NHS and health

Target culture hurts patients and workers

As part of the government’s response to the Francis Report in misconduct in the NHS, they have introduced a “duty of candour” for clinical staff. It is designed as an antidote to the bullying culture that led to the abuses at the Mid-Staffs NHS Trust.

Bullying can only be broken by a democratic movement from below. Such a movement in the NHS would lead to better care and open up possibilities for a more equal and democratic future.

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Lewisham Hospital Worker #35 — 20 December 2013

A workplace bulletin by Lewisham Hospital workers, for Lewisham Hospital workers.

Click here to download the PDF.

A workplace bulletin by Lewisham Hospital workers, for Lewisham Hospital workers.

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Reinstate Charlotte Monro!

Charlotte Monro, an occupational therapist and chair of the Unison branch at Whipps Cross Hospital in north east London, has been sacked for speaking out against cuts.

Charlotte Monro, an occupational therapist and chair of the Unison branch at Whipps Cross Hospital in north east London, has been sacked for speaking out against cuts.

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Will this report save NHS emergency services?

The first part of the Keogh Report into urgent and emergency care was published last week. It claims it will lead a complete overhaul of the system it acknowledges is at breaking point. 

The numbers of people accessing urgent and emergency care have risen year on year. Though there is little detailed analysis of what has caused these rise, the report cites an increased elderly population with complex health needs, difficulty accessing out of hours GPs, and the government raising expectations of the system by promoting a market style consumer ethos towards the NHS.

The first part of the Keogh Report into urgent and emergency care was published last week. It claims it will lead a complete overhaul of the system it acknowledges is at breaking point.

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Zombieflash mob for the NHS

Over the last few months the student health campaign Medsin in collaboration with the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts have been working on a student-led campaign in defense of the NHS, against privatisations and cuts.

This week (beginning 25/11) we have a week of action.

Medsin groups and student unions will be holding meetings, showing films, and at 1pm on Saturday 30 November the week will culminate in a nation wide zombie flashmob.

Defend the NHS, become a zombie! The week starting 25/11, there will be a series of student actions in defence of the health service.

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“Reek of McCarthyism” in Lewisham?

What’s eating Toby Abse? In his letter published in Solidarity 303 (13 November), Toby accuses me of writing an article that “reeks of McCarthyism” and claims I am part of an “authoritarian bureaucratic manoeuvre” within the broad-based Save Lewisham Hospital campaign.

Political differences in the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign.

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Targets or trade unions?

On 5 November, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reported that at Colchester General Hospital cancer waiting times had been misrecorded so that the hospital avoided financial penalties for not meeting targets. When staff tried to object, they were bullied by management.

Alarm is a sound response to cancer waiting times being too long. Some cancers can metastasise (have the cancer spread from one organ to another) quite fast, and delay can make the difference between the cancer being curable or not.

On 5 November, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) reported that at Colchester General Hospital cancer waiting times had been misrecorded so that the hospital avoided financial penalties for not meeting targets. When staff tried to object, they were bullied by management.

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Reverse NHS cuts to stop A&E crisis

In September this year there were 43% more patients waiting more than four hours in A&E than two years ago.

There were 89% more 4-12 hour “trolley waits” - patients who have been processed through A&E only to be dumped in a corridor somewhere waiting for a bed in another part of the hospital.

Cliff Mann, of the College for Emergency Medicine, told the Guardian “This winter will probably be the worse than last year, which was the worst year we have ever had”.

The figures reflect both A&E cuts and cuts elsewhere.

In September this year there were 43% more patients waiting more than four hours in A&E than two years ago.

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Polemic was wrong on Lewisham

I am writing this letter in personal capacity since the consensus of Lewisham People Before Profit was against us replying to your attack on us as a group in Solidarity 301 (“Lewisham: Our plans to go on winning”, 29 October), largely since many of those present at our monthly meetings do not read your paper and believe that very few Lewisham voters do.

The role of Lewisham People Before Profit in NHS campigning.

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Lewisham win

On 30 October, the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign and Lewisham Council beat the government at an appeal hearing in the High Court.

A judge once again ruled that Kershaw and Hunt had acted beyond their powers, and that it was unlawful for them to have overridden the objections of the Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group.

The government may now want to go to the Supreme Court but the more real and pressing danger is that the government will rush through changes to the law.

On 30 October, the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign and Lewisham Council beat the government at an appeal hearing in the High Court.

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For real union negotiations on NHS pay: scrap the PRB!

Jeremy Hunt's submission to the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) has called on them to defer the promised 1% pay rise pending discussions on the pay structure. In other words he wants health workers not only to have yet another year of a pay freeze but also hold us to ransom over negotiating away incremental pay rises.

The supposedly independent "Pay Review Body" for the NHS is rigged in employers' favour. Workers need real union negotiations.

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Lewisham: our plans to go on winning

In July, after a strong campaign and big demonstrations in Lewisham, South London, a judicial review blocked the plans of a Special Administrator, backed by the Government, to close major services at Lewisham Hospital. Jill Mountford, an activist in the campaign, reviews its successes and prospects.


The government is appealing against the High Court decision. The hearing takes place on 28 and 29 October.

In July, after a strong campaign and big demonstrations in Lewisham, South London, a judicial review blocked the plans of a Special Administrator, backed by the Government, to close major services at Lewisham Hospital.

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Government attacks NHS workers' pay

The Government has called on NHS pay review bodies to abandon a planned 1% rise in pay for 1.3 million NHS staff.

They say that the rise — which is below inflation and conforms to the Government’s own policy of public sector pay restraint — is unaffordable. It is due to be implemented from April 2014, after two years of pay freeze and attacks on healthworkers’ pensions.

The Government has called on NHS pay review bodies to abandon a planned 1% rise in pay for 1.3 million NHS staff.

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50,000 march against Tories

I was really pleased to be part of the student bloc for much of the 50-60,000 strong TUC march in Manchester on 29 September against the Tories as they met for their conference.

Among many other contingents were activists from Manchester University, where there is a vibrant group called Manchester Save Our NHS.

The important thing about protests like this is to feel positive and buoyed up by is size and passion and take that feeling back to your student union and workplace, and build local campaigns to defend the NHS.

Students and the fight to save the NHS.

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Some thoughts on the NHS demonstration in Manchester

I went to the 29 September demonstrationin defence of the NHS in Manchester (report and pictures here). A few additional thoughts on it, which I hope will provoke discussion.

A few additional thoughts about the 29 September demonstration at the Tory party conference.

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Mentally ill pushed to jails or streets

As austerity puts the squeeze on the most vulnerable, many more people are lurching into mental health crisis. At the same time, services are stretched to breaking point. The mentally unwell are having to fend for themselves. Todd Hamer looks at the issues.


Between 2002-3 and 2007-8 there was a 17% reduction in mental health inpatient beds from 32,753 to 26,928. A Panorama investigation found that there had been a further reduction of 17% since 2008. We have lost a third of inpatient capacity in just 10 years1.

As austerity puts the squeeze on the most vulnerable, many more people are lurching into mental health crisis. At the same time, services are stretched to breaking point. The mentally unwell are having to fend for themselves.

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Lobby of Labour Party conference to defend the NHS

Date: 

22 September, 2013 - 10:30 to 14:00

Location: 

The Level, Brighton BN1

Description: 

Last year, following a drive by Labour Party activists and a lobby outside, Labour Party conference passed a motion committing to a “campaign against privatisation, cuts and closures and to restore the principle of a publicly owned, publicly provided, and publicly accountable NHS funded by progressive taxation and delivering care on the basis of need and not ability to pay.”

This year, activists are following up with another, sharper motion to the conference (see here). More info on how we’ve done with getting motions submitted soon!

On Sunday 22 September, Save Lewisham Hospital campaign and other NHS campaigners will be outside Labour Party conference on the demonstration organised by Brighton People’s Assembly and Brighton Benefits campaign. We’ll be demanding a clear commitment that Labour will reverse the Tory policies that are destroying our health service. Join us!

Facebook event

For more information, including about transport from South London, ring Jill Mountford on 07904 944 771 or email jillmountford@rocketmail.com

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Lewisham Hospital Worker #28 — 6 September 2013

A workplace bulletin for Lewisham Hospital workers, by Lewisham Hospital workers.

A workplace bulletin for Lewisham Hospital workers, by Lewisham Hospital workers.

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Lewisham Hospital Worker #27 — 4 August 2013

A workplace bulletin for Lewisham Hospital workers, by Lewisham Hospital workers.

A workplace bulletin for Lewisham Hospital workers, by Lewisham Hospital workers.

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Whipps Cross protests

Two demonstrations have been set against threatened cuts at Whipps Cross hospital in East London.

The first is on 16 September, 5pm at the Whipps Cross Road entrance; the second, on 21 September 21, noon at The Green.

The threat comes from plans being compiled by Barts Trust to cover a £50 million deficit arising from the £7.1 billion PFI bill at two of the Trust’s five other hospitals, Bart's and the Royal London

Two demonstrations have been set against threatened cuts at Whipps Cross hospital in East London

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Born in the NHS benefit gig

Date: 

24 August, 2013 - 20:00

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The Cluny, Ouseburn, Newcastle, NE1

Description: 

Newcastle Workers' liberty supporters have been involved in organising Born in the NHS gig with Dog Years, Waskerely Way and DJs.
Its Sat 24 August - from 7.30/8pm at the Cluny, Ouseburn, Newcastle
https://www.facebook.com/events/489570824457784/

all funds to support coaches to TUC Save the NHS national demo

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