Applause for the concept of a small parties’ coalition: SNP, Plaid Cymru, and Greens – could NHAP work with this?
Underlining the need for the NHS, Colchester Hospital has declared a “major incident” following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which found staff struggling to cope with “unprecedented demand” and raised “safeguarding concerns”
On BBC1’s Question Time this week, Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood, put forward this scenario; looking at the latest National Health Action campaigns, the NHAP seems to be a worthy candidate to work with the other parties.
Co-leader Dr Clive Peedell has contacted the newly appointed NHS advisor, Sir Stuart Rose, and the current and future NHS Chief Executives, Sir David Nicholson and Simon Stevens. His open letter, published in the Health Service Journal, ends:
- “There will never be effective NHS clinical leadership and followership, and successful NHS reform until the failed market based policies of the last 25 years are abandoned and the medical and nursing professions are brought back into the policy making process”.
He finished with a quote from Arnold Relman, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Harvard University and former editor of the New England Journal Medicine, which sums up the situation: “Medical professionalism cannot survive in the current commercialised healthcare market. The continued privatisation of healthcare and the continued prevalence and intrusion of market forces in the practice of medicine will not only bankrupt the healthcare system, but also will inevitably undermine the ethical foundations of medical practice and dissolve the moral precepts that have historically defined the medical profession.”
- Leading members of NHAP are calling for the ATOS assessments to be scrapped – and a new system be introduced that ensures doctors are properly consulted.
Cambridgeshire representative, John Hully condemns the possible merger of world-famous Papworth Hospital with a failing hospital 30 miles away.
- He says it’s disgraceful that the distinguished & profitable Papworth heart and lung transplant hospital may be forced by the Treasury into a partnership with Peterborough City Hospital, 30 miles away, in order to balance the books of failing Peterborough City Hospital which is saddled with PFI debts, adding:
“Such a move defies all advice and the needs of patients, and is based purely on short-term financial considerations. This situation underlines the need for decisive government action to lift the burden of the unaffordable PFI scheme from Peterborough and Stamford NHS Trust to allow it to concentrate on delivering care to local patients . . .“
- London GP and Euro-candidate Dr Louise Irvine has launched a strong attack on the planned closures of A&E departments in North West London.
The soundness of the estimates in plans to close four A&Es in north west London, outlined in “Shaping a Healthier Future” are inconsistent with research figures from the Department of Health. They underestimate how many people will have to go to A&Es in other hospitals by tens of thousands a year and Dr Irvine fears that this can only lead to chaos in other hospitals in the capital. She also examines the DoH claim that they are not closing the A&E at Charing Cross Hospital but making it into a “local A&E”:
“That “local A&E” will be run by GPs and not by Emergency Department doctors, it will not accept patients who are arriving by blue-light ambulance and it will not be able to admit seriously ill patients”.
Would the SNP, Plaid Cymru, and Greens agree?
Plutocratic Britain: health service ‘floor staff’ are denied a 1% rise but well-paid MPs are offered 9%
Reward for costly failure
A senior Cabinet minister is reported to have told The Times: “We’ve made three mistakes that I regret, the first being restructuring the NHS. The rest are minor.”
Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer, adds – in an interesting account on Cornwall’s Pirate FM – that this was a very expensive mistake, estimating that £3 billion was wasted on NHS reorganisation while £13.5 billion of NHS services have been offered to the private sector and over £1 billion returned from the NHS to the Treasury.
1% rise: alleged to cost only £500m
Government has accepted the IPSA recommendation of a 9% pay rise next year for MPs (an extra £7000 p/a) but decided to ignore the independent Pay Review Body recommendation of a 1% pay rise for 2014/15 for 60% of NHS staff and 70% of nurses. The Guardian reports that increasing salaries by this amount would add only £500m to the pay bill.
Stuart Roden from Unison told Pirate FM: “Morale was pretty low anyway. People are under a lot of pressure. The hospital has been virtually full for weeks on end . . .Our action is aimed at the government to try to persuade them. They honoured their own pay review body for MPs’ salaries yet they’re stopping it for low paid NHS workers.”
These events reinforce the foreboding expressed by Oliver Huitson in 2011, as political decisions continue to hit the lower income groups who cannot afford private healthcare:
“The political class have busied themselves selling off the national inheritance, leaving nothing to future generations but debt. The NHS is now being privatised without a public mandate, in the face of warnings from across the medical profession and independent bodies and in clear breach of an electoral pledge. Both the Tory party and Lansley himself have received substantial payments from the firms who will profit from the break-up of our health service. “We may not quite be an “elective dictatorship”, but this does have the feel of a nation sinking into an elective plutocracy”.
Will even more people now take up membership of the ‘patients not profits’ National Health Action Party?
A new party, co-founded by two doctors – former MP Richard Taylor and oncologist Dr Clive Peedell – with virtually no public awareness, no media coverage, and no money, resources or local party infrastructure, gained quite a good result in the recent elections.
The National Health Action Party (NHAP) – set up to defend the NHS and its values – polled 23,253 votes, coming 9th out of 17 parties in a very crowded field in London’s Euro election. Local election candidates around the country on average polled 20% more than the Lib Dems, 50% more than the Greens and took almost 20% of the Labour vote, gaining an average of 6% of the total vote.
NHAP condemns this government’s ‘clear agenda to increasingly privatise and commercialise the NHS’.
Promoting this agenda, they write, the BBC and the Daily Telegraph revealed their allegiance today with ‘sickening’ headlines about the sad death of a baby from a contaminated drip.
Though the food was manufactured and supplied by ITH Pharma Limited, a private pharmaceutical company, the Telegraph used this distressing story as an excuse to attack the NHS, with its headline: “15 babies poisoned by NHS drips”. This afternoon the BBC website declared: “Three new baby NHS poisoning cases”.
After a storm of protest on twitter, both organisations changed their headlines. NHAP co-leader, Dr Clive Peedell, is making formal complaints to both the Press Complaints Commission and the BBC.
Two months ago, it was also revealed that the private healthcare firm Bupa was bribing their patients to use NHS services in order to maximise the company’s profit. Yet this scandal received only limited attention in our partisan media.
NHAP is thinking seriously about the most effective way to make more people aware they exist and to build on this positive start in the recent elections. They hope to ensure that the tens of thousands of Londoners who have publicly declared they are seriously concerned about running down and selling off the NHS grows to hundreds of thousands and then millions around the country.
Political alternatives 1: NHA Euro-election candidate, chair of the successful ‘Save Lewisham A&E’ campaign
News from GP Online, a website dedicated to supporting doctors in general practice in all aspects of their working lives, providing daily news, clinical and management resources, focused CPD and educational materials. Summary:
Lewisham GP Dr Louise Irvine – a leading campaigner for a group that defied health secretary Jeremy Hunt over plans to downgrade Lewisham hospital – will be running in the European elections, as a candidate for the National Health Action (NHA) Party, ‘formed by a group of like-minded healthcare professionals’ to challenge the government over NHS reforms.
Dr Irvine, chair of the successful ‘Save Lewisham A&E’ campaign, said that the NHS was under threat from a forthcoming US-EU trade deal. She hopes Londoners will vote for her to send a ‘powerful message’ to politicians in Westminster and Brussels to stop the demolition of the NHS.
Dr Irvine said: ‘I am standing because I care passionately about defending the NHS. I’ve been a London GP for 20 years and I have seen the damage done by this government’s policies of top-down reorganisation.
‘I want to alert the public to the gravity of the threat to the NHS from this government with its programme of cuts, hospital closures and privatisation and to send a powerful message to politicians in Westminster and Brussels that people will not stand by and let their NHS be destroyed.’
COMMENT FROM GP READER:
Time to out the open lie, that the NHS is not being privatised. We as GPs know it, the media know it, but like the emperor’s new clothes the true facts are still unclear to the general public . . . and personally I hope she wins and brings the truth out.
Time to stop the forced tendering of NHS services so the private sector can cherry pick contracts – cutting services in the name of finding efficiency, while just increasing profits for their companies.