have been told this already. I know people who have. Sadly, more people have a similar experience than a positive one. Something else to have to fight for on top of everything else, when some of us are also at risk of losing our homes and having no choice but to declare bankruptcy, due to the huge fire safety remediation work that would be necessary, and other associated costs. The failure to include the cost of complying with a PEEP assessment in the service charge shared by everyone is discussed later.

    However, a company kindly undertook a PEEP assessment with me, without charging a fee. As a wheelchair user with complex needs, including support to leave their flat, the PEEP advised a specific model evac chair that I would need to safely evacuate with a ‘buddy.’ In my situation, my ‘buddies’ include: my partner, my Personal Assistants and neighbours. If nobody is with me and there is a fire, I can contact neighbours via text. I keep my phone near me at all times in case.

    This advice was not accepted by my managing agent, management company or the Fire and Rescue Service. There was not even a discussion, just people in offices or zoom meetings, making this decision without me. Not a trivial decision, but one that could, in the event of a fire, leave me injured or worse. This is about all the lives unnecessarily lost already, about my life and anyone’s who can’t self evacuate. It is about all those people who have lost loved ones and those who care about disabled peoples’ safety. It is yet another example of disabled people not being classed as equal. Classic ableism.

    If able bodied people were told that they had to be rescued and only disabled people could evacuate first, do you think that would be accepted? Do any of these people making such decisions wonder what it would be like for them or someone they care about to be in this situation? Physically trapped and in my case, as in many others, in a building that was built unsafe. This obviously increases the risk of a fire and therefore of injury and death.
    If the building had been built to higher safety standards, then I feel that the risk of living on the third floor is a reasonable one for me. Others may disagree with that, but then to ‘stay put,’ in my experience, either before I became disabled or after, was standard and I wasn’t aware of other options. Now the situation is very different and yet I, like so many others, are plainly refused.

    Such a decision made me feel extremely upset, angry and as previously explained, that my life and disabled peoples’ lives aren’t viewed as equal. We know this already, but even in such serious situations, it is often the case. Surely being rescued should be a last resort, not your only option. For some people there might not be an alternative or one they feel comfortable with, and/or some may prefer to be rescued. For me and so many others, that is not the case.

    There should be financial support for aids and adaptations to enable evacuation. As a reasonable adjustment, disabled people should not legally have to pay and the cost should not be added to service charges. It should apply generally, let alone during the current building safety crisis. Having huge bills, or expecting them, is a recipe for disaster and can lead to hate crime. I have known it to happen: disabled people being targeted by those worried about their precarious financial situations. This can and does happen, whether people are impacted by the building safety crisis or not.

    This has not been my experience, although my management company made me aware that if my PEEP was accepted, that it would be added onto the service charge. The recommended equipment tends to not be viewed in the same way as installing a new door, a new light, or having car lifts repaired. Not everyone uses everything that is included in the service charge, but evacuation aids are seen differently from other things included. Up to a point, I understand, as it should be classed as a reasonable adjustment, but anger should not be directed at the disabled person. There should be a central fund that people can apply to, and PEEPs need to be offered as standard. In some places they are, in Oldham, for example: but this is not typical by any means. If the Government is really serious about reducing fire risk to a vulnerable group of people, then they need to provide adequate funding. Local councils cannot be squeezed even more.

    In addition, PEEPs should be made available to anyone who cannot self evacuate, regardless of building height. Currently the Government are focussing on buildings 18 metres and above. PEEPs should be person-centred and not building-centred. Fire does not discriminate in terms of height. If you need help to evacuate, then you need help, however high the building you live in.

    So after a lot of thought and in desperation, I decided to crowd-fund for the evac chair. Within 3 days, mainly people I didn’t know kindly donated enough to reach the target amount. A couple of days after, the evac chair was delivered and my buddies have been trained how to use it.

    I’m only one person impacted, but not everyone can crowd-fund for equipment – and nobody should have to, under any circumstances. It is shameful.

    My fear was that without a plan there was a risk of injury or death, either to myself or others trying to help me, who would not feel able to leave me behind. This is not just about me, but about people who care about me. Now I have a plan and appropriate equipment, that reduces the risk to all. Several months back we nearly had an electrical fire, which made the potential situation even more real to me. We did not have to evacuate, but it made me even more aware of the fact that I could not even if I needed to. This petrified me and the feeling has stayed with me. Hopefully there will not be a fire, but if there is, I am as prepared as I can be though my management agent still has not accepted my PEEP, or acknowledged that I need one.

    Who are Claddag?

    Claddag is a Direct Action Group for Disabled Leaseholders and those with health conditions, impacted by the building safety crisis/cladding scandal. I am one of the co-founders. I was painfully aware that disabled people were not being considered or included in any part of the response to the building safety crisis and not only wanted this to change, but believed it had to. Another disabled activist, Sarah Rennie, was trying to do the same and although we’ve never met in person, via social media we founded Claddag.

    Obviously PEEPs impact a much wider range of people than those at whom Claddag is primarily aimed. It affects people in different circumstances, across housing tenures, whether impacted by the building safety crisis or not. So part of our campaign is focusing on PEEPs and this consultation is extremely important. It will inform legislation that is vital to those who need evacuation plans.

    Further to our open letter, we are making progress!

    The Government has been forced to think again on whether disabled people have the right to an evacuation plan within blocks of flats. Here is a recent Channel 4 report highlighting the dangerous situation disabled people are in, and the refusals of landlords/agents to agree evacuation plans.

    Call to Action – How to Help?

    The consultation on evacuation plans (known as ‘PEEPs’) has a short window for response. We know there will be a lot of opposition and so it is vital that disabled individuals, allies, MPs, DDPOs and charities make their voices heard. We need as many responses as possible.

    We are simply asking for:
    • PEEPs for every disabled resident
    • PEEPs must be the responsibility of the Responsible Person
    • PEEPs must be clear and accessible
    • PEEPs must be secure and up-to-date

    We are happy to distribute our draft response to anyone who might find it useful. If so, please contact us. Our contact details are on our website (link included below). The deadline to respond is 19 July 2021. Examples of lived experience is invaluable, so please encourage the groups and individuals you know and/or meet to respond.

    Some disabled people are struggling to get the consultation in alternative formats, so please let us know if you hear anything concerning that, which we should raise with the Home Office.

    Any questions please let us know. It would be very, very helpful to know if you do submit a response.

    More materials/stories about the impact of the building safety crisis can be found on Claddag’s website (https://claddag.org/).

    URGENT

    PLEASE FILL OUT THE CONSULTATION (LINK BELOW) BY July 19th ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE A TENANT and/or LIVING IN A BLOCK OF FLATS, and/or A TENANT and/or LIVING WITH A DISABILITY!

    The consultation on evacuation plans (known as ‘PEEPs’) has a short window for response. We know there will be a lot of opposition and so it is vital that disabled individuals, allies, MPs, DDPOs and charities make their voices heard. We need as many responses as possible.

    We are simply asking for:
    • PEEPs for every disabled resident
    • PEEPs must be the responsibility of the Responsible Person
    • PEEPs must be clear and accessible
    • PEEPs must be secure and up-to-date

    We are happy to distribute our draft response to anyone who might find it useful. If so, please contact us. Our contact details are on our website (link included below). The deadline to respond is 19 July 2021. Examples of lived experience is invaluable, so please encourage the groups and individuals you know and/or meet to respond.

    Some disabled people are struggling to get the consultation in alternative formats, so please let us know if you hear anything concerning that, which we should raise with the Home Office.

    Any questions please let us know. It would be very, very helpful to know if you do submit a response.

    More materials/stories about the impact of the building safety crisis can be found on Claddag’s website (https://claddag.org/).

    5 Comments

    Hi colleagues

    Attached is the pdf version latest issue of our monthly online news bulletin, which was delayed by a couple of days to ensure we could cover the announcement of the expected lockdown.

    Please share as widely as you wish with members and other organisations.

    If you prefer not to send (or open) sttachments, a different and more flexible version of the same issue is available on our website at www.healthcampaignstogether.com.

    Please do let us know of developments in local campaigns and issues that you wish us to follow: our next bulletin will be early December, with production in the final week of November.  We hope by next issue to have details of the conference on privatisation which we are now working to organise as a result of the AGM decision.

    Please note also that fortnightly news and analysis – and a searchable database of articles published so far is available from The Lowdown https://lowdownnhs.info; this is free to access, but we do urge those individuals and organisations who can afford to do so to donate towards our running costs to ensure we can continue and improve it.

    In solidarity

    John Lister

    Health Campaigns Together
    Email: healthcampaignstogether@gmail.com
    Twitter:@nhscampaigns
    Facebook.com/healthcampaignstogether
    Comments Off on HCT monthly news bulletin – November 2020

    A GREAT LAUNCH OF THE SHA/KONP CAMPAIGN TO END THE CRISIS IN SOCIAL CARE

    On 10th October, SHA joined forces with Keep Our NHS Public, with the support of WeOwnIt,

    to launch our campaign to transform social care.

    Watch it here

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsDY7q-rVYM&feature=youtu.be

    With over 280 people registering, it was clearly a popular and vital issue.

    The day before, a poll conducted by Survation and commissioned by WeOwnIt showed that 64% of respondents said they wanted to see care homes run by public bodies. 61% believe that private care providers prioritise profit over delivering a high quality service.

    Participants heard excellent and meaty contributions from Unison and GMB, outlining their policies on social care and the currents fights for pay justice.. Two disabled speakers offered an insightful summary of independent living and democratic co-design of services with users. The National Pensioners Convention summarised their recent publication “Goodbye Cinderella” focusing in the benefits for older people of a coordinated National Care Service. The leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council described how they have provided free homecare and Barnet Council Labour Group showed how they have been challenging their Tory council to deliver the real spirit of the Care Act, not merely it shadowy form.

    The Women’s Budget Group offered a powerful justification for a new economic settlement based around a caring society and showed how investing in social care reaps huge economic, health and care dividends.

    Finally John McDonnell spoke clearly and passionately about the need for a National Care Service, based on the campaigns key demands. He also warned that the Tories may offer up an insurance-based service as a route to shoring up the shaky private sector market in social care.

    Speakers endorsed the 7 demands of our campaign:

    1. National Care Support and Independent Living Service (NaCSILS)
      The Government shall have responsibility for and duty to provide a National Care and Supported Living Service to provide care, independent and supported living, adopting into English Law Articles from the UN Convention on rights of disabled people that establish choice and control, dignity and respect, at the heart of person-centred planning.
    2. Fully funded through government investment and progressive taxation, free at the point of need and fully available to everyone living in this country.
    3. Publicly provided and publicly accountable:
      The NaCSILS will have overall responsibility for publicly provided residential homes and service providers and, where appropriate, for the supervision of not-for-profit organisations and user-led cooperatives funded through grants allocated by the NaCSILS. A long-term strategy would place an emphasis on de-institutionalisation and community-based independent and supported living. All provision will deliver to NaCSILS national standards. There will be no place for profiteering and the market in social care will be brought to an end.
    4. Mandated nationally, locally delivered:
      The Government will be responsible for developing within the principles of co-production, a nationally mandated set of services that will be democratically run, designed, and delivered locally. Local partnerships would be led by stakeholders who are delivering, monitoring, referring to or receiving supported services or budgets, e.g. organisations representing disabled people (DPOs), older people, and people who use mental health and other services, in partnership with local authorities and the NHS.
    5. Identify and address needs of informal carers, family and friends providing personal support:
      The NaCSILS will ensure a comprehensive level of support freeing up family members from personal and/or social support tasks so that the needs of those offering informal support, e.g. family and friends, are acknowledged in ways which values each person’s lifestyles, interests, and contributions.
    6. National NaCSILS employee strategy fit for purpose:
      The NCSLS standards for independent and supported living will be underpinned by care and support staff or personal assistants who have appropriate training, qualifications, career structure, pay and conditions to reflect the skills required to provide support services worthy of a decent society.
    7. Support the formation of a taskforce on independent and supported living with a meaningful influence, led by those who require independent living support, from all demographic backgrounds and regions. This would also make recommendations to address wider changes in public policy.

    Many people were unable to get into the meeting because it was oversubscribed. It is clear that this is a vital issue that resonates strongly with the public and that this is the most propitious time for such a campaign.

    If you were unable to attend , watch the event here

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsDY7q-rVYM&feature=youtu.be

    We shall now consider actions over the next few months that could include petitions, motions to the Labour Party, work with Parliament, continued discussion with the Shadow Health and Social Care Team.

    JOIN US!

    WE CALL ON SHA BRANCHES FOR SUPPORT

    THERE WILL BE A FOLLOW-UP MEETING ON 2ND NOVEMBER TO PLAN OUR NEXT STEPS

    Details will follow

     

     

     

    Comments Off on A great launch of the joint SHA/KONP social care campaign

    We do not wish to reinvent the wheel. Keep Our NHS Public and the Socialist Health Association are launching National Care Support and Independent Living Service on 10th October, The TUC and the Labour Party, through Reclaim Social Care, have good policy on how social care should be organised which Doctors in Unite would be able to broadly align with.

    Doctors in Unite believe that the current model for social care is not working and that this has been brought into sharp focus during the COVID 19 Pandemic. Care homes bore a huge burden of deaths during the first wave, for many reasons, but not least due to the fragmentation that privatisation has imposed on that sector. This has led to a lack of local capacity and national coordination of care for some of the most frail and vulnerable in society.

    Social Care at home is in a similarly parlous state. Domiciliary care is also largely outsourced to the commercial sector and provided by a workforce on extremely low pay, poor conditions and zero hours contracts. Many workers are not paid for the time they spend travelling between clients. Workers have too little time to spend with clients and it is difficult for them to build trusting relationships.

    We believe that:

    1. Care is a basic human right and is good for society as a whole. There must be a national care service which is publicly funded, publicly provided and free at point of need. It should be paid for out of general taxation and years of underfunding must be reversed. The Keynesian Multiplier for care service is substantially higher than the 2.5 figure at which spending is self-funding because for every £1 spent on the service the economy benefits by £2.50 which generates £1 in taxation. Within reason, spending on services with a multiplier above 2.5, such as health, care, environments, education and welfare actually reduces the deficit and so is money well spent.
    2. Private/for profit care services should be brought back into public control.
    3. The national care service must be subject to local democratic control. Users, their families and workers, through their trade unions, must have a strong voice and local councils must be accountable. Neighbourhood health committees should be set up as we suggest in our earlier paper “Public Health and Primary Care”. https://medicalpractitionersunion.files.wordpress.com/2020/05/public-health-and-primary-care.pdf   The service should be funded centrally but organised locally.
    4. Users and their families must be at the centre of their care, which should be personally directed and flexible, but not through personal budgets. We acknowledge that users are usually best placed to determine the care that they need but we are concerned that personal budgets can be unnecessarily expensive and bureaucratic to administer and will give some an economic advantage over others with equal need. Everyone should be able to access the care that they require in the way which is most suitable for them as individuals without the need for personal independence payments. We would like to work with disability action groups to develop personally directed care while taking the economic inequalities out of the system. There must be proper funding and support in place to enable users to access the system and find services that meet their needs.
    5. There is a broad spectrum and continuum in social care needs Doctors in Unite believe that the natural home of social care is within the local authority not the health service. Nevertheless, where necessary, a National Care Service and the NHS should work collaboratively for the needs of a user. There is no need to merge the two services. It is unhelpful to classify a need as either social or medical, a need is a need. Services must be properly funded so that if someone needs a bath they get help with a bath without the historical arguments as to whether the need for that bath is social or medical.
    6. The National Care Service should be funded sufficiently so that people can be supported to live independently if they wish. People should not be pressured to go into a care home because services, such as night sitting, are not available in the community or deemed too expensive. Similarly, residential care home options should be available if this is what people prefer and need.
    7. Care must be dignified and both residential and domiciliary care should be comfortable, homelike and run by the local authority. Many small locally run services strive to provide this though often they struggle to remain viable. Bringing these providers into public ownership whilst maintaining their ethos would provide stability for staff and clients. Proper service planning would also end the geographic perversity such that residential care homes are set up not where they are needed but where the real estate is cheapest, meaning long journeys for relatives to visit their loved ones distant from where they live.
    8. Domiciliary care should be brought back into social ownership under Local Authority control immediately. As already stated, users and their families must have a strong voice as well as fully engaging with care providers.Existing small locally run businesses could be organised to work collectively as not for profit cooperatives. Current owner managers could be employed by the publicly owned National Care Service with a national wage structure rather than owning the businesses. We think that many might prefer this as their jobs would be less precarious. A national care service should capture the ethos of the smaller organisations, providing comfortable homely care but relinquish the current commercial economic model. Smaller providers often aren’t able to respond to crises and weren’t prepared for the pandemic, for example, they had totally inadequate supplies of PPE. A national care service should take the best of all the models, be properly funded and brought back into public ownership.
    9. Under a National Care Service care workers must be properly paid, we support an immediate 35% pay increase. Care workers must have a proper career structure with progression and training which must be funded and transferable, including into the NHS. These must be nationally agreed, along with terms and conditions, as is the case with Agenda for Change in the NHS. We would like to see an end to all zero hours contracts, though acknowledge that some workers do find their flexibility helpful. We therefore would support an opt in to a zero hours contract after three months of working, as is currently available in Wales.
    10. All social care vacancies must be filled within a year.
    11. Last but by no means least we must note that a large proportion of care workers are overseas migrants, many with precarious residency in the UK. Without these people a National Care Service could not function. We demand that they are all granted permanent status immediately and that care workers are regarded as essential workers for immigration purposes.

     

    APPENDIX 1

    KONP/SHA NACSIL demands: 

    Publicly funded, free at the point of use    Publicly provided, not for profit 

    • Nationally mandated but designed and delivered locally
    • Co-produced with service users and democratically accountable
    • Underpinned by staff whose pay and conditions reflect true value & skills
    • Meets needs of informal carers  Sets up an independent living task force 

     

    APPENDIX 2

    Reclaim Social Care policy and demands:

    https://www.reclaimsocialcare.co.uk/policy/

    Reclaim Social Care is clear that the country requires social care to be:

    • based on supporting independent living for all
    • free at the point of use
    • paid for, like the NHS, through central taxation
    • brought into the public sector
    • staffed by people well supported and with a positive career structure
    • with financial support for voluntary carers

    Reclaim Social Care composited the below motion which is now Labour Party Policy:

    SOCIAL CARE COMPOSITE RESOLUTION PASSED AT LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE SEPTEMBER 2019

    This was brought together from motions from across the country, many based on Reclaim Social Care’s text. It is now Labour Party policy.

    Conference notes the current postcode lottery of Social Care funding and the real hardship and unfairness this causes, impacting on the most vulnerable within our society reducing life expectancy, health outcomes and wellbeing.

    Labour to develop a universal care and support service working with user groups, in collaboration with a national independent living support service and available to all on basis of need, based on Article 19 of the UNCRPD.

    England’s social care system is broken. Local Authorities face £700million cuts in 2018-19. With £7billion slashed since 2010. 26% fewer older people receive support, while demand grows. Most care is privatised, doesn’t reflect users’ needs and wishes, whilst charges increase.

    Disabled and elderly people face barriers to inclusion and independent living, thousands feel neglected. 8 million unpaid, overworked family carers, including children and elderly relatives, provide vital support.

    Make the provision of all social care free to recipients as is the case for health care under the NHS.

    A service:

    • That provides a new universal right to independent living
    • Enshrined in law and delivered through a new National Independent Living Service co-created between government and service users.

    Consequences of marrying social care to the NHS include medicalisation, isolation, indignity, maltreatment, bringing social care under a struggling NHS umbrella is not the answer.

    Transfer responsibility for funding social care from the LA to the national exchequer through progressive taxation.

    Distribute funding to the LAs for social care on the basis of the population served (age, sex and deprivation) and the cost of care.

    Locally democratic and designed by service users and carers in partnership with LAs and the NHS, delivered as far as possible by service users.

    Publicly, democratically run services, designed and delivered locally, co-productively involving local authorities, the NHS and service users, disabled people and carers.

    Providing staff with nationally agreed training qualifications, career structure, pay and conditions.

    Fund social care to provide a pay rise of at least 35% to all care workers.

    Giving informal carers the rights and support they need.

    Conference resolves that within the first term of a new Labour government to provide a universal system of social care and support based on a universal right to independent living.

    https://www.reclaimsocialcare.co.uk/a/40563951-40565561

    Summary

    1. Social care is in a deep crisis created by severe cuts enforced on local government by central government and the failure of the system to defend itself from these attacks.
    2. Integrated care is now proposed as a solution to the social care crisis, but not only is it not the answer, but it will harm, both social care and the NHS itself.
    3. Social care is a distinct public good state and it needs to be organised in ways that recognise its strengths and its role as an agent of citizenship for all.
    4. The problems facing social care today are the result of decades of poor policy-making and the refusal to put social care on a level footing with the NHS and other services.
    5. The resources necessary to transform social care into a universal public service are modest and can easily be achieved with the necessary political will.
    6. Universal social care should be implemented alongside a range of other reforms, including the reintegration of social care for children and adults.
    7. Creating the case for a decent social care system also demands the creation of a wider alliance for change and systems that can protect the system in the future.
    8. Better coordination of health and social care services will only occur if the NHS itself begins to work more effectively with citizens, families and communities.

    APPENDIX 3

    TUC Key recommendations:

    https://www.tuc.org.uk/research-analysis/reports/fixing-social-care

    Key recommendations

    • A new funding settlement: This year’s spending review should fully offset the cuts of the previous decade and establish future rises at a level that will allow local authorities to meet rising demand and improve pay and conditions for staff.
    • Immediate funding to fill all social care vacancies: In a time of rising unemployment, social care could provide a steady source of new decent jobs. The government could act now to unlock 120,000 existing vacancies, to help those losing their jobs.
    • Fair pay and conditions for care workers: To provide sustainable livelihoods and an attractive career, all social care workers must get a sector minimum wage of at least £10 per hour. There must be an end to the zero-hours contracts, and poor or non-existent sick pay that put social care workers at risk during the pandemic. And all social care workers must have guaranteed opportunities for training and progression.
    • A national Social Care Forum: A new body is needed to bring together government, unions, employers, commissioners and providers to coordinate the delivery and development of services, including the negotiation of a workforce strategy.
    • A reduced private sector role: The government should strengthen rules to prevent financial extraction in the care sector and should phase out the for-profit model of delivery, so that all public funding is used to deliver high-quality services with fair pay and conditions for staff.
    • A universal service free at the point of use: The changes above can be made quickly. Longer-term, the government should make social care a universal service, paid for through general taxation to ensure high-quality social care can be quickly accessed by everyone who needs it, in every part of England, without any variation in cost and qualifying rules.
    4 Comments

    I am pleased to circulate the details of the launch of the joint SHA/KONP campaign to reshape social care in England. The launch will be at 1100 – 1300 on 10th October

    Register for the event here

    This is a major national campaign with a wide ranging support. Your support and involvement will be vital.

    More details are attached, including a MOTION that we would like you to discuss at wards and CLPs.

    We look forward to seeing you there.

    Yours,

    Brian and Jean

    A SUMMARY OF THE SOCIAL CARE CAMPAIGN

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    • FBU members to be consulted on offer with union recommending money be paid immediately to staff
    • FBU to launch campaign for better pay with option of industrial action on table

    The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has condemned a 2% pay offer from employers labelling it ‘insulting’ to frontline firefighters and control staff.

    Employers have offered firefighters and control staff a 2% pay uplift, below teachers, doctors, dentists, police, and prison officers. The offer is on par with judges, senior civil servants, and the armed forces.

    The FBU has slammed fire service employers and chief fire officers for failing to value the work of their staff and criticised government ministers for failing to step in and ensure firefighters are properly rewarded in this year’s pay round – especially in light of the extra work taken on in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

    After a meeting of the FBU’s Executive Council today (Wednesday 29 July) it has been recommended that the money be immediately paid to staff as it “will be better in the pockets of firefighters and control staff than sitting in employer reserves”.

    The FBU’s pay offer will now go out to consultation for 28 days, during which firefighters and control staff will discuss the offer at union meetings in workplaces across the UK. The FBU will talk to members about their options to campaign for better pay over the next year, including industrial action.

    Firefighters have taken on an additional 14 areas of work to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

    An agreement reached on 26 March has allowed firefighters to drive ambulances, deliver vital supplies to the elderly and vulnerable, and move the bodies of the deceased.

    Since then, a number of further activities have been agreed, including assembling personal protective equipment (PPE) and training care home staff in infection, prevention and control.

    Despite this, fire service employers have offered the same pay settlement as last year, when pay rates for firefighters and control staff were increased by 2%.

    After a decade of pay restraint, firefighters are around £4,000 worse off than in 2010.

    Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said:

    “Firefighters and control staff were due a pay offer on 1 July. Nearly a month past that deadline, fire service employers have made an offer – there is absolutely no excuse for making our members wait like this.

    “Sadly, the offer reflects the fact that employers simply do not value the vital and life-saving work our members undertake every day, nor the extraordinary lengths many have gone to in aiding the coronavirus response. Government ministers could have stepped in to ensure our members would be properly rewarded in this year’s pay round, but they chose to stand idly by.

    “The Chief Fire Officers who advise employers during pay negotiations must also bear some responsibility for the desperate situation facing our service and those who work in it. Throughout the past decade they have done absolutely nothing to challenge the brutal austerity policies of central government which have continued to rob our service of investment and resources.

    “This pay offer does not address the needs of FBU members whose wages have still not recovered from years of pay restraint, however firefighters and control staff desperately need an improvement in their living standards and this money will be better in their pockets than sitting in employer reserves.

    “We will now consult firefighters and control staff on the offer and discuss campaigning options around issues of pay and conditions over the coming year, including various forms of industrial action.”

    Joe Karp-Sawey, FBU communications officer

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    On Saturday July 4th, the day before the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the NHS – we demonstrated, jointly with Manchester Trade Union Council, with Unison, Unite and any other unions involved, with Keep Our NHS Public and with Health Campaigns Together (with PPE and social distancing) against the privatisation of the Department of Reproductive Medicine at St Mary’s Hospital Manchester.

    NEXT EVENT

    VIRTUAL PUBLIC MEETING: No privatisation of Manchester’s fertility service!
    Monday, 20 July 2020 from 19:00-20:30

    Details at the end of this article

    Women in the Labour Movement have been campaigning for at least 100 years on issues of maternal health and the right to choose whether and when to have children, and to use any technological advances that might make those choices easier, or even possible. From 1924 onwards the Women’s Labour League annually and unanimously supported birth control. The men in the Labour and Trade Union Movement were not always so unanimous, or so interested in the subject.

    In 1924 the first Labour Government was elected, and the League bombarded John Wheatley – the first Labour Minister of Health – with demands for improved health care in childbirth and after, and for the provision of free, state birth control clinics. They organised meetings and major demonstrations. They kept reminding him that giving birth had four times the death rate of working in the mines, the most dangerous job for men, and twenty times the likelihood of permanent disability.

    However, it was not until 1974 – another 50 years later – that women achieved the right to free contraception on the NHS, irrespective of age or marital status, by which time I had joined the Labour Party and it was one of the issues I was campaigning for myself, first through the Young Socialists and then the Labour Women’s organisation . Nowadays, men can also get free vasectomies  and, whether for contraception or protection against HIV, free condoms on the NHS, also irrespective of age. None of these successes, in areas where some people like to make moral rather than medical judgements, was easy or straightforward.

    For example, even after the beginning of the decriminalisation of homosexuality for men in 1967, homophobia was still rampant for many years. Thus, more than 20 years later in 1988, Thatcher was able to introduce Clause 28. Roy Trevelion (London SHA member) in Age UK’s Opening Doors London, likens the mental health of many HIV positive men – as a consequence of the AIDS epidemic and ongoing homophobia – to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Most gay men who obtained free condoms would have been more likely to get them from organisations like the Lesbian and Gay Foundation in Manchester (and similar ones elsewhere), which is registered as a charity and raised money to provide them on that basis. Many gay men would have been more able and less anxious to get their condoms from peer-support charities like this than to risk accidentally outing themselves at the doctor’s or clinic.

    The post World War II economic boom brought rising employment of women and improved living standards, and with increased confidence, women demanded recognition for their contribution to society and the right to control their own lives. These led to the Abortion Act 1967 as well as to Equal Pay (1970) and Sex Discrimination (1975) legislation, and the right to paid maternity leave (1975). The Abortion Act did not give women the right to choose, but made it legal for abortions to be carried out with the approval of two doctors under certain circumstances. In effect it decriminalised what women had been doing for centuries, just as the 1967 Sexual Offences Act (partially) decriminalised homosexual acts between men.

    Making abortion illegal in 1861 had not stopped it, and the 1967 Act did not encourage it: it just made the difference between a woman dying as a consequence, or surviving. (In Romania, abortion was illegal until 1989: but abortions still outnumbered live births – in 1987 by four to one.) I remember providing accommodation to Spanish women coming to the UK for abortions before 1985, when it became legal in Spain, and from the Republic of Ireland before the end of 2018 when it was legalised there.

    However, the 1967 Abortion Act, like the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, was not the end of the matter. There were several attempts to repeal or considerably amend the Abortion Act, such as the White Bill, the Corrie Bill and the Alton Bill, which gave rise in turn to their own protest movements. A very large demonstration against the Corrie Bill was called by the TUC (on the initiative of the Women’s TUC) in 1980, the first time in the world that a major trade union federation had called a demonstration on abortion rights; and another against the Alton Bill in 1988, again with the support of the trade union movement. None of these Private Member’s Bills was successful, but in the end the period during which abortion could be legally carried out was reduced to 24 weeks in 1990, by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.

    The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, based on the recommendations of the Committee of the same name, chaired by Mary Warnock, was passed in 1990. When it was originally passed it allowed access to infertility treatment, such as Artificial Insemination or In Vitro Fertilisation, at a cost (in money and patience, especially with IVF) but it also required the women who wanted medical assistance to become mothers, to conform to a very traditional view of motherhood and the family, as reflected in the attitudes of doctors, hospital ethical committees and the Warnock Committee at that time, and laid down in Codes of Practice. These were not medical decisions but social and moral ones.

    For example, to be “suitable” for treatment, a woman had to be living in a stable relationship with a man, and usually had to be able-bodied. Some clinics were reluctant to treat couples where the man was not in work, or the woman not prepared to give up work. Single women and lesbian couples were not usually eligible.  Tory MP David Wilshire made it clear in his speech that he was particularly concerned that “assisted conception” would not produce families dependent on the state, and another amendment was passed to include “the need of a child for a father”.

    Why is Reproductive Technology a Political Issue?

    Thirty years ago I wrote those words in a book called “Whose Choice?”, published at the time of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which became law in 1990. The question was why the Labour Movement should take up issues such as contraception, abortion and treatment of infertility, which were often seen as purely personal matters.

    My answer, on behalf of the (then) Manchester and Liverpool Labour Women’s Councils, was that it was our belief that decisions about whether or not to have children, how many to have, whether or not to have an abortion or use any of the technologies available to overcome or by-pass infertility, or to avoid having a child with disabilities, or to enable those of us who were lesbians to become parents, were all personal decisions to be taken by the individuals concerned, and not by the Church, the State or the Medical Profession.

    And since it is women who give birth to children and even now usually bear the main responsibility for child rearing, these decisions must primarily be theirs. As socialists we argue for women to have the maximum choice possible in the decisions that shape their lives.

    The campaign then – and still is now – was not just for legal rights, but for the practical means to realise them. In order for a working class woman to have the choices already available to richer women, she must have the economic means (a living wage or income), and necessary social arrangements, such as childcare and decent housing, so that she can choose to have a child. It means expanding the NHS, taking back control of the services that have been contracted out to the private sector, resisting any further attempts to privatise parts of the NHS, and running the NHS democratically so that women can have access to free and safe abortion, contraception, artificial insemination and IVF treatment.

    It means carrying out the research to find contraceptives that meet the needs identified by both women and men; research to enable women to have earlier abortions and make them safer; research into causes of infertility and its prevention; research into chromosomal and genetic disorders and their prevention; and research into products and services that would improve the lives of disabled people.

    All these things are entirely reasonable and technically possible; but they raise, in turn, important – essentially political – questions. Who does the research and in whose interests? The rubber goods manufacturers (for decades before the 1960s, clandestine or even illegal): the vulcanisation of rubber revolutionised birth control as well as road transport; but  nowadays research is dominated by the pharmaceutical industry. And of course the research is done to make a profit.

    The drug industry is one of the most research-intensive sectors: but it spends more on marketing and advertising than on research. That was the case when the last official UK Government report on the industry was published (The Sainsbury Report, HMSO, 1967) and it was even more the case, according to the most recent figures (OECD Main Science and Technology Indicators, annual, covering all OECD member countries in the year of publication.)

    Pressure to be first to market can lead to corner-cutting in testing: the most notorious case where this happened was Thalidomide, a tranquilliser that had been declared safe, and was explicitly prescribed, for pregnant women. But it caused major deformities in their babies who were, most notably, born either without some or all of their limbs or with major deformities in them.

    Although it was known by then that some drugs could cause foetal damage, it was not yet specifically a legal requirement to test for them, and the tests were not done. (Only the USA’s Food and Drug Adminstration refused to grant a licence for thalidomide to be prescribed, because the FDA official responsible insisted on having evidence on the foetal effects of the drug, which were not available.) Criticism of government “interference” in the affairs of business is very common in the United States (often framed as interference in the public’s right to choose – except women’s right to choose abortion). Today the FDA is still the butt of criticism of lack of freedom from government interference.

    The Warnock Report, on which the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill was based, commented on the lack of research into causes of infertility. This is still the case to some extent, though knowledge in this area has been increasing since the discussions around the Warnock Report and the debates on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

    But we can be sure that thorough studies, once publicised and popularised, will lead to increased demands for improved health and safety at work; and for the replacement of industrial processes, chemicals and other materials causing infertility; and that responding to these demands would threaten profits. A thorough study would also raise questions about the under-funding of the NHS and the number of diseases that are not adequately diagnosed, or possibly not adequately treated, and which lead to infertility.

    The issue of women’s rights in reproduction is therefore a political and class question: not just because it is mainly working class women and men who are affected by lack of choice and unsafe working conditions, but also because the ability of all women to have a real choice will only be possible as a result of the struggle of working class women and men to change society. This means campaigning on reproductive rights as well as on better housing, higher wages and defence of the NHS. It especially means we must control the resources of society and organise them for need rather than profit.

    St Mary’s Department of Reproductive Medicine (DRM) – Summary of Background Briefing

    St Saint Mary’s Hospital, Manchester, was founded in 1790. Today it provides a wide range of medical services, mainly for women, babies and children. It is highly regarded for teaching and research, and has an internationally recognised Genomics Centre and Department of Reproductive Medicine (DRM). The DRM employs 70 staff and delivers clinical, laboratory and counselling services for about 3000 patients a year. Most of St Mary’s services and research activity is carried out in a building dating from the late 1960s. In 2009 paediatric services were transferred to the newly built Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital on the same site.

    The issue at the centre of the protest is that the DRM is housed in the Old St Mary’s Building (also on the same site) which dates from just after the death of Queen Victoria, and is in desperate need of repair. Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) believes that relocation of DRM within the Trust could cost up to £10 million just in capital expenditure, and is talking about privatisation.

    DRM offers a fertility assessment and infertility service. Artificial Insemination and IVF are offered to women who may benefit, on referral by a GP. This can be both NHS funded and private – the latter for women for whom it is clinically appropriate but whose CCG would not fund the necessary cycles of treatment. It offers a fertility preservation service for patients who wish to preserve eggs or sperm while having medical treatment – eg for cancer – that might affect future fertility. DRM offers sperm-testing and specialist treatment for patients whose sperm has been identified as presenting fertility issues; and on the other hand post-vasectomy checks.

    An anonymous or by-arrangement sperm-donation service is also offered to lesbians, and to heterosexual women either without a partner or who cannot conceive with their partner’s sperm for any reason. The Department also offers a reproductive endocrinology service which focuses on the way in which hormones affect fertility; and specialist counselling to any of the patients using their services. DRM runs the national proficiency scheme involving distribution to other reproductive medicine labs across the country and checks that the results are consistent. Finally, the Department makes a significant contribution to fertility research in conjunction with the University of Manchester.

    In early March the Trust briefed all service staff that they would undertake a 12 month options appraisal exercise to identify whether the service should remain within the Trust or be re-commissioned elsewhere. (Since the pandemic this has been put back.) The unions argue:

    • that there would be significant capital costs involved in privatising the service, which would have to be borne by the hospital (eg to store embryos – the store would need to remain on the site and continue to be run, inspected and managed by MFT, because the cost of doing otherwise would be prohibitive).
    • that the service is unique in Greater Manchester, and to a large extent in the entire North West Region.
    • It has significant associated capital and operational costs so other NHS trusts are likely to be reluctant to bid to host the service.
    • The private sector may offer an option that appears to be cheaper, but offers a far lower level of service than that currently provided at St Mary’s – but the NHS might be obliged to accept the private bid, because it is lower.

    The unions are also concerned about the impact of any potential future privatisation of the service for many reasons, including:

    • St Mary’s offers specialist care to a number of people with Protected Characteristics under the Equality Act 2010, which might not be available under private sector provision.
    • The services offered by St Mary’s are highly specialised – Trafford CCG ring-fenced them on behalf of all the CCGs in Greater Manchester, not requiring them to participate in an IVF procurement exercise in 2019 for this reason.
    • The andrology service works with eg men with Cystic Fibrosis who are often infertile and need surgery if they wish to have a chance of creating a family, and another specialist service involving the only UK-based partnership with the long established FAIRFAX cryo-spermbank.
    • The National External Quality Assessment Scheme for reproductive medicine is currently based in the DRM laboratories. If DRM was closed or moved, this would need a new home, too.
    • The kind of research investment and relationship with academic institutions that St Mary’s has would not be replicated in private sector provision where profits have to be made.
    • Despite assurances from MFT, the unions believe that the terms and conditions of the staff in the private sector, if they had to move and could do so, would not be as good as those in the NHS under the Agenda for Change national pay system.
    • In other areas where NHS services have been privatised, there has often been an erosion of terms and conditions, and of collective bargaining, either through attrition over time or an aggressive stance by employers. Unions believe that this is a significant risk.
    • The cost to fee-paying patients is less than the alternative provision in the private sector, and for NHS patients, the NHS pays via CCGs around £4000 per IVF cycle at St Mary’s, but significantly more (£5-6,000) to private providers per cycle.
    • The DRM is part of St Mary’s and both are located on the MFT Oxford Road Campus next to the University of Manchester. Patients with co-morbidities and other conditions which may have an impact on their fertility and associated treatments, can benefit from the expertise and clinical care available within MFT close to their fertility treatment. At the same time, staff can benefit from the close proximity of other specialisms which may be relevant to a patient’s ongoing care.

    The Next Stage in the Campaign to Save St Mary’s

    There will be a public meeting (via internet) hosted by Keep Our NHS Public as below. Please join us via Greater Manchester Keep Our NHS Public (GM KONP)’s Facebook page.

    PUBLIC MEETING: No privatisation of Manchester’s fertility service!
    Monday, 20 July 2020 from 19:00-20:30

    https://www.facebook.com/events/280845443022548/

    The fertility service provided by the Department of Reproductive Medicine at St Mary’s hospital, Manchester, faces privatisation. According to reports, Manchester Foundation Trust announced earlier this year that the service would go over to a private company in 2021. This would be a disaster for the service and future patients.

    Now the Trust has begun an “options appraisal” over the future of the service. We insist that the #1 option must be keeping it public and keeping it where it is. We demand a public consultation so the people of Manchester have their say.

    Join our online public meeting to hear about the situation and how we can campaign to win. There will be discussion after the speakers, who are:

    Denise Andrews, Unison union rep, DRM
    Liz Holland, Unite the Union branch secretary, MFT
    James Bull, Unison union regional officer

    Pia Feig, a feminist perspective
    Chaired by Caroline Bedale, Greater Manchester Keep Our NHS Public and Greater Manchester Socialist Health Association.

    This will be a Facebook Live event broadcast through the event page.

    Mailing address for

    Keep Our NHS Public Greater Manchester

    c/o KONP national, Unit 12-13 Springfield House 5 Tyssen Street

    LondonE8 2LY

    United Kingdom

    Vivien Walsh (Greater Manchester SHA)

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    https://youtu.be/1jFWY7WmPBA

    Campaigners and Lewisham residents offer thoughts and thanks to the NHS.

    The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign has launched a new video on the 72nd Birthday for the NHS on Sunday, 5th July 2020. The Campaign say: “In the middle of a global pandemic, with 65,000 deaths in the UK, some thanks and thoughts on the NHS 72nd birthday.”

    Happy birthday to the NHS – you were clapped but tories will not deliver the cash needed #NHSBirthday #SecondWave https://t.co/WOrG41PeDl

    — Alan Hall (@alan_ha11) July 5, 2020

    On this day, The Observer reports that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rushi Sunak refuses a £10 billion cash injection as Ministers have been warned that a second surge of Covid 19 infections let alone the now usual ‘winter pressures’ will leave the NHS “crippled” and “perilously unprepared”.

    The Government promised that the NHS would receive “whatever it needs” and NHS bosses claim that this pledge is to be broken now.

    Further claims that the Government’s chronic underfunding of the NHS will inevitably lead on to the fragmentation and privatisation of the NHS have been made.

    Interestingly, in the video a resident reflects by saying:

    “Stop using Covid as a cover to push through a restructuring of the NHS without public consultation.”

    Periodically, when cash has been tight in the NHS proposals surface to downgrade Lewisham Hospital’s A&E Department.

    Brian Fisher, a retired Lewisham GP, in the video says: “We continue to defend you [NHS] and fight for publicly funded social care.”

    In that spirit, Cllr Alan Hall has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak supporting Citizen’s UK asking for social care workers to be paid the London Living Wage locally.

    You’ve clapped, now’s the time to act! 🌈

    We know that care workers deserve a real Living Wage so here’s a little reminder that you can send to your MP.

    Help care workers get a real #LivingWage by clicking the link below 👇 https://t.co/iwlaKjaPex#LivingWage4KeyWorkers

    — Citizens UK (@CitizensUK) July 5, 2020

    Time to pay care workers a London Living Wage

    Citizen’s UK say: “Careworkers have been on the frontline of the UK’s fight against COVID-19, but a Real Living Wage would put them at the heart of our economic recovery too. Increasing pay to £9.30 an hour (£10.75 in London) would enable a million low-paid workers to start spending in local businesses and communities up and down the country.”

    The text of the letter is below.

    Dear Chancellor Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP,

    On the 72nd NHS Birthday, I am writing to you as a constituent to ask for your support for Citizens UK’s Living Wage for Careworkers Charter, which aims to ensure careworkers are paid the real Living Wage of £9.30 an hour (£10.75 in London).

    Those in the social care sector are at the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 and I know in our community so many care recipients and their families value their vital work.

    We have all been ‘clapping for carers’ on Thursday evenings in recognition of the danger they face, and yet they are often paid the minimum wage (also known as the National Living Wage) of £8.72 an hour.

    Citizens UK is calling for the UK government to invest the £1.4 billion that the Resolution Foundation estimates it would cost for every care sector worker, who delivers publicly–funded care, to be paid the real Living Wage of £9.30 per hour. This would allow careworkers to live with greater dignity and to escape from poverty pay.

    We know that the public, commissioners of social care such as local authorities, employers of care workers, and recipients of care would all like care workers to be paid the real Living Wage, but to do that we need additional investment from the UK Government.

    I really hope we can also count on your support for our campaign. Please let me know whether or not we can add your name to Citizens UK’s Living Wage for Careworkers Charter, which you can find below.

    Citizens UK’s Living Wage for Careworkers Charter:

    We all rely on the one million careworkers on the frontline of the UK’s fight against the pandemic. Careworkers have worked tirelessly throughout Covid-19 to look after the most vulnerable in our society – and have found themselves at risk, often without adequate PPE, and without the esteem afforded to NHS workers.

    Over half of frontline careworkers earn below the voluntary Living Wage of £9.30 an hour (£10.75 in London) and are struggling to keep their heads above water.

    As careworkers, care recipients, care commissioners, council leaders, politicians and community leaders, we all agree that no careworker deserves poverty pay. We have applauded careworkers on Thursday evenings – now is the time to match our applause with a guarantee that they will earn enough to live a decent life.

    We call on the UK Government to provide the £1.4 billion in additional funding so that every care sector worker that delivers publicly funded care can be paid at least the voluntary Living Wage of £9.30 an hour (£10.75 in London).

    Yours sincerely,

    Cllr Alan Hall

     

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    Doctors in Unite are concerned at the pace of the ideologically driven moves to ease Lockdown measures. The implication is that we will have to live with a baseline prevalence Covid-19 and within the shadow of a second surge

    We have launched an open letter to the Prime Minister on the issue as we fear that the Westminster government is displaying the greatest level of recklessness in this regard.

    https://doctorsinunite.com/2020/06/21/open-letter-to-the-prime-minister-about-the-uks-covid-19-strategy-from-nhs-and-social-care-workers/

    The campaign was triggered by the experience in many other countries that are pursuing a policy of eradication of Covid-19 as far as it is practical and the Crush the Curve campaign in Ireland (North and South).

    Posted by Brian Fisher on behalf of Doctors in Unite.

     

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    There will be nationwide celebrations on July 4th and 5th to mark the 72nd year of the NHS. Keep Our NHS Public and Health Campaigns Together are rallying round the occasion.

    Please follow this link for the first of a series of campaign materials and plans:

    OUR NHS DESERVES BETTER: 72nd anniversary coming soon

    SHA is disseminating these in support and solidarity. Please campaign locally and with SHA branches.

    Watch here for more soon!

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    Dear friends of the NHS

    Despite the three week lock-down the government has failed to keep us safe.

    @DefendOurNHS is increasingly frustrated and angry at the inadequate government response to the crisis*.

    Our message is simple. We ask you to adopt it and share it as widely as possible.

    The message is Test! Trace! PPE!

    The hashtag on twitter is #TestTracePPE.

    Let’s try to have a Twitter ‘storm’ at 5:00pm on Wednesday.

    Please use this message at every opportunity when contacting family, friends and the wider public.

    You might also include the message in the rainbow posters appearing in windows. Examples you can use are on our Facebook page (in the ‘files’ section’).

    When you go outside to clap and bang pans on Thursday, please chant Test! Trace! PPE!

    This appeal is urgent. Help us to get the word out now!

    Thank you.

    On behalf of Defend Our NHS

     

    • Bottom of the international virus testing league table, no sign of systematic contact tracing, health and care staff pleading on social media (including our Facebook page) for supplies of personal protective equipment.

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