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By 999callfornhs, Jan 4 2017 09:58AM

Steven Carne

NHS Campaigner with 999 Call for the NHS


Happy New Year. 2017.


Like many I tried, and with some surprise succeeded, in taking a break from the campaign mindset. You know the one.  The constant nagging, niggling, stabbing voices in your head that don't shut up no matter how hard you try to quieten them with books, television or phone calls to friends. Every activity only serves to reawaken them and echo their constant drone.


Christmas. Three days of loved ones sharing good food and a little drink here and there; three days putting the terror and horror of what is happening in both our domestic and international politics to one side; three days to focus on our human relationships; three days to remember who we are deep down, who we used to be before NHS campaigning and fighting for the good society took over our lives.

I jumped in the sea at Portreath on Christmas Day.


A windy cold grey Cornish day with "mizzle" in the air. I didn't have to work very hard at "getting in" as the six foot waves  quickly covered me before I had to walk too far into the frothy tide. Surfers in wetsuits and dogwalking emmets (tourists) watched bemused as a 17.5stone hairy ape in hawaii swimshorts headed towards the ocean.


Diving headfirst and feeling that cold rush all over was a great way to refresh the system, leave London and "upcountry" behind and remember the elemental aspects of my old homeland. I grew up on a surfing beach and knowing how to dive and survive 9ft waves is something that stays inside like riding a bike. Concentrating on the water flow and my breathing as the cold wrapped my lungs there was no room for Clinical Commissioning Groups, lying Chief Execs, duplicitous businessmen and women who smile  too much, vicious political activists who refuse to listen, journalists who don't seem able to understand,  ineffectual MPs, local councils that don't know their arse from their Scrutiny Committee... all this was washed away in the icy salty wash.  And I loved it. Freedom.


Three days of simple social activity - smiling, walking, laughing, sleeping, old friends, old memories, - three days over and I dip my toe in the social media swell. Familiar waves of information, comment and opinion wash over my feet. I'm just paddling because i need to know the water. Even the smallest waves can lead to a sudden freak wave that hits you before you can steady yourself to dance with it.


Familiar ripples roll gently in - hospital cuts, stories of wonderful NHS Staff, local tragedies, newspaper articles and then there it is... tugging at our feet, the familiar undertow of anger, rage and frustration  that we all feel gripping from within and threatening to pull us under, dragging us helplessly into the murky depths of cold icy desperation. It's a dark ugly unseen force you have to fight hard to stay upright, one slip and you'll topple and find yourself on your back being swept along with the drag and pull of the outgoing tide. A very different kind of swimming.


2017 - Our winter of discontent. The ocean swell is huge, dark grey black stormclouds froth heavy on the horizon. And we stand on the shore witnessing the chaotic and jagged waves of political disaster - a government led by pure greed and self-interest, an opposition of weak, confused, embittered politicians who have lost  their moral compass and any guts to fight for us. It’s ugly and battling it is ugly. Ugliness abounds in the boardrooms of NHS England, the meeting rooms of Parliament, the sleepy benches of the Lords. Ugly.


But we have to remember ourselves, know who we are and understand that together we can swim in those waves and survive them. We have grace and beauty within us as well as rage, horror, dark knowledge and despair. And reading the waves it’s time to dive in and swim.


We must build our own opposition right now, lock our feet in the sand and stand up to the waves of corruption that are rushing over us. Otherwise we lose all that is precious to us. We lose the caring society we all thought we had, we lose the safe world we thought our kids and grandkids would enjoy for a long time ahead.



If you would like to write a piece for our blog contact us info@999callfornhs.org.uk






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.


FIND A CAMPAIGN GROUP




By 999callfornhs, Jul 22 2016 10:32AM

999 Call for the NHS has always been a keen supporter of new ways to get the message out to people. It's hard getting people's attention and up and down the country campaigners are continually asking "why aren't people angry?". Because the mainstream media doesn't tell them what we know. The journalists working behind the desks in the newsroom are only looking for the hooks, the sensational soundbite filler for the evening news and tomorrow's front page.


The real stories of corporate takeovers, failures of services being provided by non-experienced wokers, patients being left with no care because of cuts - these all get hidden by the ignorance and genuine dimwittery of the modern deskbound journo.


So getting the message out is something we as campaigners have to do in any way we can.


Say HELLO to Dr Rishi!


Hi there.

I'm a junior doctor of ten years working as an orthopaedic senior registrar at the Royal National orthopaedic hospital, London. Having worked as a junior doctor for this time, I've experienced at first hand the tremendous job that my colleagues and I do to keep our patients safe in a system which has been chronically underfunded and devalued for too long. The last few months with the dangerous new contract being imposed on doctors, were a call to action and made me feel that we, on the front line of patient care, had to get politically involved and stand up against a contract which is #notsafenotfair.


Looking at the new proposed contract which, depsite Jeremy Hunt's smiling assurances, still had all the flaws of the old one I felt compelled to get the message out that we have to unite and stand up against this imposition and dangers to our patients, us as NHS Staff. For me it also created a realisation that something was dramatically changing in my workplace - creeping privatisation.


I wanted to use a tool to permeate through to people quickly and effectively and felt that music was the best medium to achieve that as I felt the public were fatigued after Brexit and protests of the last few months.


I approached Dave Randall (previously worked with Faithless and DIDO) as I knew he was politically engaged and together we wrote STAND UP in two weeks and recorded it (I performed it and directed the video).



What did I want?
What did I want?

A great song that could deliver a thousand messages and THIS IS that great song... I need people to hear it


I need everyone to share the video far and wide so it goes viral. And if you download the track (it is 79p and goes to charity for depression in physicians). If thousands of people download it can start creeping up the charts and give a platform to get the issue back into the public consciousness.


I have completely self funded this with no help and no profit, my reward would be to get this message out and turn back the tide of destroying our beloved NHS...


Thank you.


Watch the video HERE ON JUNIOR DOCTORS PAGE







By 999callfornhs, Jul 15 2016 05:00PM

Is the Labour Party taking the NHS seriously at last?


That’s a very good question. And one we should be asking continually it seems. And it’s a reminder why 999 Call has always fought to be independent of ANY political party.


In the midst of the current Parliamentary Labour Party madness nothing is certain other than the lunatics really have taken over the asylum, locked themselves in and given the front door keys to the high-risk security inmates who are now romping in the red rose garden with rather large shiny razor-sharp hedgecutters. There’s a lot of dangerous pruning going on...


This week, on a day where all the mainstream media focused their tired lens on Count Cameron’s departure and the landing of Saint Theresa like an elegant hungry vulture into the post of unelected Prime Minister, an important item was passing into the Commons almost unnoticed. The 3rd presentation of the NHS (Reinstatement) Bill - the only piece of proposed legislation in the political arena that talks our language - a return to a fully nationalised NHS run and owned by us.




Caroline Lucas, the well respected solo Green Party MP, championed it twice before and fought hard to gather a small, enthusiastic group of cross party MPs to support her but at it’s 2nd Reading on March 11th 2016 a noticeable lack of Labour MPs in the Commons meant the Conservative “rent-a-gob” MPs filibustered her and the NHS Bill fell. . The Bill was the only catalyst that saw campaigners nationwide join forces over the winter in a way we have not seen before.


This week MP Margaret Greenwood, (Labour, Wirral West) took up the reins and presented it as a Ten Minute Rule Bill. It passed through to its 2nd Reading on November 4th 2016. Outside a rally of noisy campaigners were joined by newly appointed Shadow Health Secretary Diane Abbott who turned up to take a turn on the megaphone and share her “support for the principles of the Bill”. It was beginning to look sort of good... then a post online by Diane Abbott later that afternoon had a few campaigners raising a Roger Moore Raised eyebrow...



“Of course, no-one wants yet another top-down reorganisation of the NHS.

NHS professionals and staff that I speak to hold up their hands in horror at the prospect. The NHS has already had more than one reorganisation too many.”


Uh-oh here we go... in two difficult meetings with her predecessor Heidi Alexander, Support the NHS camapigners were confronted with this mainstay argument as to why she was NOT a supporter of the NHS Bill (and that Simon Stevens was a nice man doing his best with a very difficult job) so to hear Diane Abbott repeating almost verbatim the statement is a bit of a worry. The whole point of the NHS Bill is to bring a final end to the continual top-down DE-Structuring that is going on right now, creating havoc and distress with staff and patients alike.


And it is not a mistake. The Five Year Forward View is a cold calculated plan designed by NHS CEO Simon Stevens who has learnt all he knows about reconfiguration and redesign to “pay-as-you-get-sick” healthcare from the world’s largest Medical Insurance corporation United Health of America. He spent several years as their Global Strategy President so he should know a great deal about private healthcare. The Five Year Forward View is demolishing any thread of accountable, open, democratic control within the NHS and creating a virtual apocolypse with the breaking up of the NHS into 44 Footprints and their imposed Sustainability & Transformation Plans.


Driven by “effiency savings” Simon Stevens is like a dangerous blood-hungry surgeon with a very sharp scalpel. He knows where to cut, slice, remove and bleed in order to force the infrastructure to reshape itself so it mimics and operates like the USA model he knows so well. Whilst wielding his scalpel the process of his deliberate chaos and destruction NHS Trusts welcome in the likes of McKinsey, Deloitte, Price Waterhouse Coopers, KPMG, Ernst & Young and under the guise of “helping and supporting”, consultancy is draining even more public money into the bank accounts of the global businesses that seem to be dominating politics worldwide.


And Theresa May has shown clear consent to the blood letting by keeping Jeremy Hunt in place as Health Secretary. Make no mistake. As far as the Conservatives are concerned this is the endgame. Hunt is there to make sure Simon Stevens and the corporate machine seals the fate of the NHS by introducing charges, reduced care and top-up payments. Their deceitful and manipulative “transformation”, using positivity and new age corporate ethics to improve the service, is nothing more than the final moves on the chess board to bring the game of privatisation to an inescapable “check-mate”.



“Of course, no-one wants yet another top-down reorganisation of the NHS.

NHS professionals and staff that I speak to hold up their hands in horror at the prospect"


Funny that politicians find one group of staff who can’t cope with the idea of a top-down reorganisation yet we and other campaign groups continually talk to NHS Staff who laugh, shrug their shoulders and say “we wouldn’t notice the difference, it’s being reorganised on a weekly basis!”. (Ask teachers and they will say the same thing about schools).


The NHS Bill is not about another top-down reorganisation - it’s about a fundamental restoration, reinstatement and restitching together of a public service that has been fragmented, ripped apart by the internal market processes that both parties since the 1990’s have allowed to steal from us. If we want to save it, restore it for the generations after us we have to fight for nothing less than making it a 100% public service, there to provide health and wellbeing for all based on making our society a better place not providing profit for offshore accounts and corporate machines.


So Diane Abbott, if the Labour Party genuinely wants a return to a publicly funded, owned, delivered and managed NHS with the private health firms removed from any influence in shaping the health of our nation, our kids’ futures you really are going to have to start saying so clearly and begin talking seriously about bringing it back into public hands. Simple. No compromise. There isn’t time now for any doubts.


Perhaps, given the current red rose pruning carnage, the Shadow Health Secretary is playing it safe, hiding in a quiet cupboard somewhere waiting for the mayhem to die down. The sad thing is that Diane Abbott and the entire Labour Party are missing a trick. Full genuine, open, transparent and strong fierce support for a renationalised public service NHS would be an election winner as far as we are concerned.


Having worked with the authors since 2014 999 Call for the NHS know there are problems with The NHS Bill. The NHS Landscape is continually shifting like quicksand and any proposed bill is going to have weak areas that need development and securing like how to deal with PFI (Private Finance Initiative), Social Care. The one thing we can all be clear about is the ethos behind it. Make it Public. Bring it Back to Public Hands.




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