October 5, 2016 by Protect Our NHS
“The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it. Nye Bevan: 1948.
“The NHS will not exist within five years of the next Tory Government.” Oliver Letwin: 2004.
This is an open letter to just about everyone I know from family, close friends and colleagues to people I may have only spoken to briefly or exchanged one email with.
Most of you will know that I have been actively involved in the campaign to save our National Health Service for about three years now. You will probably have had various levels of encouragement from me to do the same.
As those of you who know me well will (I trust) accept I am not given to scaremongering, hitching lifts on bandwagons, conspiracy theories or unhealthy levels of paranoia so I hope you will take what follows as a serious plea for further help or, if needed, as a very late wake up call.
Personal recommendation, we are told by the advertisers, is the best way to get people on board; so this is my personal recommendation to you to inform yourself about the further running down, destabilisation, fragmentation and creeping privatisation of our National Health Service – something that would seem to have been planned and executed, mostly by stealth, over at least the past twenty years.
Equally importantly I am also urging you to make time to get significantly involved in the fight to save and reinstate our National Health Service.
I ask you to do this now because it may well be that over the next few months we will have our last chance to halt the destruction.
Why so? Because of the preparation, in secret, of the ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans‘ which are being drawn up by small groups of Clinical Commissioning Groups,” Footprints”, under direct instruction from NHS England. From what we have gleaned from leaks and the few STPs already made public these plans are predominately about cuts and sell offs promoted as reorganisations and efficiencies.
Whilst we may be encouraged by the fact of the recent Opposition Day Debate on the STPs in Parliament and the motion in defence of the National Health Service passed at the Labour Party Conference this week, it is by no means clear that the opposition is either totally onside in the battle to defend our National Health Service or in a position to work effectively in that direction.
We, the people, you and I – not just the few of us dismissed by vested interests as rent a crowd and scaremongers – need to stand up and be counted if we want a National Health Service publicly owned, paid for by general taxation, free at the point of use and universally available.
When the STPs are eventually made public it is clear that there will be a very small window for public consultations. And that, of course, is deliberate. We need to raise public awareness and participation to unprecedented levels right now if we are to hit the ground running and take full advantage of every possibility to make our case heard.
This really is not the time to sign a petition and sit back and imagine that we’ve done enough. I want the publicly funded, fully integrated and functional National Health Service which I grew up with for my child and for any children that she and her generation might have. I also want her to know that I have fought for it. Digits need to be extracted on a grand scale.
This is, I believe, a turning point for our society: do we want to live in a place where the misfortune of illness is a common concern for which we pool our resources and achieve world beating efficiencies of scale, or one where wealth and the profit motive determine our healthcare? Do we really want to sleep walk into copying the USA where not only do millions suffer from inadequate healthcare but where healthcare bills are the leading cause of bankruptcies?
Many of you have areas of expertise and public influence in media, arts, business, education, public service, politics, faith groups or wherever; please use this to inform others, to stimulate debate and put pressure on our rulers to halt this theft and descent to the lowest common denominator of public healthcare where profit not the common good becomes the motive.
If you do not have ready access to such levers please do what you can within your own families, friendship groups, faith communities and workplaces to get this issue into the forefront of people’s awareness; it will affect all of them.
Our National Health Service is not perfect, but it sure as hell won’t get any better by being ideologically starved of finance, traduced by the very people put in place to run it and by being fragmented and sold off for private profit.
For those of you still to be convinced that this is the case, or those who would like access to information and arguments from folk much more informed and able than me; have a look at the resources below.
For those of you who would like some pointers as to what you could actually do today to make a difference; see below.
For those of you who would like a conversation about any of this; please just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org … and I’ll respond!
And finally, should there be any of you who think you can rely on any private health insurance you may have been given; read the small print very, very carefully especially when it gets to pre-existing conditions, chronic conditions, emergencies and anything else that might not be profitable.
I’ve tried hard not to let this sound like a rant (the reality is that I’m f***ing furious that the bunch of over privileged buffoons ruling us are getting away with selling off our most useful asset to their equally overly privileged mates in order that they may profit further from our taxes and leave us needing to pay even more for an inferior health system which they will then own).If I have failed in this please don’t let that dissuade you from taking the issue very seriously and from doing whatever you can towards reversing the theft of OUR National Health Service.
Take your pick from the KONP web pages – see below.
“Lord Howe’s Wicked Dream” in Tallis below.
Health Campaigns Together; a quarterly newspaper published by KONP & HCT and available from them or from some local groups. Also currently free online as below.
The Plot Against The NHS. Leys & Player eds, Merlin 2011
NHS SOS. Davis & Tallis eds. Oneworld 2013
NHS FOR SALE. Davis, Lister & Wrigley, Merlin 2015
How to Dismantle the NHS in 10 Easy Steps. El- Gingihy Y. Zero Books 2015.
THE MYSTERY OF BEING HUMAN: GOD, FREEDOM AND THE NHS. Tallis, Notting Hill Editions 2016
THE ESTABLISHMENT and how they get away with it. Owen Jones, Penguin 2014.
The Spirit of 45. Ken Loach
Sell Off II The Great NHS Heist: http://selloff.org.uk/blog/
38 degrees is working on something for release soon.
KEEP OUR NATIONAL HEALTHE SERVICE PUBLIC, KONP, has many local branches and a small central administration with wonderful resources available. www.keepournhspublic.com
PEOPLE’S MARCH FOR THE NHS http://999callfornhs.org.uk/
NATIONAL HEALTH ACTION PARTY. A real political party that has contested national and Euro elections. www.nhap.org