‘Hub’ Hubris – The ‘Defend Our NHS’ fight back opens the party season

Hunt

As the  party season arrives here is our first notification from our good friends Defend Our NHS (DONHS) Wirral that they’re organising  ‘a bit of a do’ .

Of course all we can do is sarcasm and satire so we doff our caps to those out there who actually give a damn and go out there and do something about it. They’ve also listed other dates that should interest you if you care about the future of the NHS – including a Clinical Commissioning Group meeting to be held tomorrow (see below).

We would also add that Wirral Council’s Cabinet meeting on Monday 27th November is a date for the diary for anyone interested in bloody ‘hubs’ and more specifically ‘integrated commissioning hubs’. Sorry scrub that – as you can see all the interesting stuff that affects YOUR life and health will be discussed behind closed doors. Because that’s how Wirral Council roll (over all of us).

STP Hub

Dear friends of the NHS,

First the good news: we’re having a Christmas Party! We wanted to celebrate all we’ve done in the past year and give everyone a much -needed chance to relax from campaigning and to make and renew acquaintances with fellow NHS defenders.

It will be in central Birkenhead on the evening of Friday 8th December. There will be hot and cold food available. If we are to go ahead and make final arrangements, we need to know who is coming AND if you want food. (Food – something like chilli/curry with a vegetarian option – will be available at a cost of up to £10; it could be less if we have enough people. Any extra money will be used for printing leaflets and room hire.)

Only people who reply by 27th November to say they are coming will be sent the final details and ticket arrangements. Email now!

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

But now the bad news – and we’re afraid there’s little else.

You will know that our campaigning this year has concentrated on Wirral Council. We wanted them to do a simple thing: to make good on the agreed policy to oppose the so-called ‘sustainability and transformation plan/partnership’ (STP).

They agreed this in December 2016 – yet it took the leader of the Council, Phil Davies, eight months to send off the letter to Jeremy Hunt.

We’ve been lobbying and briefing councillors and pointing out the wickedness of the STP and its associated ‘accountable care organisation/system’.

Only last month councillors agreed that, “This Council will, therefore, remain opposed to changes and savings which place the achievements of our NHS at risk.

The STP would involve £1bn CUTS for the Cheshire and Merseyside area.

The reduced budget will have to pay for social care AS WELL AS our NHS services.

Meanwhile the party to which most Wirral councillors belong has adopted a policy of complete reinstatement of the NHS.

So imagine our surprise when we discovered the following…

21 11 2017 - DONHS picture (1)

Guess who’s advising Wirral on this? Yes, Private Eye’s old friends, global auditing company Price Waterhouse Cooper– PwC (known in the trade as ‘profits without conscience’). 

On Wirral we have already seen how quickly cuts can be implemented. Eastham Walk-In centre was closed within days with no consultation with the public. We have already been warned about the “really big cuts to come” and everyone has evidence of long delays for appointments, staff shortages, service cuts and rationing.

Thanks to a fantastic community campaign the Eastham centre is to be re-opened. But will this be at the expense of A&E at Arrowe Park?

To compound the misery Wirral clinical commissioning group have secretly agreed to talk to Wirral partners (including the Council) and potentially to send a letter to NHSE requesting Wirral CCG join something called the ‘Capped Expenditure Programme’. If you want to know why this is terrifying read this from the BMA:

Have YOU been consulted on any of this? Does any of it meet the NHS mission of ‘no decision about me without me’?

We are simply flabbergasted – but we will fight back, and we urge you to do the same.

                        …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

What can we do if the NHS is to have a happy Christmas?

Join us and fight to reverse NHS cuts & privatisation

      Oppose the STP and ACS

      Insist that your councillors and MPs do the same

      Fight for the full restoration of an effective NHS

      Ensure that the Eastham NHS Walk-In Centre is re-opened without damage to other services (for example NO cuts to Arrowe Park A&E)

       Achieve an emergency £20m increase for Wirral NHS funding

      Come to the CCG ‘consultation’ meeting in Mayer Hall, Bebington from 6.30pm WEDNESDAY 22nd NOVEMBER

      Protest at the Wirral cabinet meeting, Wallasey town hall, 9am MONDAY 27TH NOVEMBER

      Protest at the Wirral council meeting, Wallasey town hall, 5pm MONDAY 11TH DECEMBER

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ALL Wirral councillors have been asked these three simple questions:

  1. Do you support our campaign to stop the STP/ACS and oppose the further near £1 billion cuts? YES/NO
  2. Do you support the reinstatement of our NHS? YES/NO
  3. Will you tell Wirral voters what your responses are in any forthcoming communication? YES/NO

The replies we’ve received so far are very interesting.

And note that all Wirral MPs have been asked to pledge allegiance to the NHS at https://weownit.org.uk/nhstakeback Guess how many have?

IF OUR COUNCILLORS AND MPs FAIL TO JOIN US IN DEFENDING THE NHS WE HAVE A NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION.

SOME OF THEM WON’T LIKE IT.

                        ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………                        Reminder:

  1. Reply now and tell us how many tickets you want for the Christmas party.
  2. Put those meeting dates in your diary and join us.
  3. Share this email and the information as widely as you can. And finally:
  4. We have been campaigning locally to defend our NHS for almost seven years. We need some new blood in the team who will DO things. If you are as determined as us to make this a happy NHS Christmas get in touch.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………                        Best wishes on behalf of Defend Our NHS

                        defendournhswirral@gmail.com

                        https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

                        https://twitter.com/DefendourNHS



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Public Services – ‘At Risk’

Public sector workers

Public service ‘transformers’ at work.

Today we return to a sadly familiar tale. The destruction of public services and those public servants making a killing making it happen and enabling private sector vultures to gorge on the corpse.
Let’s start appropriately enough with one of our respondents by the name of ‘P45’ who told us in a reply to an earlier post :
Won’t be reported in the glorious Wirral View how hundreds of (Wirral) council workers have just this week received ‘at risk’ letters.
Average wage of these manual workers 18k a year – the normal cuts start at the bottom.
Compare that with the obscene rates paid to fly by night municipal mercenaries in the form of external consultants and  particularly so called ‘transformers’ who seem particularly adept at transforming their bank balance if nothing else. These are dark days for public services – not just in terms of central government funding but also because of those who seek financial and /or career advantage from its demise.
No doubt the latest round  of redundancy threats will be done in the name of short term savings when we all know its more about the Council divesting themselves of direct responsibility for staff and services.  Then watch as in the long term the council wage bill rises to pay for agency workers and temporary staff on insecure short term contracts.
But then what hope do rank and file staff have when they are not only at the mercy of self serving senior managers but are also ill served by supine unions and betrayed by amoral councillors – the most sickening example being serial failure Cllr Steve Foulkes recently voting himself a rise in expenses/allowances for sitting on outside bodies alongside his day job and his council duties when council staff are at risk of losing their livelihoods.
Of course this  “I’m Alright Jack” mentality shows up the support for the likes of foodbanks and the homeless to be the phony political posturing and cynical virtue signalling that it is.  ” Oh these foodbanks are a damning indictment of modern society  ….. I know !  let’s open another foodbank so I can get my picture in the paper”.
As we know there’s not only political capital to be had at the expense of the vulnerable there is ,more pertinently,  financial capital to be gained.
Indeed we have been provided with a telling example by a well placed source who notes that we have written extensively about Change, Grow, Live  (CGL).  As we know CGL are the grateful recipients of the biggest slice of Public Health monies ( £7 million +) to provide drug and alcohol services that were previously provided by the NHS. Our source has been reliably informed that David Biddle the Chief Executive of  CGL ( formerly Crime Reduction Initiatives) will be in line for a £1 million golden handshake when he retires next year .  David Biddle – ‘stepping down’
In an interview published last year in The Guardian Mr Biddle claimed ‘what pissed people off’ was that CGL were ‘very businesslike’. Read the full story here : What pisses people off
Believe us Mr Biddle the CGL operation on Wirral has been described to us in many ways but ‘very businesslike’ certainly isn’t one of them! What’s more what we think really pisses us off is people making obscene amounts of public money that can be made out of other people’s misery . As our source says :
Surely this is public money, squeezed from LA drug budgets as CGL undercut by some way existing NHS services, like Wirral, and set up inferior and less effective services. Remember the 72 dead here in their first eighteen months? Talk about blood money.
It is because of the increasing prevalence of scenarios such as this that we applaud the work of campaign groups such as Defend Our NHS Wirral who campaign to support public services for the benefit of ALL and not just the gilded elite ‘transforming’ public services mainly for the benefit of themselves.
“Will you defend our NHS?”
Wirral campaign group Defend Our NHS has written to all councillors to find out where they stand on the destruction of the National Health Service.
The group, alongside others in Cheshire & Merseyside, is asking councillors to do more than express their admiration for the NHS and its staff.
Rather than simply share patients’ and widespread public concerns at the harm being done to our health service by cuts and closures Wirral councillors have the statutory power to STOP the damage in its tracks.
Wirral shares the same problems as other parts of the country. But the closure of the Eastham Walk-In Clinic (without adequate notice or indeed any consultation), the pressures on Arrowe Park Hospital, and the ongoing appointment difficulties are just some of the specific local concerns.
All of this, and the accelerating pace at which problems are mounting, are the inevitable result of £22 billions cut from the NHS budget. And now the so-called ‘sustainability and transformation partnership’ (STP) would produce a permanent regime of cuts (almost a further £1 billion in our region) and threats to a free national health service.
Wirral Council voted last December to oppose the STP for Cheshire & Merseyside which would inevitably (unless stopped) lead to an American-style ‘accountable care system’ (ACS).
The STP and ACS scandal is now the subject of two legal challenges.
Defend Our NHS is asking all councillors three simple questions to discover where they stand on all this.
Along with other campaign groups in the STP ‘footprint’ Defend Our NHS will be publishing the results and inviting councillors to briefing sessions to learn more about the destruction of our NHS – and how to defend and reinstate it.
1. Do you support our campaign to stop the STP and oppose the further cuts? YES/NO
2. Do you support the reinstatement of our NHS? YES/NO
3. Will you tell Wirral voters what your responses are in any forthcoming communication? YES/NO

Bank Holiday Bulletin Board

With His Lord and Ladyship still on what the latter lamentably calls a ‘vacay’ the faithful retainers at Leaky Towers have been asked to publicise the following in their absence.

Firstly we’ve been asked to give 2 local petitions some exposure:

https://www.change.org/p/wirral-council-stop-development-on-bidston-hill?utm_source=embedded_petition_view

The so called “LEISURE PENINSULA ” council want to sell off  land Bidston Hill for housing
The decision of no government funding to re-build NEW FERRY – central government may be selective when it comes to funding such disasters but from what we’ve seen we  have to say Wirral Council don’t seem to be cognizant about how such disaster funding actually works.
Secondly here’s a reminder and further news about the Defend Our NHS Wirral meeting on September 7th

Leaflet3 August 2017Dear friends of the NHS

This is to remind you of our public meeting in Birkenhead on Thursday 7th September.

We’re pleased to say that we will be joined by national campaigner Steve Carne talking about the STPs and NHS reinstatement.

The need to share information and alert the public is ever more urgent. Please circulate this message and the attachment. The NHS is on its knees and we need to fight desperately to save it.

Please see the revised notice for the meeting, which is attached, and this welcome news below from the Latest edition of Private Eye. The STPs are now called in true George Orwell style ‘sustainability and transformation partnerships’. ‘And’, by the way, is the only word in that title which does not mean the opposite of what it says:

·      ‘Sustainable’ = slashed budgets and services.

·      ‘Transformed’ = cut, demoralised and damaged beyond recognition.

·      ‘Partnership’ = developed in secret, operating in secret, condemned by local councils, a total lack of public/patient consultation, and the only happy partners are Richard Branson and a series of US ‘healthcos’.

 The STPs must be stopped, opposed, reversed and the damage undone.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting, to which ALL Wirral councillors and MPs are being invited.

Best wishes on behalf of DONHS

More about STPs? http://www.stopthestps.org.uk/home/4593142849

More about DONHS? https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

Leaflet3 August 20172

Public Service Announcement : Defend Our NHS (DONHS) Meetings

NHS 009

Published on behalf of DONHS Wirral are details of upcoming meetings and the following message :

We will be inviting Wirral councillors and all four Wirral MPs.

The focus of the meeting will be the local STP – now officially called a ‘sustainability and transformation partnership’  

Some partnership! It doesn’t include patients , STPs generally are not engaging or collaborating with GPs

(let alone the public), and 80% of councillors thought STPs were “not fit for purpose” and “prioritised cost-cutting and closing hospitals over preventing illness”.

The reality of the STP is the dismnatling of our NHS. Campaigners have been warning about this for years. Every day we see the headlines.

Wirral Council voted overwhelmingly in December to oppose the local version of ‘slash, trash and privatise’ and to write a letter of protest to the government. We have no evidence that the letter was sent or a reply received. And now the leader of the Council says  “I don’t see any sign that STPs are going away,…” Some opposition!…

Come and join us – and join our campaign to share information about what’s happening  and to OPPOSE the STP.

(Talking of opposition : did you write to your councillors and MPs as we urged you last month? Where do you send them? It’s easy – simply click here and adapt the draft letter attached . Thank you! http://www.writetothem.com/  

Best wishes on behalf of DONHS

More about STPs? http://www.stopthestps.org.uk/home/4593142849

More about DONHS? https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/

 

 

STP – Slash, Trash and Privatise

davies

‘Defend the NHS – Wirral’ and ‘999 Call For The NHS’ have contacted us to share their concerns about ‘Sustainability & Transformation Partnerships’ (STP). Of course we’re suspicious of anything with ‘Transformation’ in the title. And certainly anything touched by the dead hand of Wirral Council leader Cllr Phil ‘Power Boy Pip’ Davies.

Therefore we proudly present a crash course kindly provided by the above pressure groups as to why we all need to be concerned about  STPs.

The STPs are the vehicle to ‘slash, trash and privatise’. You can find all the gory details here:http://www.stopthestps.org.uk/mad-as-hell/4593267514

The story of Wirral Council’s leader and his steps from willing participant to Damascene conversion to unconversion along the road to health and well-being (taken from published minutes inter alia).

Step 1: 9th March 2016 Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.

“The Board discussion included a focus on: How the Wirral Plan and 20 Pledges related to the work of the Board; How the Plan related to the emerging NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plan; and How the Board could add value to help deliver more effective and efficient partnership working to achieve our priorities.

The Board agreed that a follow up discussion was required to understand and agree, within the Wirral Plan and emerging strategies:- Which strategies were top priorities for the Board; and Which strategies does the Board wish to; Lead; Influence; or be kept informed – included in Figure 1 of the report.

To help inform the follow up discussion, the report brought together some supporting information. This aimed to draw out the strategic linkages between the draft Health and Wellbeing Strategy and the Wirral Plan in order to help partners agree the future focus, priorities and strategic direction for the Board. 

Councillor Phil Davies cautioned against duplicating work and suggested the focus be on how, as a Board, members could add value to the whole agenda.”

Step 2: 13th July Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.

“Jon Develing, Chief Officer, Wirral CCG presented the report to brief members of the Health and Well Being Board on sustainability and transformation plans for Cheshire and Mersey and how this would be informed by a local delivery services plan for Wirral….…Members welcomed the report and agreed it would be a good framework and focus for the Health and Wellbeing Board with helpful ties to the Wirral 20:20 Plan.
Resolved – That the development of the Healthy Wirral Local Delivery System Plan and the mechanism by which this will feed into the wider development of the Cheshire and Mersey STP be noted and endorsed.”

Step 3: 16th November Health & Wellbeing Board. Phil Davies in the chair.

This is the day the STP was officially published. Board papers included the milestones and timetable for the Sustainability and Transformation Plans and associated operational plan. Apparently glitches on the CCG web site were disrupting further dissemination. Item 4 on the agenda was the sustainability and transformation plan (STP) and a verbal report from Graham Hodkinson, Director for Health & Care. Councillor Davies refused both to take the item and to allow any questions or comments from the audience. The exchange is available on video via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTvIQwwwUWw  about two minutes in.

Step 4: Wirral Globe 21st November

Sit down before you read this…Leader of Wirral Council Phil Davies says: “we are extremely unhappy that elected members and officers have not been involved in the process of producing STPs and we will not sign up to any of the proposals until we have had an opportunity to discuss the contents of the STP and effective arrangements put in place to engage our residents.”  READERS FALL OVER IN AMAZEMENT…

Step 5: November: Angela Eagle, MP for Wallasey (Wirral) statement:

”Yesterday I sat down with Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Borough Council, to discuss the Tory government’s plans for a billion pound in cuts to our local NHS. These cuts threaten the future of acute care across the whole of the Wirral. It became clear very quickly that the plans are yet another top-down set of cuts and reorganisations, imposed by the arrogant Tory government, on the Wirral, and that neither Phil nor I have had any say on the plans at all. It is wrong for the Government to act in complete defiance and without any consultation with local people, workers and their representatives. Sign our petition today at www.savewirralnhs.com to register your concerns.”

Step 6: 28th November Wirral People Overview Scrutiny Committee:

Rejected the Cheshire & Merseyside STP.

The plan was also rejected by Cheshire West and Chester Health and Wellbeing Board on 16th November, by Sefton Council on 17th November, and by the Liverpool Health and Wellbeing Board on 1st December. These have all been widely reported. Knowsley Council have joined the opposition.

Step 7: December 2016 full Council meeting:

 “agrees to write to the Secretary of State for Health and call on the government to withdraw these Plans immediately with a view to holding urgent discussions with key partners, including local Councils, on how good quality health and social care services can be provided going forward [sic] based on continuing to provide a National Health Service which is properly funded and free at the point of need.”  

There is no evidence that the letter was written or a reply received.

Step 8: July 2017 Phil Davies writes:

“I don’t see any sign that STPs are going away, although they have been re-badged as Five Year Forward View Delivery Plans. Locally, we have committed to integrated commissioning, and that naturally leads to the question of how the providers are going to respond.  There have been a series of workshops, led by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC), to explore what our view is about accountable care on Wirral.  What has come out of that is that there are a number of options, ranging from a single ‘organisation’ through to an ‘alliance of providers’ and a couple of stops in between.  The very strong view currently expressed by the providers (and that includes the GPs) is that they do not want a single Accountable Care Organisation, so we are talking about an Accountable Care System…”

Meanwhile…

The cuts have already started – Wirral CCG ran something called a ‘consultation exercise’ late in 2016. It’s part of the STP but they don’t say that too loudly. And it asked the public for their opinions on proposals to cut a whole list of medical services. [And they’ve already been ending contracts for valuable work.]

So, rather than simple clinical decisions, the public were invited to vote in some kind of treatment beauty contest. People in other parts of the country are being asked to vote on different lists. The local NHS is becoming a postcode lottery.

Meanwhile the cuts have been happening for years because we and the NHS are being ROBBED.

Last year US drug giant Pfizer increasing the price of 100mg packs of an anti-epilepsy drug from £2.83 to £67.50.

We are being robbed by the PFI (private finance initiative) – hospitals built and then leased back to the NHS at eye-watering rates of interest, often by firms which also blacklist trade unionists.

And it’s happening close to home. Not many Wirral residents know that 20 of their local GPs are in cahoots with Richard Branson. Yes, the tax ‘avoider’ Richard Branson runs Virgin Care – and they are in a surgery near you. It’s not a huge contract BUT Branson is biding his time until the NHS collapses and he and his collaborators are asked to pick up the pieces and run a service on the cheap ‘in the community’.

We’re being robbed by accountancy firms like Price Waterhouse Cooper, brought in and paid £300,000 by the Cheshire & Merseyside STP to identify where the STP can make cuts.

Most of all we’re being robbed by the madness of running something we never used to have – an NHS market. Thousands of managers, administrators, lawyers, accountants, inspectors, regulators employed simply to oil the wheels of awarding contracts to private firms. Privatisation does NOT save money. The cost of running the NHS commissioning ‘market’ takes about 15% of the total budget.

So hospital waiting lists get longer and you can’t get an appointment with your GP despite the fantastic efforts of NHS doctors, nurses, paramedics and other staff whose wages have been frozen and whose conditions get worse. Medicines previously available on free prescription now have to be bought.

Why? Not because we need to ‘save’ money. The NHS is almost the cheapest health service in the developed world.

So why the problems?

Because there have already been billions and billions of pounds worth of cuts.

Because of the robberies listed.

Because staff aren’t been recruited and trained.

But most of all because this government WANTS to destroy the NHS and force us into some US-style insurance scheme.

That’s the emergency in brief.