By Steve Carne, Dec 28 2017 05:40PM
Another Christmas is over, the presents, the food, the snoozing in front the telly, no doubt a few family rows. Done and dusted.
As we edge towards another New Year and people are beginning to think about resolutions, new projects, new ideas, we're beginning to think about the symbolism of the turning of the calendar year with longer days of light ahead, dreams of Spring, new energy and that dangerous spirit of determination - HOPE
So where the hell is the HOPE?
Well... it lies in us, ordinary people putting ourselves back into politics with courage and determination to provide a healthier future for our children and generations ahead.
Hope lies in us gathering courage from each other to challenge the establishment and question the perverse Austerity logic of our elected representatives, the mechanisms of power, the media and big business. Drip down economics, tightening our belts cos we can't have what we can't afford... we can and will break that myth.
And here's believing that HOPE lies in our legal system. Because we are “marching” once more - this time to the High Courts to challenge NHS England. It seems sad and ironic that we are challenging the very institution that is supposed to be providing our healthcare. But we must and we need campaigners and public to march with us. We are challenging their decision to introduce an Accountable Care Organisation Contract which could allow USA style healthcare to end our NHS.
We're fighting through the courts because we believe the new contract will:
• threaten the core NHS principle of comprehensive healthcare for all who need it by restricting access to elective treatments - cataract removals, hip & knee ops etc.
• speed up the development of a two tier system where those with money pay to go private and the rest are left with a reduced NHS
• increase NHS privatisation, and potentially put private health companies in a position of control over local NHS and social care services.
Just 3 days before Christmas
Our lawyers, Leigh Day, contacted us with the news that a judge had considered our claimant papers and had (with little doubt it seems) seen the value of our legal arguments and granted permission for a full Judicial Review of the decision by NHS England to introduce their 'Draft' ACO Contract.
This was a genuine surprise. We'd been told that most likely any news would be after the festive holidays. But it's a welcome surprise genuinely filled with hope. At some point, after February 16th 2018, a date will be set and 999 Call for the NHS will be standing opposite NHS England in the High Court .
Like many fellow campaigners, we firmly believe this ‘draft’ Accountable Care Organisation Contract radically changes the nature of the NHS. Strangely it's based on the USA Medicare/Medicaid system - globally recognised as the world's WORST healthcare system (expensive and rubbish!). Medicare only covers a limited basic menu of treatment leaving those who can afford it to pay for private healthcare and those who can't to go without.
What happened to the fundamental principles of providing a full comprehensive range of clinical care for everyone who needs it? The core of the once world-leading British National Health Service.
This Judicial Review is a huge Public Interest case
The judge obviously agreed because we were also granted a Capped Costs Order (CCO) which means, if we lost, we would pay a fixed sum of £25,000 not the entire costs that NHSE could try to claim (they had temporarily successfully scared us with a threat of £170,000 and if we had not been granted the CCO we would have had to have pulled out).
We had fingers crossed that the judge would agree to the £15k we had already raised with the public's generosity but even though the CCO sum is £25k it shows that the judge has seen the merits of our case statements and we must take hope and courage from that. As a team we spent the day before Christmas Eve email-wrangling through the judge's decision. Could we afford another £12,000? Would the public join us in raising this extra money?
In the end it was a unanimous decision. Going to court, setting up another round of CrowdJustice fundraising was the only option on the table. We owe it ourselves, our fellow campaigners and the country.
"Hope lies in ordinary people putting themselves in extraordinary circumstances".
Well one of these extraordinary circumstances has arrived.
You can find out about the case on our Judicial Review page .
This case is for everyone. It affects all of us. We hope you can join us and help us.
LIKE and SHARE this blog. Tell your friends about the case and that we will be launching Stage 3 of our CrowdJustice fundraising appeal very soon.
Here's to Hope.