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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, Jan 11 2019 10:59PM

Today was my Diabetic half-yearly checkup. A good thing. Blood pressure, weight, draw a bit of blood. I love my diabetic nurse (let’s call her Susan) because she listens, she asks questions about my life, we swap notes on current NHS politics, she is an expert in drawing blood out of my always reluctant hard-to-find veins.

I wonder how Susan is? I’ve not seen her for over a year and a half. I miss her. And I don’t know who I will be seeing today as i pull open the GP Surgery door.

My heart sinks as I tap the digital screen on the wall just inside the GP Surgery door. (Another new software I notice). Receptionists are far too busy doing important stuff to say “good morning” or smile. I know because I can hear them laughing behind the shutters on their windows.

The login screen tells me I am the next patient with (not real name) Julia HCA. How many people here today actually know what an HCA is I wonder? The Nurse’s Room is still next to the waiting room. I know this because the door still has the room plaque “Surgery Nurse” on it - in a nice understated NHS blue.

But beneath it now sits a much larger piece of white plastic with a rather heavy clumsy black font displaying HEALTH CARE ASSISTANT. Being an artistic spirit my heart aches at the complete lack of care and aesthetic sensitivity thats gone into the creation of this overbearing plastic functional sign.

It’s ugly.

My heart sinks further when the door opens and I recognise Julia HCA. My first encounter with Julia HCA was the last time I saw lovely Diabetic Nurse Susan.

That appointment I returned home with four large wads of cotton wool - stuck to both arms, back of both hands (large bruises later) where the needle had been swivelled, twisted and jabbed in an attempt to extract my life-source. On that occasion. after four arduous attempts, Julia HCA had accepted defeat and called Diabetic Nurse Susan away from her very important paper-work (in the next room) to draw my blood.

One sharp, a prick so small I didn’t feel it at all, a smile and a line of friendly genuine chat - two tubes of blood were filled easily. Perhaps my relief at seeing Diabetic Nurse Susan was a factor? I miss Diabetic Nurse Susan.

Anyway... Julia HCA tells me to take a seat by the bed. The chair that is facing away from her. I turn my head so I can see Julia HCA - the other human in the room. Julia HCA is busy reading her screen and tapping her keyboard. She tells me she is going to measure my blood pressure, weigh me and take some blood. Because that is what the screen tells her presumably. When Julia HCA finally looks up I’ve already rolled up my shirt sleeve and placed my arm on the bed.

Without looking at me Julia HCA slips the cuff of the Blood Pressure machine onto my arm. She says firmly “Don’t talk or move while the machine is working.”

She turns away to the counter and gets busy opening the requisite needle pack, card tray and plastic tubes that drawing blood will require.

I don’t move or talk. I’m feeling the pressure. I stare at the PAID FOOT CARE leaflet stuck to the wall...

The blood pressure machine stops whirring and the cuff begins to deflate. Julia HCA scribbles on her pad. She does not offer a comment on her scribbling. I ask what the figures mean. It’s a little over the target. I refrain from suggesting why that might be.

And so the fun bit. Drawing the blood. Today is better. Julia HCA has had 18months more practice. Today only takes three “small prick” attempts and a weary “oh come on” sigh before finally stabbing a vein (in frustration?) and rich dark red fluid flowing forth. I experience a combination of deep relief she does not need to stab me again, gratitude that she has improved, and disappointment that I will not get to see Diabetic Nurse Susan.

So just two large cotton balls taped to my arms this visit. off, pockets emptied and I stand on the scales. Julia HCA tells me my weight in kilos which i have also read from the digital window. Julia HCA goes to the computer. Silence is broken with a “oh 2016 is the last time we weighed you...”.

We both agree that’s bullshit - my words not hers. But Julia HCA cannot tell me how much I have lost since my last visit because its not on the screen. I’m disappointed but resist voicing my internal “for fucks sake”.

Shoes on in silence. Slipping jacket on I thank Julia HCA. Nothing much more to say. Completing her computer screen box-ticking Julia says “Goodbye, see you in 6 months time”. I leave. I realise that throughout this entire clinical process Julia HCA and I have not made eye contact. Not once.

The questions begin as I walk home. (I’m lucky not needing to travel far). Where is Diabetic Nurse Susan? If Julia HCA is replacing her with her skills as the conduit twixt me and computer screen database what is Diabetic Nurse Susan doing? Is she next door doing very important computer work? Is she being a “Martini Nurse” - out and about putting ‘right care in the right place at the right time’ into the community? Or perhaps she’s at a Clinical Commissioning Group or Sustainability & Transformation Partnership meeting offering her valuable clinical expertise towards integrated accounts packages?

This is my experience of the modern NHS GP surgery. I don’t doubt there are good people in them still. But this experience has been faceless with no sense of a relationship, connection or purpose between me and the care professionals - those who once were praised and rewarded for their personal human interaction skills but now are forced to fit the machine of the “health economy” which is one more American idealogical phrase that has crept into our NHS. Scary article warning: PwC New Health Economy in an age of Disruption

Disruption is about right. My relationship with Diabetic Nurse Susan has been disrupted. Ended probably. I have no personal connection now between my sense of looking after myself (Preventative Care - what the NHS claims healthcare is all about) and a healthcare professional who actually gives a shit. Doctors have been warning about the dangers of destroying the doctor/patient relationship since 2012 - the Year of NHS Disruption

Disrupting patients and staff, denying proper human interaction and replacing it with a computer screen or an app only creates an apathy in me that gives rise to me being a patient who doesn't really give a shit either.

Can’t blame Julia HCA. She must know she’s cheaper and not respected in the scheme of things.

Can’t blame my Diabetic Nurse Susan. She’s off somewhere no doubt trying to be integrated and keep her job afloat.

Blame the GP surgery? They’re struggling to find staff on limited funds, under yet more pressure from NHS England to join the new, ultimately faceless, Super Hubs which are supposed to cover 30-50,000 population areas. Even though there is little evidence to prove they will lead to better healthcare.

I can definitely blame NHS England and NHS Improvement along with numerous other business busybodies like the Kings Fund, Nuffield Trust and Health Foundation who with their research studies are “wreckless driving” this inhuman new model of care that will produce better financial outcomes for company shareholders but will not produce better healthcare for patients - not here or anywhere.

It’s been a busy week with new job and campaign admin. I have yet to catch up with all the fuss and nonsense of the new NHS Long Term Plan. Part of me feels there is no point in reading the f**king thing. More of the same as the last bastard 5 Year Forward View plan that has laid the foundations for this “new model of care” we are seeing not so much evolve but explode (disruption don’t forget) inside our NHS.

Why are we allowing Simon Stevens, Chris Ham and others to adopt the Accountable Care Organisation healthcare model following the American model of care when it is universally recognised as being just a bit crap (utter shite) and "based on faulty assumptions, poor economics, and junk science"

This is just one reason why 999 Call for the NHS are continuing our fight in the courts. We have to keep fighting for a healthcare system that is human based, focused and managed. Not a corporate money making machine where patients and doctors are just faceless cogs in the economic machine.


By 999 Call for the NHS, Aug 14 2018 10:52AM

Steve at it again

You know that feeling of "today I am NOT going anywhere near the NHS campaign".

Yeah that one.

So of course after 30mins of washing up last night's dishes while the coffee brews, a quick Duck Duck Go and a hop onto FB/Messenger and a whole flurry of NHS Bullshit sweeps me into a frenzy - yet again - and before I know it I'm trawling through the mire...

This is going to be brief. I want my life today.


Why cant we make the shit stick to this man? It's a mystery to me.

Is it that the public don't like personal attacks on an individual? What magical charm does he possess to woo all those around him? This is the quote that started it all off.

It kept appearing all over the place in relation to the muddle of media posts from 2017 that said things like "NHS BANNED 36 TREATMENTS". Shock tactics that journalists appear to need to use in order to keep their jobs no doubt as readership falls. So let's clarify that one while we're here. They didn't BAN 36 items that could be prescribed by GPs. They issued a statement to CCGs with a list of 36 items that could be purchased over the counter. It's explained here in PULSE MAGAZINE

Anyway... i stared at that quote.

Furious at first then irony popped in to say hello. And it made me chuckle. Yes "there is still waste and inefficiency that CAMPAIGNERS are determined to root out". It's you Mr Stevens and your bunch of crooks on the board of NHS England, Improvement, Digital, Innovation, Cream Tea, Uncle Tom Cobblybollox and all!

What better present could we ask for than to remove all the nasty corporate greed from our once "world's most efficient" public service NHS?

So the Shit-free Stevens factor. What is it that allows the obvious facts to be brushed underneat the rug that is soon to be pulled from under our feet? When Mr Stevens returned from USA to become the CEO of NHS England many eyebrows were raised - and UNITE the UNION raised a bit more with questions that don't appear to have been answered.


Gulping coffee, my eyes were opened (again) to the enormity of the media machine we are up against as that quote cut'n'pasted neatly from the NHS England website - alongside another longtime fave Sir Bruce Keogh - was used and abused by the national papers and local rags up and down the country. Here's Bruce Bozo doing one of his hilairious routines about cutting A&Es by half in 2013.

What really caught my attention though was the sheer amount of press & media that had taken that first quote from the NHSE site and plastered it across all the nationals and local rags (so many more now being part of chains with less independence). CLICK HERE you'll see what I mean.

And that lazy cut'n'paste journalism is what we are up against and why we have to keep taking great joy in repetition. Cos that's what NHS England and the government do all the time, over and over. Repeat shit till it sticks. In people's minds. It's a bit like postering at Edinburgh Festival - As soon as we see their poster we stick ours over the top.


As far back 2015 we were trying to get people to take a deeper look into the mysterious Mr Stevens who had started out under Blair but found himself as President of Global Strategy for United Health (one of the biggest health insurance providers in the USA) for 9 years before Jeremy Hunt in the midst of stirring his marmalade had a wheeze to bring him back to head up the "Transformation" of the NHS...

It's not so much the man himself. There's no rescuing him as he sold his soul long ago. Apparently on his office he has a drawing one of his children created based on his other quote of wisdom " THINK LIKE A PATIENT, ACT LIKE A TAX-PAYER" - aimed at the middle classes no doubt to reinforce the subliminal AUSTERITY message that we have to tighten our belts... blah blah

Simon Stevens is worth exploring because his career tells you so much about the nature of the corporate beast that now sits on the planet gobbling what it can and shitting on everything else that it doesn't see any value in. Like ordinary people wanting a fair and decent chance of a fair and decent life.

Stevens is in with the top brass of global healthcare - a massive humungous industry for the players with their hands on it. Not surprising really after 9 years of Global Strategy... those in the know will tell you all about the World Economic Forum where he and many other corporate strategists plotted and wrangled how best to provide efficient (profitable) healthcare on a global scale. Here's the list of Steering Group members.

I realise also it's not worth spending huge amounts of time on. Just keep reminding ourselves that our local campaign work - tackling the obscurity and deviousness of local council planning, Clinical Commissioning Groups & Hospital Boards - what we face stems from the root of the problem. The corporate model that is now our NHS. The Quangos that are full of business consultants who have no other way of thinking except old economic arguments and the pure belief that PRIVATE BUSINESS knows best.


Here is his rather lengthy CV

And here is our 2015 page - huge thanks to those who joined us then. NHSDetectivesCase#1

For us it was an eyeopener. Time to open the files again and see what pops out. Have fun. The corporate clowns are in the ring. But they're #NOTfunny. Time to (As Mr Stevens would say) "root them out" of our NHS.

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