DONATE facebook-icon-copy twitterICON

999 Call for the NHS

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

999logofinal_Pill_straight_360 999 Blog

By Jenny Shepherd, 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

By Jenny Shepherd, Nov 9 2016 03:55PM

The latest spurt of Killer Clowns made me smile as 999 had just produced another batch of Corporate Clown cards. I kept hoping one would appear outside the Dept of Health where the real killer clowns live. Maybe one day.

Then one of the network sent me a link to a rather wonderful activitst blog from 2012 and that made me chuckle in an even darker way. And it's a distinct reminder that good people, informed people have been fighting this battle - stopping the privatisation by stealth of our NHS - for many many years. In the last 6 months we've met retired consultants who have been battling since the 1980's, retired nurses who have been fighting since the 90's, ordinary folk who have - like most of us - accidentally fallen into the NHS universe of corporate hell and won't let go. Not until we have won. And we will.

Because the darkness is too much to subject our kids and grandkids to. The lies and deciets employed by successive governments of the last 25yrs are too great to let go unanswered. People will be punished for their criminal acts. Destroying a public institution with corporate smiles and the suits of KPMG, Ernst& Young, Price Waterhouse Cooper & McKinsey plus that entourage of corporate killer clown siblings - they wlll be pulled short. And on the whole - once you've swallowed the blue pill - you can't give up, you can't unsee the awful clever cheating that the corporate killer clowns are carrying out.

And there are many different ways of fighting back. Humour is one way that thankfully is on our side. This blog from 2012 is a really fun (dark I warn you) way of highlighting the problems. And it may inspire you to do something similar.

Have fun.

Steven Carne


Going private?

My reply to a job offer from a private health company (July 2012)

What the heck is this? I’ve been trying and failing to stop the government from privatising the National Health Service for years, and now a private healthcare company has contacted me about a job!

The email from Care UK says they are “seeking a Media Relations Executive for our Head Office based in Colchester and your skills and experience appear to be a good match.” Huh? They are offering a “competitive salary, 25 days holiday and corporate discounts.”

Here’s what I have replied:

Dear Laura,

Thank you for your unexpected email about the Media Relations Executive job with Care UK. I am very interested. Since Care UK is possibly the leading private healthcare company making inroads into the NHS, I would relish the opportunity to publicise what it does – indeed, this is precisely what I was trying to do in my previous job as information officer for Keep Our NHS Public (on a much smaller budget, I’m sure). That must be what you were referring to when you said my skills and experience are “a good match”.

As you can imagine, I am brimming with ideas. If you don’t mind, I would like to set them out here. First of all, I think much more needs to be done to let the public know what Care UK is. Hardly anyone realises just how big a chunk of the NHS you now run, from GP surgeries and walk-in centres to treatment units doing things like bunions. If I were your Media Relations Executor I would promote this aggressively to build the brand. I think the public has a vague idea about NHS privatisation, but they aren’t yet able to put a face to the name, so to speak. Care UK’s name could be that face. As a profit-making healthcare company owned by a private equity firm you are perfectly positioned.

READ ALEX NUNN's brilliant BLOG in FULL :

If you want to share anything with us let us know. Use the contact us button at top of the page.

Read why people are supporting 999

999 Bloggers

We need your help!

We are all volunteers and there is no polite way to say it. We always need some money to help make 999 a effective success.


Please think about donating.

No matter how big or small the amount every penny will go towards the Campaign



We are not aligned

to any political party.


We never have been.

We know it's going to take political legislation to bring back the NHS into public hands but we remain independent of all the parties in order to lobby and pressure all the parties. We are about people and the NHS they should be able to keep.


So to all MPs and politicians -   If the policy fits, we'll support it.  



If you have an article to share, a blog item you feel we could use please do get in touch.


This space was always intended as a grassroots venue for campaigners to raise their voices.


Contact Our Steve for more details.