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999 Call for the NHS

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By 999 Call for the NHS, 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.




By 999 Call for the NHS, Mar 19 2016 09:24AM


Where were Labour?
Where were Labour?


Friday 11th March

Caroline Lucas presented the NHS BILL (formerly NHS Reinstatement Bill). It was an opportunity for the Labour Party to get behind something that (no matter how imperfect it might technically as a Draft Bill) set out clear aims to bring back the NHS into public hands again. Taking the private market culture out of it and making it impossible for private corporations to control - as they are doing now in our understanding.


Deborah Harrington gives us this brilliant thought as to why Labour chose not to support it with MPs attendance at the debate - despite over 42,000 signatures on a 38 Degree petition.


Thanks Deborah.


Some context for those who don't get the point of the NHS Bill and think there is no problem with Labour not turning up to support it.


The first problem of note is Simon Stevens.


Simon Stevens was an NHS manager. He became a health policy advisor to Alan Milburn, in 1997, along with Mark Britnell and Penny Dash. He was also a Labour councillor in Lambeth.


He introduced the first privatisations into the NHS, including the Foundation Trusts (making them arm's length business units, rather than publicly owned services), PFI, and bringing United Health in to run the first privatised GP practices, among many other things. (Hansard evidence click)


In 2006 he went to work for United Health (the US's largest private healthcare corporation) in their Europe division, and in 2008 as president of global operations.


(Mark Britnell went on to KPMG and Penny Dash to McKinsey, where her role has included being a Trust Special Administrator - a role created by Labour)


In that role Stevens led a lobby group, lobbying the US Trade Dept to use trade laws to break open public health services worldwide to create access for US markets. United Health also lobbied against Obama's affordable care act.

In 2014 the Coalition brought him back as NHS England's CEO. Within a few months he had produced the 5 Year Forward View, which is what all your hospitals are suffering under, all the closures, reductions in service, land sales.


The 5YFV is completing the implementation of the H&SCA (2012). Labour calls Lansley's Act the reorganisation of the NHS, as if it is done and dusted and behaves as if everything else is just a consequence of the de-funding. It isn't. It is the constant restructuring of the 5 YFV. The money is being used as a lever to get the changes made - comply and you'll be bailed out, is the message.


Labour welcomed Stevens' appointment and support the 5 YFV. You can't oppose privatisation of the NHS and simultaneously support Stevens.


The second problem of note

is private sector involvement in the NHS and public ownership.


No matter what the Labour Party says, it appears to have no intention of renationalising the Foundation Trust hospitals, which is essential if they are not to be sold off as hospital chains to foreign investors (one of the next privatisation steps).


It is impossible to get the Labour Party to commit to Bevan's principles. Efford's Bill was not a proper 'NHS' bill. They refuse to support the actual NHS bill on the grounds that it is another 'top down reorganisation'. This is based on three things: 1. that the NHS staff don't want any more reorganisations. This is not true. Staff know the NHS is in a broken up mess. They need it to be put back together. But Simon Stevens says, in the 5YF that staff do not want another reorganisation (as he downgrades, closes and restructures all our services), and Simon is god like in the infallibility of his pronouncements according to all the main Parliamentary parties. 2. That everything is just settling down after Lansley's Act. It isn't, as explained above. 3. They don't understand the bill's provisions for returning to Bevan's NHS, because they don't understand anything about the nuts and bolts of health provision.


And Labour is quite happy to sell off our public land and assets. They also had no problem with massive restructuring for the purposes of privatisation. It is only restructuring to bring it back into public ownership they object to.


The Bill itself was totemic. In the face of piss poor opposition to date from Labour to the Coalition's and now the Tories' brutal destruction (they would have had to confess -and renounce- their role in the privatisation to successfully oppose) their support for the bill would have been a marker of intent on their part. And, with the SNP support + Lucas herself would have indicated the start of a progressive alliance that might have posed a real threat to the government. Unfortunately that's of little interest to a large section of the PLP.


It should be a matter of concern to the Corbynistas that John McDonnell was happy for Labour MPs to attend and vote in favour of the bill. He thought any problems could be dealt with in committee stage. But Labour Central issued the standard reply to be sent to constituents by all MPs, presumably against his will? - and Corbyn's? - on Thursday, saying they all had constituency duties, when they had had months of notice and could have rearranged their schedules for the day.


You have to understand that this is a story of corporate capture of our democratic processes, not a question of party political purity. United Health, McKinsey, KPMG, PwC and others are making the decisions about our NHS - on behalf of both the Tories and Labour. New Labour introduced New Public Management - the idea that government is about management of an entrepreneurial culture, not about political ideology. They brought think tanks and management consultants in to take the place of the civil service. The same management consultants whose major clients are global corporations. We need to fight this corruption of our democracy. Then the Labour Parliamentary party might return to the values most of its supporters old and new hold dear.



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