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999 Call for the NHS

A grassroots NHS campaign. Not affiliated to any of the political parties.

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By 999 Call for the NHS, Apr 15 2016 01:01PM

Either they're stupid or duplicit. Or both.
Either they're stupid or duplicit. Or both.

A lovely lovely thing happened this morning. On social media in a rambling post about local councillors & Clinical Commissioning Groups making an absolute cock-up of proceedings around public consultations and providing information - well let's be honest HIDING information, producing classic i-Arse facts and goobledegook, and plain lies!

But out of that feeling of despair when you just can't figure out how to fight these awful monstrous individuals who seem hell-bent on killing Our NHS - they really do - comes something delightful from a campaigner somewhere in the ether. The question came up "are they really thick or are they in on the whole thing?" And then the new lovely word we should all get put into the English Dictionary


Are those in positions of decision making and power genuinely stupid or are they aware of the catastrophic damage being done to the NHS, and the country, and just dont give a shit?

Duplicitous. Knowing. Stuplicity.

It's a question campaigners are constantly having to ask themselves as they sit in dull, "pins in my eyes would be more beneficial" CCG meetings, Scrutiny Committees, Health & Wellbeing Boards, Healthwatch, NHS England consultations... As they engage with politicians, Union Officials, local dignatories, local media...

Right now local CCG's, NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts, GPs, local authorities are all being squeezed into something called the Sustainability & Transformation Plan which is a sealant strategy designed to make the Five Year Forward View concrete - think concrete boots.

By June 16th, NHS Trusts, coerced into working with local authoriites and 3rd Sector organisations have to come up with a plan to show how they are are going to dramatically improve services whilst cutting cutting cutting.... SLASHING. So look forward to lots of iApps, digital innovation and secretive meetings where the public can't reach.

The NHS is about to be divided up into 44 Footprints. Where that lovely term has come from no one knows but no doubt some oik in a suit with a good grasp of Excel came up with that gem. And got paid millions no doubt because that is what we come to expect from the likes of Ernst & Young, McKinsey, Price Waterhouse Coopers. Trouble is describing these "footprints" is damn near impossible. Currently campaigners are struggling to grasp the sense behind it because it is clouded in layer upon layer of jargon, confusing terminology, and official document (pass the pins please) formatting. And we're getting there.

A terrfyingly dull NHS England version is here STP ONE

An excellent link written by campaigners who have worked really hard to understand it is this one. STP TWO

Using the new word STUPLICITY we'd like to invite you to pick up the phone, write a quick email and ask your

local councillors

local MPs

local Clinical Commissioning Group

local Scrutiny Committee

local Health & Wellbeing Board

local Healthwatch

local NHS Trust

community leaders

and charity organisations like Macmillan, Age UK, MIND.

Then ask the Sustainability and Transformation Plan leaders... STUPLICITY GROUP LEADERS

You keep talking about increasing services and improving quality. But everything points to cutting services and reducing quality in staff and resources.

Are you really stupid? Or are you in on it? The destruction of our NHS.

By 999 Call for the NHS, Feb 14 2016 12:21PM

Multi-media makes us more aware?
Multi-media makes us more aware?

Georgia Lewis from the KOSHH (Keep Our St Helier Hospital) offers sounds advice.

The standard of reporting on stories in the mainstream British media about the NHS is frequently lazy, inaccurate, incomplete or just poor. We shouldn’t expect the standard of reporting on NHS stories to improve any time soon so we have put together some helpful tips for journalists who report on the NHS.

1. "NHS bosses" is a lazy term constantly used by journalists. While the term is OK for a headline where space is tight and the attention of readers needs to be grabbed, it is too vague for proper reporting. Within a report, the journalist should always clarify exactly who the "NHS bosses" are. Do they mean hospital trusts? Clinical commissioning groups? Simon Stevens? Jeremy Hunt? Chances are, the reporter is referring to either trusts or CCGs. This needs to be made clear from the outset.

2. When reporters for national newspapers and news channels are referring to trusts and CCGs when they talk of "NHS bosses", it needs to be made clear that these bodies make different decisions in different areas. The way stories such as the personal health budgets funding "treats" and the NHS funding gluten-free food were reported in recent weeks seldom made it clear that these funding decisions vary wildly between areas. Instead, we ended up with a warped narrative that made it sound like the NHS was morphing into a giant, nationwide hybrid of Greggs and Butlins.

3. It is important that readers and viewers are aware of what CCGs actually are. As NHS campaigners, we need to keep in mind that not everyone understands what a CCG is or the powers they have to make massive decisions about our vital health services - they are making decisions on everything from gluten-free food and IVF to hospital cuts and closures.

4. We realise that it can be hard to explain what a CCG is in every single media report. However, for journalists whose work appears online, it is easy to provide links to pages that can explain what CCGs are. Despite the limitations of broadcast time or space in print media, even a brief one-liner to explain CCGs would be helpful.

Clinical Commissioning Group - do people know what they do?
Clinical Commissioning Group - do people know what they do?

5. CCGs are just one outcome of the Health and Social Care Act 2012. If you are reporting on the NHS, you have the responsibility of reading this act as it has shaped the NHS as we know it today. If you are interviewing an MP who voted for this act, ask them if they regret voting for the act. Ask them if they take responsibility for any negative outcomes that can be directly attributed to this act.

6. When you are reporting about something that has gone wrong in the NHS, it should not be used as a stick with which to beat the entire NHS or a rallying cry to close down entire hospitals. When something goes wrong, it should be an opportunity for improvement, for ensuring that "never incidents" never happen again. Find out what trusts and CCGs are doing to make improvements if something goes wrong and hold them to account. If people are killed or injured, they should not be seen as collateral damage, as a reason to cut services.

7. When something goes wrong in the NHS, investigate properly. Find out if any private companies may have been involved. If there is an outbreak of infection in a hospital, for example, find out if the cleaning has been contracted out to the private sector, ask about the cleaning company's training procedures and how well their employees are paid. Is the incident related to staff shortages? Is the trust relying heavily on agency staff? Are patients receiving inconsistent care because of a lack of permanent staff?

Always check who's hiding behind it...
Always check who's hiding behind it...

8. It is especially important to find out about the extent of private company involvement in the NHS, especially when things go wrong or if CCGs and trusts are spending our money on private management consultancy firms. Unfortunately, private companies are exempt from FOI requests. This makes it hard to properly report on the NHS. This is quite deliberate, a conscious attempt to reduce transparency and keep people unaware.

You can and should make FOI requests of CCGs and trusts in relation to their private sector partners. You might not get a complete answer because of commercial confidentiality, but this should be noted in your report. You should also ask the private companies involved for comment whenever it is relevant and note in your report if they refuse to comment or did not return phonecalls or reply to emails.

9. Attend CCG and trust board meetings, especially if you work in the local media. They are open to the public. They are where big decisions are made and hard questions should be asked. Such meetings are usually held during working hours so it is difficult for many people to attend. The media has a responsibility to attend such meetings and report on what is said. This should be seen by local and regional journalists as being as important as attending council meetings.

10. Find out about vested interests, especially on CCGs. Clinical commissioning groups, as the name suggest, commission services, they spend our money. If CCG members have vested interests in private healthcare providers, they should not be commissioning health services. If you are reporting on a CCG, find out if their declared interests have been published online. If not, call them out on it.

Corproate Consultants are embedded in NHS?
Corproate Consultants are embedded in NHS?

11. Ask local campaigners for comment. We are always happy to talk to the media, may have good information from meetings we have attended, such as CCG meetings, and might offer you perspectives that you had not previously considered.

If you have any more tips for good reporting on the NHS? Please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

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