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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, Dec 5 2014 07:14PM

Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust
Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust

The NHS is being held hostage by private financiers as a result of signing up to massive debts through the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Through PFIs, many NHS hospitals have entered into long-term agreements with investment companies to finance the building and maintenance of hospitals. These hospitals are then leased back to the NHS Trusts at excessive repayment rates.



PFIs are being used for a range of public sector projects but the Department of Health has agreed the largest number – currently 118 with a capital value of £11.6bn. Over time, the sum total of repayments will be £79.1bn. According to one calculation, two hospitals could have been built for the cost of just one, had public sources of finance been used.



The largest NHS PFI project is the building of the new Royal London Hospital at the initial cost of £1.1bn, which is estimated to cost over the time repayment period of 43 years £7.4bn. In the case of Royal London Hospital it could have been as little as £4.1 billion over the same payment period.


The use of PFI for the building and maintenance of healthcare facilities involves excessive interest rates and inflated service charges. It is crippling the NHS and leading to cuts in services, loss of staff and the selling off of assets. Funds are sucked from hospital budgets and into the pockets of City investors, many of whom are registered in tax havens. PFI has become a major lever in the process of privatisation of the NHS.


In October 2013 a group of health campaigners formed Drop the NHS Debt to start a campaign on the scandal of PFI (Private Finance Initiative) contracts in the health service. We have put together a website directed specifically at health campaigners across the country providing lay summaries of the way PFI works, possible ways of reversing PFI, and a ‘toolkit’ enabling ordinary campaigners to find out the extent and nature of profiteering through PFI contracts at their local hospital. In turn this information would form the basis of local campaigns against PFIs and we suggest a possible leaflet for campaigners to use.


Our website is still developing but we feel there is enough there to launch it. Please go to:

www.dropnhsdebt.org.uk


We would welcome any support and feedback you can give and we hope you feel able to reference our website from yours. Please do also announce the website to your contacts and local group via your website or email.


If you have any queries please contact the website directly at [email protected]

By 999 Call for the NHS, Aug 1 2014 04:37PM

STEVEN CARNE
STEVEN CARNE

Earlier this year, through the accidental and uncertain world of social media, I had the happy fortune to bump into a grumpy mum from Darlington who - so refreshingly - spoke with heartfelt passion and a grounded belief in the positive values of the National Health Service. Joanna (you can read her blog by clicking on the “older button” below) and I ranted on the phone for an hour and since then I have gladly been involved in helping Joanna, Rehana and the #darlomums get the People’s March together in any way I can.


For me the People’s March is about waking the public up to the lies and deceitful tactics that are being used against us by politicians who say the love the NHS but really all they love is the opportunity to break it up and sell it off to private corporations to make a profit.


Profit from illness? It’s a barbaric and frankly sadistic notion. Somehow, since the Thatcher 80’s, a myth that private business knows better how to run an organisation has been etched into the public psyche and it is only now that we are realising that the myth is a lie. Corporations and Private Businesses only run organisations to make money. Simple. They really do not give a hoot how sick you are - if you can pay they’ll look after you.


A dear friend in the USA recently had to undergo a double mastectomy. Not only did she have to go through the trauma of needing treatment, her main worry was deciding which treatment to have - based on what she could afford! She has insurance, she’s a lecturer. But she was told her insurance did not cover certain types of treatment. So she had to decide based on financial ability not what was best for her. She had the operation but weeks later removed her own drain as she could not find a local hospital to take it out - they would not touch it because she’d had the operation in a hospital several hours away and the insurance plan did not cover it.


The NHS is an institution that truly makes the UK a civilised caring society. But of course to someone who wants to make money that is an offensive idea. Power. Trains. Post Office. Water. And now the latest victim of the greedy business world is our NHS. Even though recently found to be the World’s most efficient and cost-effective Health Service by the USA Washington based Commonwealth Fund,

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/17/nhs-health the current Government and (it pains me to say this) even previous Governments have managed to paint a picture of the NHS as one of extreme failure, inadequacy and incompetence. Don’t believe it. My experience of staff has always been “bloody hell how do they do it?”. Always respectful, polite, helpful, caring despite tiredness and abuse from the public at times.


I’m supporting the People’s March because I have had my eyes opened to the dirty trickery of modern politics and business amorality. We need to alert the public, let them know we can stop the privatisation pirates and keep alive what is one of the most dignified and beautiful institutions in our country. Please join in any way you can to help make the People’s March an event to stop the killing of the NHS.


Right now it needs money. Sadly it is that simple. To make the final day of the March in London a huge event which it deserves to be - the #darlomums need dosh to close roads, pay for policing etc. It's a huge job. And everyone is doing this as volunteers because they share a love and a vision of an NHS that symbolises a caring nation.


@OhStevenCarne






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