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By 999callfornhs, Nov 9 2016 03:55PM

The latest spurt of Killer Clowns made me smile as 999 had just produced another batch of Corporate Clown cards. I kept hoping one would appear outside the Dept of Health where the real killer clowns live. Maybe one day.

Then one of the network sent me a link to a rather wonderful activitst blog from 2012 and that made me chuckle in an even darker way. And it's a distinct reminder that good people, informed people have been fighting this battle - stopping the privatisation by stealth of our NHS - for many many years. In the last 6 months we've met retired consultants who have been battling since the 1980's, retired nurses who have been fighting since the 90's, ordinary folk who have - like most of us - accidentally fallen into the NHS universe of corporate hell and won't let go. Not until we have won. And we will.

Because the darkness is too much to subject our kids and grandkids to. The lies and deciets employed by successive governments of the last 25yrs are too great to let go unanswered. People will be punished for their criminal acts. Destroying a public institution with corporate smiles and the suits of KPMG, Ernst& Young, Price Waterhouse Cooper & McKinsey plus that entourage of corporate killer clown siblings - they wlll be pulled short. And on the whole - once you've swallowed the blue pill - you can't give up, you can't unsee the awful clever cheating that the corporate killer clowns are carrying out.

And there are many different ways of fighting back. Humour is one way that thankfully is on our side. This blog from 2012 is a really fun (dark I warn you) way of highlighting the problems. And it may inspire you to do something similar.

Have fun.

Steven Carne


Going private?

My reply to a job offer from a private health company (July 2012)

What the heck is this? I’ve been trying and failing to stop the government from privatising the National Health Service for years, and now a private healthcare company has contacted me about a job!

The email from Care UK says they are “seeking a Media Relations Executive for our Head Office based in Colchester and your skills and experience appear to be a good match.” Huh? They are offering a “competitive salary, 25 days holiday and corporate discounts.”

Here’s what I have replied:

Dear Laura,

Thank you for your unexpected email about the Media Relations Executive job with Care UK. I am very interested. Since Care UK is possibly the leading private healthcare company making inroads into the NHS, I would relish the opportunity to publicise what it does – indeed, this is precisely what I was trying to do in my previous job as information officer for Keep Our NHS Public (on a much smaller budget, I’m sure). That must be what you were referring to when you said my skills and experience are “a good match”.

As you can imagine, I am brimming with ideas. If you don’t mind, I would like to set them out here. First of all, I think much more needs to be done to let the public know what Care UK is. Hardly anyone realises just how big a chunk of the NHS you now run, from GP surgeries and walk-in centres to treatment units doing things like bunions. If I were your Media Relations Executor I would promote this aggressively to build the brand. I think the public has a vague idea about NHS privatisation, but they aren’t yet able to put a face to the name, so to speak. Care UK’s name could be that face. As a profit-making healthcare company owned by a private equity firm you are perfectly positioned.

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By 999callfornhs, Oct 22 2016 05:00PM

I love my job. NHS Staff do this for the love. Not profit
I love my job. NHS Staff do this for the love. Not profit

It’s been some time since I wrote so I thought it’s time for an update!

The struggle for the NHS is ongoing, and long may it continue. The Junior Doctor struggle has, of course this week passed through the High Court with a ruling that some see as a win, some see as a loss. I have to say at the outset, I am filled with admiration for my Justice for Health colleagues – how many of us would put our names and our careers out there for all to see and engage in such a public battle? For me it has been a breathtakingly brave journey and these Doctors will remain in my mind for many years. Currently, despite their best efforts, it looks like the Junior Doctor contract will be imposed, despite Mr Hunt’s assertions that he didn’t intend this. What does it all mean?

My understanding is that this contract was designed to address a truly seven-day NHS but essentially in a cost-neutral way, meaning no extra funding. This means that imposing the Junior Doctor contract stretches an already under-resourced workforce across a seven-day period. Let’s be clear, our current NHS workforce struggles to cope with the demands placed on it now and, as many have argued, without further resourcing this contract cannot safely be achieved. As has been debated by many, with no further resourcing this means that Doctors will be doing unsafe shift patterns and this will have an inevitable impact on the role of the nurse, on our patients and on overall NHS service provision because there are only so many Doctors to go around. Long shift patterns leading to severely disrupted sleep patterns and resulting tiredness, and leaving little time to socialise or have a life could lead to more mistakes, in an environment where mistakes are costly. As Doctors have claimed, the imposition of the new contract will result in Doctors leaving the NHS at a time when more, not fewer, are needed.

To me, this contract seems a bit like punishing NHS Doctors for working hard, going the extra mile, and sometimes working on goodwill alone. My colleagues work tirelessly to make patients better; in the NHS we try to make life easier and safer for patients; we work collaboratively to ensure the very best outcome is achieved for patients – we have no desire to see the NHS fail, to see its demise, or to take part in its wholesale destruction. Nurses, Doctors and allied healthcare professionals want our patients to get well, we want our patients to have a good experience of our care and we strive to deliver a service that the public will be happy with. So, when the same public ask why the NHS isn’t working any more, I would advise that they look to this government, not NHS staff. Quite frankly, we can’t work any harder.

This would be a good place to say that I absolutely love my job! Seriously, it is the most rewarding career in the world. My patients and my colleagues make being a nurse worthwhile. And working in an organisation like the NHS is priceless. The teamwork in the NHS is breathtaking – on an average day a nurse like me can talk to at least six other practitioners about one patient; such conversations take place to ensure the right pathway for the patient, often to keep them safe. This week I like to think that, with the assistance of many others, I have helped several patients to cope with damaging physical and emotional symptoms; sometimes with medication, sometimes with a listening ear, sometimes with a hug, sometimes by arranging another step on their journey, and always with empathy – the possibilities to help someone are endless and my job affords me this privilege. It can be the most rewarding of things to lighten someone’s burden.

I will continue to fight for the NHS and my patients – because to me these two are inextricably intertwined. My patients deserve the best of care and I believe that the NHS delivers it. So, I will march for the NHS, I will shout for it and I encourage all parties to do the same. I will fight further NHS cuts to budgets. I will continue to support my colleagues – their input is vital for patient welfare and, importantly, they are good human beings. I will do this because I believe the NHS does work; it sees record numbers of patients every day; to listen to the media however, we fail at every juncture. So who is right? Only the public can solve this conundrum by declaring what they want, what works, and by being open about what we do well; until they do, the sand in the hour-glass is slowly flowing towards a breakdown of the NHS that no collaboration, no medication and no hug will fix.

READ MORE from Twitter Nurse

By 999callfornhs, Oct 7 2016 12:50AM

I like Sandra Bullock. Always have despite making some rubbish on the whole I like her dry humour, whimsical yet earthy performances. Reecntly, on the flight back home from the USA - another time I’ll try to explain why that country made so much more sense this visit - I encountered an odd movie starring Sandra Bullock & Billy Bob Thornton. A Hollywood social conscience film OUR BRAND IS CRISIS.

CRISIS. The word has bugged me for a long while now as it’s thrust on us daily through television reports, radio interviews, newspaper columns, political statements. Over and over as many times as possible we are bombarded with it. So naturally I was attracted to the film’s title. See? It works. In the film, apparently based on true accounts, Sandra Bullock plays “Calamity Jane”, a former political strategist now living in retreat (somewhere in the mountains) because she refuses to deal with the cut-throat world of political scheming and cheating. However she is enticed back into the game once more to help a dubious Presidential candidate win an election in Bolivia. Why? Challenge or something similar in the familiar American spirit of fighting the good fight.

I’ll refrain from telling you every detail but suffice to say that after a shaky start Sandra Bullock’s character comes up with a startling plan. She lays into her American team of “democracy defenders”.

Lets talk about fear.

Our story is Bolivia is facing the worst period in its turbulent history.

This is no longer an election. This is a crisis.

And our brand. What we are selling?


A good review from the SALON tackles the issues of an American political team interfering with politics in Latin America. What are they doing there? Where is the money coming from? But watching it made me think - not of Latin America but our situation here in the UK. The way in which this very same political philosophy is being used against us, especially right now in regards to the NHS and all our public services. A&E CRISIS. Junior Doctor CRISIS. Nurses CRISIS. Ambulance Waiting Times CRISIS. Hospitals CRISIS. Increasing Demand CRISIS. Sustainability CRISIS...

Just like manipulating the people of Bolivia into believing that there is no hope, no future in gambling on a man of the people with no political experience to rescue the nation, so we are told constantly that there is no future in a public National Health Service. It’s in CRISIS and we the people have to put our faith in the establishment politicians and NHS England experts who have years of experience. These politicians who have sat in power and are responsible for nothing more than creating and promoting the illusion of CRISIS. Surely these are the only politicians who can redeem the failing NHS from its long term suffering and help us the people to survive with our beloved healthcare intact?

WRONG. The CRISIS we face truly is one of political hypnosis control.

Lets all chant... we are in a CRISIS.


Am I wrong? I’m still mulling it over. More next time. Thoughts welcome...

By 999callfornhs, Jul 26 2016 08:08PM

Is it SAFE?
Is it SAFE?

I've just spent the best part of 2 hours laid flat on my back with my mouth forced wide open with plastic and metal while the dentist drilled, sprayed and drilled repeatedly to complete the dreaded minor surgery that is the Root Canal. It's fairly hideous. First the injection to numb, then the pick, then the drill. Drills. Slow sledgehammer to ultra-thin needles to scrape and purge the nerve. 45mins of NHS torture which will cost me £53.80. Bargain.

But it's not over. Disinfectant which lets the back of your throat know what the toilet bowl feels being sprayed by Harpic. Finally the filling and the joy of prepping the tooth for a crown. Irony. You drill for 45mins. Fill the hole. Then drill again!

What's all this got to do with the NHS I hear you ask? Well... as an NHS patient I had to decide what quality of crown i wanted - or rather which grade of crown I thought was worth paying for. A standard NHS crown was £200. I didnt go into great detail but that basically would be a strong but incredibly ugly piece of metal. The slightly better one was £400 and this would have been very strong and durable but not white. Then the final option - the "best" - was the £500 Zirconium ( i think I cant honestly remember because I'm still reeling at the price three weeks after being told) which is strong and made to match the colour of your own teeth.

Throughout the whole ordeal of bleach and burning enamel

I was thinking long and hard about the nature of the NHS we could lose and find ourselves lumbered with. The menu for treatment is a reality we have all gotten used to with the dentist. And it will become that way with NHS clinical treatment too. We won't lose the blue logo or the idea of the NHS but we will lose the "comprehensive and universal" element. It wont cover all emergencies and it won't cover everyone - just those who can afford to pay.

You'll turn up at A&E, or your consultant appointment and you will presented with a menu of options - Patient Choice no doubt will be the branding - and you will have to select what you think you can manage to cope with financially. Don't worry if you're not prepared with insurance or a fat bank balance - the basic will still be paid for by the general tax payer community. The basic cover. If you want a nice finish or a comfortable bed with breakfast and decent follow up care you might just need to go for the top-up options.

It has to be this way because the new model of NHS being imposed on us now by NHS England and NHS Improvement (love that name) needs to keep the internal market in control of our NHS. It has to be Sustainable you see... find out about Sustainability

How else are private providers going to keep increasing profits year after year?

In the USA the medical insurance profession has produced a system that gives them the most profit. Obamacare and Medicare cover the basics of healthcare - even then you really have to fight for it - and then if you can afford it you can pay dividends, top-up fees. It's a "pay-as-you-go-if-you-can" system. And, to use the American venacular, it SUCKS!

According to Investopedia : A study done at Harvard University indicates that this is the biggest cause of bankruptcy, representing 62% of all personal bankruptcies. One of the interesting caveats of this study shows that 78% of filers had some form of health insurance, thus bucking the myth that medical bills affect only the uninsured.

Read more: Top 5 Reasons Why People Go Bankrupt | Investopedia http://www.investopedia.com/slide-show/top-5-reasons-why-people-go-bankrupt/#ixzz4FXWecRym

This makes even worse reading : CBNC REPORT

Here in the UK the government know it would be political suicide if they declared an end to the NHS. So it's safer to keep the blue logo flying. Safer to disguise the layers of "pay-if-you-can" and pretend it is still the NHS that is the public's head - free at the point of use unless you want "the best". But if you watch and listen carefully they are telling us. It's coming to the end.

Jeremy Hunt in this video (courtesy of our friends KOSHH): Keep Our St Helier Hospital

And Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS MEDICAL DIRECTOR, in his Report on Urgent Care said: "We already have a two tier system and all we (NHS England) are doing is formalising that and bringing an inconvenient truth to the attention of the public". LINK

But the reality is, as NHS campaigner's are fully aware, we could lose everything that is caring about our NHS. The ability to provide what was once the world's best healthcare, the best medical training of nurses, doctors and clinical staff, the best research, the best influence and control on the mammoth financial monster that is the pharmaceutical drug industry.

If you can understand how the system works for the dentist you'll understand where the new NHS is heading. NHS Basic, NHS Better, NHS Best. Depending on what you think you can afford.

Oh... I'm lucky. I have a credit card. I chose the best. I'll be paying for it for the next six months.

But we can stop it. We need the Best NHS - an world-class institution founded once more according to Bevan's vision of a society caring for its citizens' health. A return to a fully public NHS - funded by us, run by us and accountable to us - can only happen if we pressurise our MPs to act out our wishes.

And this is why we need more fighters. Find a campaign group near you, talk to your friends, your neighbours, your workmates. Together the public really could make a difference. The best difference.


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