Tag Archives: NHS
10th November 2012- 1-15 pm 0nwards.
Carrs Lane Church Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham, B4 7SX.
Peter Last WMPC- Chair of the meeting
Joe Morgan- GMB Regional Secretary
Dr Jacky Davis- NHS Consultants Association.
John Partridge- Unite Regional Assistant Secretary
Mary Locke- Unison NEC and Health Worker
Gail Adams- Head of Nursing- Unison- Chair of Mary Seacole Committee- Unison.
At the forefront of the Government’s plans to privatise the NHS will be local Clinical Commissioning Groups comprised of groups of GP’s. There are currently three proposed CCG’s in Birmingham, Birmingham and Solihull Cluster- Cross City, Birmingham South and Central, and Sandwell and West Birmingham. There is a CCG for Coventry and Rugby, one for Walsall, Wolverhampton, North Warwickshire and a CCG for Solihull which even has it’s own website, There are others and most are offering differing forms of consultation, which are either proposed or taking place. Please telephone for further information. The full list can be found on the following website: http://www.westmidlands.nhs.uk/WhatWeDo/ClinicalCommissioningGroups.aspx
The CCG’s will play a major role in commissioning health services and will have a nationwide budget of billions of pounds at their disposal.They are tasked with developing Commissioning Plans and replacing the role of Primary Care Trusts.The CCG’s will have responsibility for commissioning or buying health and care services including non-specialist acute services, community services, and continuing healthcare, Mental Health and other important services.
The big move to privatisation is the requirement upon CCG’s to contract with any qualified provider’.
Influence over the CCG’s is therefore of paramount importance. Perhaps we could make contact through our branches and affiliated bodies to influence policy decisions and avoid privatisation?
The West Midlands Pensioners Convention really could make a difference and help preserve our NHS, but we must act quickly.
We have the knowledge, experience and the negotiating skills.
Meetings need to be convened to involve local people in campaigning to pressure their CCG’s to make changes to their constitutions. In Birmingham and the West Midlands- plus area, campaign groups need to meet and to make contact with their appropriate local CCG. A first step could be to obtain copies of their draft constitutions.They have a legal responsibility to consult. In some areas we may need to combine with other groups.
An important priority for the campaign as outlined to our Regional Council, is to explain to the public what is happening to their NHS and to get them involved in discussions with their CCG. Please discuss these issues in the relevant branches.
Perhaps we can trigger a debate at our important meeting on Saturday 10th November-1-15pm onwards at Carr’s Lane Church Centre. Birmingham. Who Owns the NHS? Full details can be found on our website.
Further details also included on the CENTRO/WMPC meeting arranged by CENTRO for 1.30pm to 3.00pm held on Thursday 1st November 2012 for consultation of pensioners problems on the Bus and Rail services within the West Midlands.
Many other issues and up to date news on our website including news from Wolverhampton, the NPC lobby and much more. New articles and photos soon.
The CCG’s will play a key role in commissioning health services and will have a nationwide budget of £64bn at their disposal. They are charged with developing Commissioning Plans and replace the role of Primary Care Trusts. The CCG’s will have responsibility for commissioning or buying health and care services including non-specialist acute services, community services, Mental health, and continuing healthcare among others.
The big move to privatisation is the requirement upon CCG’s to contract with ‘Any qualified provider’. Once registered as a qualified provider with Monitor private sector companies will be free to seek contracts with CCG’s anywhere in the country.
CCG’s in London have already signed contracts worth £7m with consultancies including KPMG McKinsey, and Price Waterhouse for ‘intensive organisational support’. Some of these consultancies were active in influencing Government health policy from the outside, actively lobbying for Health and Social Care Act, and will they will now profit from and influence the development of CCG’s from the inside.
Influence over the CCG’s is a potentially important battle ground and 38 degrees, an online campaigning community, has launched a petition demanding that CCG’s amend their constitutions to protect NHS services and to ensure proper consultation with patients.
Through 38 Degrees, meetings are being convened to involve local people in campaigning to pressure their CCG’s to make changes to their constitutions. In Birmingham a campaign group has started to meet and has plans to make contact with the three local CCG’s and will be seeking copies of their draft constitutions. An important priority for the campaign is to explain to the public what is happening to their NHS and to get them involved in lobbying their CCG.
If you would like to get involved
2. Join in with the street petitioning activity in Victoria Square in Birmingham City Centre on Saturday 10th November from 11am.
3. Updates on the campaign can be found on the West Midlands Save our NHS webpage
Doctors are facing the same pension cuts as other public sector workers – pay more and work longer to get less. This attack serves two purposes – it allows them to cut pay, without having to say they are cutting pay and it softens the NHS (and other public services) up for privatisation. The money saved will not go into the pension pots, despite the language the government uses about how pensions are unsustainable and we have to work longer, but will go to paying off the deficit caused by the bankers.
Hospitals will still have skeleton staff to deal with emergencies – in fact there will be more doctors on duty today then there were over the Jubilee weekend or on a normal nightshift. Doctors and other NHS workers do not go on strike lightly, nor would they do so if they thought they were endangering patient’s health. This is the first doctors strike for 37 years.
Being a doctor is a difficult job, because medical research advances so quickly, with new techniques and medicines being developed all the time, and thousands of medical trials conducted every year. This is a particular issue for GPs who need to keep a shallow but general knowledge of all areas of medicine. As we get older, we find it harder to incorporate new ideas and practices into our lives, and get used to the ways we have done things. Making doctors work later to get their pensions could have serious knock on effects on patient care.
Meanwhile, at the University of Birmingham, support staff are on a two-day strike, over a derisory pay offer, which has seen just 77 of over 2,000 staff offered a £250 / 1.9% pay rise, whilst removing shift allowances for evening and weekend work which leaves many people facing a pay cut. Even those who will get a rise will see their wages fall in real terms as inflation which has fallen below 3% for the first time in a few years.
This comes in the context of the university increasing its surplus from £22.3m to £27m per year, and is in a healthy financial position, despite cuts to teaching budgets from central government funds which are being used as cover for reducing the living standards of some of the lowest paid staff at the university, whilst the Vice-Chancellor, David Eastwood enjoys huge pay rises and a salary of over £400,000.
You can support the University strikers by signing this petition.
Both these groups are taking action today against the government austerity program which threatens to send many more people below the breadline, with real wages being reduced further, the continuing threat of workfare and the abuse of apprenticeships to undercut minimum wage legislation.
We extend our solidarity to those workers on strike today, and encourage all other workers who are facing cuts to pay or conditions to push their union to take strike action.
First reported by Eoin Clarke, the story has been picked up by the Guardian, and Right to Work have called a demonstration at Sandwell Hospital on Thursday, from 5pm.
6 people, forced under threat of having their benefits stopped, have taken part in a trial scheme, which has seen them undertake a number of duties including cleaning and running errands but also extending to patient care in non-clinical areas, helping with meals and drinks.
Ravi Subramanian, the head of Unison, West Midlands, said:
Far from Tory claims to protect the NHS, Birmingham and Sandwell hospital trust is being forced to find savings of £125m over the next five years.
Thousands of staff are facing the prospect of losing their jobs and wards are closing. Now the hospital is making moves to deliver healthcare on the cheap, by using people on work experience to help with patient care. Patients and staff will rightly be very worried about the standard of patient care as this scheme is rolled out.
When we signed up to the Boycott Workfare campaign, we did so on the basis that we believed that workfare would be used to cover for cuts, with people on benefits being forced to do unpaid work in order to keep the money they need for food, fuel and rent. People who refuse to take part in workfare schemes face benefit sanctions of up to 6 months, although pressure on the government from campaigners and legal challenges has seen sanctions removed from some of the schemes.
With unemployment remaining at high levels, no sign of economic recovery and a continued commitment to austerity from the ConDem coalition, we can expect to see more of this, unless we make such a huge outcry now that it is not politically viable for public sector organisations to continue to take part in workfare schemes.
Today the Telegraph has reported that the £5bn work programme is failing, as employers are reluctant to expand their workforce in the face of economic uncertainty. The Telegraph reports that only 20% of people sent on the Work Programme find work, and there is no data as to whether these jobs are temporary or permanent. One thing is clear, that the work programme does not improve people’s chances of getting a job, and is an expensive waste of taxpayer’s money.
The issue with the NHS is not just about the exploitation of unemployed and disabled people, or about the fact that this is taking the place of paid positions, it is also about threats patient care and cuts to the NHS. We implore everyone who can to come along on Thursday and say No to Workfare and No to NHS Cuts.
Thursday 24th May at 5pm
Sandwell Hospital, West Bromwich, B71 4HJ. Assemble at the corner of Little Lane and All Saints Road, outside the A&E dept.
Save our NHS West Midlands and the Birmingham Mail both reported on the event, which took place under the cover of the entrance to the ICC at centenary square as we sheltered from the rain (having missed the hail storm thankfully).
At one point police asked demonstrators to move out from underneath the cover, a request that was roundly refused on the basis that we didn’t want to get caught out by the weather! You can watch some videos of the protest by Birmingham Citizen TV.
Of course, Lansley didn’t pay us a visit on his way in to the conference. Still hurting from the heckling he received at the RCN conference on Monday, and perhaps mindful of this incident, Lansley decided not to take the opportunity to try to defend the fragmentation and privatisation of the Health Service his NHS bill is bringing, nor to explain why he is seeking 20% efficiency savings in the most efficient health service in the world, how staffing cuts have led to the use of workfare labour in Birmingham hospitals, or why he supports regional pay, which 99.2% of Nurses voted to oppose.
However, when Lansley spoke inside, he was heckled over his decision not to release the risk register
He and the rest of the coalition will find it increasingly difficult to avoid the backlash to their disliked and harmful reforms as patient care suffers like it has at this Birmingham Dialysis unit.
Perhaps it is because this will not be an isolated incident that Lansley has vetoed releasing the risk register, a decision the Information Commissioner says “is unjustified and departs from policy” and may have far reaching implications for freedom of information in the UK.
Lansley is responsible for the Health and Social Care Bill, which is currently passing into law, having been voted through by the Tories and Lib Dems, despite the legislation not being in either manifesto, and David Cameron having said that there would be no top down reform of the NHS.
Already the vultures are circling, with Virgin Health and Serco picking up contracts to run NHS services. The cap on private patients in NHS hospital has been raised to 49% and the responsibility for the provision of healthcare services has been removed from the Secretary of State for Health (they now only have to “promote” healthcare services – creating the legal space for the complete privatisation of our healthcare, and the reduction of the NHS to a brand or insurance provider).
Lansley has vetoed the release of the risk register, which examines potential problems with the legislation. This is despite court orders to release it as the information is in the public interest so we can better understand the effect that the changes will have on our healthcare.
Has this been blocked because it reveals that patient care will suffer, as it has for dialysis patients in Birmingham following the outsourcing of the service, or because it reveals the huge risk of healthcare companies going bust, like Southern Cross did in social care – leaving the taxpayer to pick up the bill.
Are they refusing to release it because it shows that the cost of health care will spiral as we hand money over to shareholders in the form of profits, and as administrative costs rise. In the USA, they pay more than twice as much per person for healthcare as we do.
The NHS is the most efficient healthcare system in the world, with among the best patient outcomes. It is not perfect, and can be improved. We need to examine how we can pay for rising healthcare costs associated with an aging population and with ever increasing medical knowledge that finds new treatments. But every single NHS workers organisation – all the doctors and nurses that deliver healthcare – are against the bill, repeatedly calling for it to be withdrawn in its entirety.
These reforms are not the right way to go – moving towards a privatised healthcare system modeled on the expensive and ineffective US model of private insurance with minimal state provided cover.
Join us on Tuesday to continue the fight for the NHS. The bill has not yet passed into law, though the changes it creates are already being implemented. We can make this issue the coalition’s Poll Tax, and reverse the changes that have been made before consulting with NHS workers about how to change the NHS for the better, and not in order to line the pockets of private companies and consultancies like McKinsey.