Reinstate Charlotte Monro

The following was sent by the Reinstate Charlotte Monro campaign. The National Health Action Party East London group is happy to offer our support of the campaign and of Charlotte and her family. We call on Barts Health Trust to reinstate Charlotte Monro. Please sign the petition here.

The dismissal of long standing union rep and health worker Charlotte Monro has repercussions not only for health workers but for all workers, particularly those in the public sector. As her tribunal approaches we are publishing these bulletins in order to promote discussion around some of the issues this case highlights.

Bulletin 1

Cuts to budgets and services

Barts health Trust a paradigm for the NHS problems
The NHS is facing a crisis of unparalleled proportions, which the public are now beginning to wake to. But health workers and union reps who speak out are increasingly finding themselves under threat.
Over the last few months growing waits for operations and treatment, long established targets as A&E waiting times impossible to meet, overworked staff unable to deliver the quality of care needed have been reported in the press. A report from Cancer Research UK reveals the strain on cancer services from funding reduction as need grows, stating recent improvements are “in danger of unravelling”.
On Saturday thousands in London greeted the Jarrow peoples march by the Darlow Mothers defending the NHS against cuts and privatisation of the NHS.
Nearly half the acute hospital trusts in England are in financial difficulties. The total deficit forecast of £750 million is nearly double that of last year. This is now recognised as a systemic issue not confined to a few ‘failing’ trusts. (1)
London acute sector faces a deficit of £100 million but this is driven by deficits in just six of the twenty acute providers. Of those six, Barts Health has the largest deficit of £44.8m forecast. This trust provides health care across East London and West Essex to some of the most deprived areas of the capital – indeed some of the most deprived in the country. The population in the three main boroughs served by this trust is set to grow by 32% over next 20 years – 270,000 additional people equivalent to a whole new London borough.
Yet instead of increasing funding to meet need the government is reducing funding by £400m in the health budgets for the area, stated in the ‘Case for Change’ issued by Barts Health Trust with the NE London Commissioning Support Unit (2). This is clearly in direct conflict with meeting need.
We have already seen the consequences of a ruthless drive to meet spending cuts of £76 million last year (now £108 million this year) where experienced staff have left in droves as demoralisation and demotivation followed a mass down banding and staff reduction programme forced through by the Trust Board. Building health services is a long term process driven by the vision and commitment of health staff. To destabilise the workforce inevitably has an adverse effect on services to patients, rendering them more vulnerable to reduction or closure.
Staff and unions warned of the impact of the proposals, and more than 500 written submissions, representative speaking at the board, and staff demonstrating in their hundreds. Along with the drive to implement these reductions in staff pay and conditions came an increasing climate of intimidation. This was revealed in a Care Quality commission inspection at the time in November 2013. Management determination to remove barriers to change by silencing critical voices is demonstrated in the case of Charlotte Monro, a senior clinical staff member and trade union representative of many years’ service, very well placed to comment on the changes proposed and on the likely effects.
Ahead of the launch of the change proposals she was barred from the Trust meetings with Union reps and placed under disciplinary investigation for her trade union activities and then dismissed. This sent a clear message to staff on the likely consequences of speaking out. (The dismissal is being challenged by Charlotte and her union through an employment tribunal to be held on 23rd September 2014.)
The campaign for her reinstatement is gaining widespread support because the issues are increasingly seen as having national resonance with concerns that this is a growing national trend. In a climate where NHS budgets and services are being cut and contracted out to the private sector, the importance of staff and staff representatives being free to speak out to maintain good quality patient care has been clearly demonstrated by recent experience.

In the context of impossible funding cuts how can any consultation be meaningful unless it includes challenging the fundamental assumptions which drive the proposals for change.

Please look out for further bulletins from the Reinstate Charlotte Monro campaign.

Notes
1 – HSJ online and printed version 22/8/14
2 – Transforming Services Chinging Lives Interim Case for Change

This clip outlines some of the financial impetuses behind NHS privatisation and cuts.

Whipps Cross Hospital: end bullying, reinstate Charlotte Monro

A petition has been launched calling on Barts Health NHS Trust (BHT) to put an end to bullying at Whipps Cross Hospital and reinstate Charlotte Monro, an Occupational Therapist with 26 years of service at Whipps Cross who was sacked after attempting to highlight the risks to patients of cuts at BHT during an open meeting.

Local people have been concerned for the future of Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone since it became part of Barts Health NHS Trust in 2012. Services at Whipps Cross are thought to be especially at risk as BHT proceeds with its financial rescue plan. Amid a culture of bullying at the hospital hundreds of staff have had their jobs downgraded and services are being cut. BHT is having to make the biggest savings in the NHS, with £30m saved in 2013. Savings are demanded by government policy and the repayments on the huge PFI debt sustained by BHT in the rebuilding of The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

According to Barts Health Trust’s own website, Whipps Cross is a centre of excellence for many services, including cardiology, cancer care and acute stroke care. Yet Charlotte Monro has been sacked after defending these very services.

Please sign the petition calling for Charlotte Monro to be reinstated to the job that she loves so passionately:

“A culture of bullying and a climate where staff feared consequences if they spoke out was revealed in a CQC inspection of Barts Health NHS Trust, the largest in the country. It is Barts Health that dismissed Charlotte.

We ask you to sign the petition and pass it on as widely as possible. We have to roll back this culture of diktat within the NHS – a culture that is not compatable with care.

In a climate where NHS budgets and services are being cut and contracted out to the private sector, the importance of staff and staff representatives being free to speak out to maintain good quality patient care has been clearly demonstrated by events at Mid Staffs hospital.

Charlotte was sacked over speaking to elected councillors at scrutiny committee about cuts to patient services… and for liaising with staff affected by proposed changes and job losses… as a trade union rep. Part way into the disciplinary process, her employers then included a new allegation: that she had failed to declare protest-related convictions from the 1960s and 70s when starting her job 26 years ago…”

Please sign the petition.

Thank you.

How Come We Didn’t Know? Privatisation: the corporate takeover of our NHS

How Come We Didn’t Know? This is an exhibition by photographer Marion Macalpine that aims to spread awareness of the privatisation of the NHS as widely as possible. The exhibition was launched in Stoke Newington in early May at a NHS hustings organised by Hackney KONP (Keep Our NHS Public) for the local elections.
The exhibition features around 20 photographs of private health company buildings, each with an information panel highlighting the relevant corporation’s involvement in the privatisation of our NHS. Through her exhibition Marion Macalpine explores the many facets of NHS privatisation, such as PFI (private finance initiative), private companies masquerading as NHS under the NHS logo; the cherry-picking of ‘low risk’, profitable patients which, in turn increases costs to whatever may be left of the publicly-run NHS; fraud or tax avoidance; and, private corporations behind-the-scenes involvement in trade treaties such as TTIP, the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

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An East London story: Harmoni – out of hours GP service
Not a happy tale. Eventually an enterprise led by local GPs took on responsibility for running the OOH service after Harmoni’s failures. The social enterprise had previously tried several times to win the contract. Unfortunately, some GP practices in Hackney are now under threat themselves due to changes, i.e. cuts, to GP funding. Some of the GPs who stepped into the breach left in Harmoni’s wake are now at risk of losing their day jobs.

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Keeping close to issues having a direct impact on East London…
The Private Finance Initiative (PFI): The Royal London, Whitechapel; Barts Health Trust. The £1.1billion PFI used to build the Royal London is costing East London taxpayers £115million per year and will eventually cost us over £7billion. That’s an amazingly good return on investment for the private partner! It also creates issues at our local East London hospitals with staff retention, keeping wards open and patient care.

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Corporates masquerading as NHS: Virgin Care
Why does it matter that Virgin uses the NHS logo rather than its own corporate signage at the Jarvis Screening Centre? To answer a question with questions: do you like being misled? Why would they choose not to use their own logo which they seek to promote so energetically elsewhere?

As NHA Party Co-Leader Dr Clive Peedell explains: “These firms are funded by the NHS so they are allowed to use the NHS logo. You can even go to the NHS branding website and see where it tells private companies how to use it as it has a 95 per cent satisfaction and approval rating. The public are duped into believing they are getting NHS care while these companies are siphoning off profits.”

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Corporates can maximise profits by accepting only routine cases: Care UK; BMI Health Care

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“Hospitals are paid a standard rate for specific treatments, regardless of any complications. But private hospitals can cherry-pick their patients and refer those with more complex needs back to the NHS for treatment and still get paid for authorising their referrals.

This privately-run centre has these criteria for accepting NHS patients:
The patient
– does not require complex surgery or prolonged inpatient rehabilitation
– does not have a chronic disease that would require intermediate post-operative care
– has a Body Mass Index of 40 or less
– does not have sickle cell anaemia, complex clotting disorders or significant renal failure”
In other words if you’re obese or really ill they can’t turn a profit and don’t want you. This approach sucks funding away from publicly-operated NHS services. Anyone with complex needs will be left to the publicly-operated NHS yet the hospitals receive the same tariff irrespective of care requirements.

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Corporates can hide profits in tax havens: Spire

Spire seem quite delighted by the opportunity the UK private health market offers to them. Money from the public purse when siphoned through Luxembourg can be used to annul their UK tax bill.

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Corporates can dump unprofitable contracts: Ramsay Health (and Serco)

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Dumping contracts can not only poison the finances of the health trust concerned but can have a knock-on effect that threatens neighbouring health trusts.

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Having also dumped several contracts, Serco (accused of corruption, see below) recently announced its plans to withdraw from the UK clinical health services market due to lack of profitability.

Some corporates deliver dangerous care: BMI Health Care

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Some corporates accused of corruption: Serco

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US health giant, The Hospital Corporation of America was forced to pay over $1.7billion in settlements after US allegations of fraud. HCA is reportedly planning to expand into the NHS.
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UPDATE 27th August 2014: : Serco is embroiled in a fresh misuse of public funds scandal after a company it set up overcharged NHS hospitals millions of pounds.

All in it together – how politicians, lobbyists and global corporations cooperate and how this may lead to the permanent loss of our publicly-funded, publicly-operated NHS…

Big Pharma lobby group – links with the NHS: Specialist Healthcare Alliance and JMC Partners. Public money paid to Big Pharma to consult on how to spend public money!

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The Voluntary Sector used as a Trojan horse: ACEVO

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Global consultancies and the NHS: KPMG, public money funding privatisation of the NHS

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NHS opened up to EU competition law: Department of Business and Innovation

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International trade agreements cement permanent NHS privatisation: TTIP, J.P. Morgan and the City of London Corporation

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What can YOU do about this?


You can join local people in your area campaigning against the TTIP on Saturday 30th August. Details here.

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To discuss using the exhibition for your NHS campaign please leave a message for us pass on to Marion Macalpine, or contact konph@hackneykeepournhspublic.org