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

Chingford and Woodford Green – you can help the NHS!

From 38 Degrees…

Gloria who lives in Chingford and Woodford Green is meeting next Saturday, the 30th August, to spread the word about the sinister EU-US trade deal TTIP. Are you free?

Joining in on the day is easy. As soon as you sign up using the link below, you’ll be able to see the plans in Chingford and Woodford Green and chat to the rest of your group. So will you join in with Gloria and give an hour or two on Saturday 30th August? Please sign up now to make sure the office team has time to send you a pack of flyers.

If you aren’t able to join the action please donate here to help fund the materials.

Here’s a map of your area and the volunteers who have signed up so far. The plan is simple. The link takes you to a page on the 38 Degrees website where you can connect with Gloria near you. Once you’ve clicked the link you’ll need to pop in a few details, and then you can start making plans with the other 38 Degrees members in your area.

The 38 Degrees office team will send you a pack. It’ll include a badge, a poster, bumper stickers, and leaflets for you to hand out. The leaflets explain the dangers of the trade deal in plain English and lets people know how they can take action too.

Already, over 120,000 38 Degrees members have signed a petition against TTIP. There are lots of parts of the deal to worry about. It’ll make privatisation of our services like the NHS and National Rail irreversible. It’ll also allow big corporations to sue our government if they make changes to the law that affect the businesses’ profits – like raising the minimum wage. [1]

The government is not going to have a sudden change of heart on TTIP unless they’re bombarded with questions and opposition. The only way we can do this is through people power – making sure as many of us as possible know about it. Whatever you can do to raise awareness of TTIP where you live will help.

So can you spare an hour or two and join thousands of 38 Degrees members to campaign against TTIP?
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/ttip-leaflet-action

Thanks for being involved,

Megan, Nat, James, Barney, Blanche and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] The Independent: British sovereignty ‘at risk’ from EU-US trade deal: UK in danger of surrendering judicial independence to multinational corporations, warn activists:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/british-sovereignty-at-risk-from-euus-trade-deal-uk-in-danger-of-surrendering-judicial-independence-to-multinational-corporations-warn-activists-9057318.html
Touchstone: Special courts for foreign investors have no place in trade deals:
http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2013/11/special-courts-for-foreign-investors-have-no-place-in-trade-deals/

Who will save the NHS?

This is it folks… Pretty much nails things.
Only quibble is about NHA: past experience proves single issue candidates can win elections. Our Co-Leader Dr. Richard Taylor has done it twice already. Going for the hat trick in 2015! Here‘s an overview of Dr Taylor’s political career.

Big Up the NHS


I know the approach I have taken in this blog is a bit contrived and potentially irritating but as a device to get the main message across it might work. Please bear with me and read to the end to find my answer, and share widely if you agree with the logic.

It takes the form of a conversation between me (@butNHS) and the average man (or woman) in the street (TMITS).


TMITS  – “What – save the NHS? Surely the NHS is one of the UKs best loved institutions and recognised to be the most efficient, effective and equitable health care system in the world. We all depend on it from cradle to grave. It is at the core of our society, truly a national treasure. How can it possibly need saving?”

@butNHS – “Yes, all these things are true, but the NHS as we know it – funded…

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Support Whipps Cross staff today 12-2

Fair Pay for NHS Staff Join the National Day of Protest

UNISON members at Whipps Cross Hospital, the union for nurses, therapists, and support staff, have called a protest for this Thursday, June 5th from 12 till 2 pm, outside the main entrance to the site, near Whipps Cross roundabout

Come and stand with NHS workers – no to low pay, no to cuts and no to privatisation!

Hospital workers are angry that the miserly 1% pay rise they offered this year will not even be implemented for many NHS staff. The below inflation pay rise means that workers get poorer every year. Many workers at Whipps have already seen their pay down banded because of government cuts and to fund the massive PFI debt for the new hospital at Whitechapel.
But the fight brewing in the NHS isn’t just over wages – low pay goes hand-in-hand with making our hospital services attractive for private companies to bid for

Musical interlude

We’re out and about campaigning all weekend. For East London we’ll be in Hackney and Waltham Forest tomorrow. Leytonstone, Walthamstow and Stoke Newington (OK, strictly speaking it’s North London but only just).

We’ve got our soundtrack for the weekend in the form of this little ditty.

We hope you like it. Feel free to dance…

Public Meeting: Whipps Cross Hospital – in Safe Hands?

Join Dr Louise Irvine and Dr Chidi Ejimofo as they discuss their experiences in the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign in the context of the threats to Whipps Cross Hospital and other East London NHS services.

Note, this is NOT a National Health Action Party meeting. Other speakers include Councillor Richard Sweden (Health Scrutiny) and frontline staff from Whipps Cross.

WALTHAM FOREST SAVE OUR NHS

Public Meeting:
Tuesday, 13th May 2014, 7.30 pm

  • Are you worried that Hospital staff are rushed off their feet?
  • Are you concerned that staff morale is low?
  • Are you worried that private companies will end up running our health service for their own profit?
  • Are you concerned that private patients can queue jump to get treatment quickly?
  • Are you worried we might lose services essential to our local hospital?

Its our NHS, our Local Hospital, lets act to protect it.

Tuesday 13th May – 7.30pm.

Quaker Meeting House, 1a Jewel Road, Walthamstow E17 4QU.

Speakers include : >

  • Dr Louise Irvine GP,
  • Dr Chidi Ejimofo Consultant A and E (Lewisham Hospital Campaign ),
  • Cllr Richard Sweden (Health Scrutiny) and
  • Frontline staff from Whipps Cross.

Waltham Forest Save our NHS.

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Unison Statement on Charlotte Monro

Charlotte Monro, Whistleblower

WALTHAM FOREST SAVE OUR NHS

Statement from Dave Prentis on Charlotte Monro

Unison have issued a statement on the unfair dismissal case of Charlotte Monro from Whipps Cross Hospital.

We thought it would be nice to pair up the link to the statement with this footage of Ron Singer talking about the culture of bullying at Whipps Cross.

Video courtesy of Hoang Mi

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NHAP representative’s write-up of The People’s Parliament – Save Our NHS

Following the successful launch of the NHAP European election campaign I decided to attend a session of The People’s Parliament last night in the House of Commons. It was the first time I had ever set foot inside the Houses of Parliament. I was unsure what to expect.

The only snag came during the screening upon entering the complex. While I encourage you to carry your #stickupfortheNHS stickers with you at all times, if you try to take them into parliament your stickers will be confiscated, despite my assurances that I’m not going to plaster stickers everywhere. I’m not a child. Tempting mind! Thankfully a receipt was issued and stickers were returned.

You can read more about the panellists who spoke at the meeting here. The panel included Dr Jacky Davis of Keep Our NHS Public. Dr Davis gave the National Health Action Party credit for pressuring Labour into taking a stance (of sorts) to exempt the NHS from TTIP. More on Labour and TTIP here.

Opposing TTIP was a key theme of the discussion. Read this article to learn why we at NHAP think it is so vital to exempt the NHS from the treaty. This is not an anti-trade stance, this is not an anti-American stance. This is an anti-entombing-the-NHS-in-privatisation-forever stance. I pointed out that people need to be more vocal about the fact that the ‘public consultation’ is a sham. I’m going to try to grapple with this some more. I believe that the online questionnaire (full version here) is designed to be inaccessible.

Here’s the intro:

Given the length of this consultation we strongly recommend that you print out the consultation notice and the consultation document and prepare your answers off-line before completing the questionnaire.

It is not technically possible to save your answers in the questionnaire and come back to it later. Your session on-line will remain open for 90 minutes for you to fill out your answers.

I can only assume that it is deliberately complicated in order to put us off. I feel highly motivated to oppose the ISDS element of TTIP in particular. I simply do not have half a day to devote to completing this questionnaire. The issues are in fact not impenetrable so why is the alleged consultation so unwieldy? As I stated during the meeting, this consultation is only taking place at all very late in the whole process because people from many EU countries are opposing TTIP. This questionnaire is designed not for consultation but to give the authorities something to which they can refer back and tell us that we had the opportunity to have input and we elected not to make good use of that opportunity. In short, this stinks!

The People’s Parliament was set up by Labour MP John McDonnell to stimulate debate in the build up to the 2015 general election. It would be good to have a broader cross-section of views represented within the People’s Parliament. I wonder whether the other main parties can be tempted to join? It would be good not to have need for a People’s Parliament. Isn’t parliament meant to be the people’s parliament anyway? We can dream. The anti-Labour feeling in the room must have made the Chair, East London MP John Cryer feel uncomfortable.

There was a great discussion about what must be done to put the Labour leadership under pressure to have faith in the public’s faith in the NHS and their strong desire to keep it. There was a gentle reminder that some pressure should be applied to the Lib Dems too. Many of their supporters are strongly pro-NHS. The NHS could be an election-winner. The plain fact is that the majority of Conservative voters want the NHS to remain public. The merits of appealing to the party to repeal the Health and Social Care Act are beyond me but I’m interested to hear whether anyone thinks it an idea worth pursuing.

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I received a round of applause when I introduced myself as an MEP candidate for the National Health Action Party which was unexpected. I took this as a welcome sign for the party’s prospects. We just need to get our message out more broadly so lend us your voices please!

As I have said, there was a lot of talk around ‘what to do about Labour?’. One of the other panellists Jill Mountford, from Save Lewisham Hospital said people need not to vote for “all of these smaller, fringe parties” and get Labour into government in 2015 while pressuring Labour into recovering its passion for the NHS. The National Health Action Party view is in accord with this train of thought which is why we intend to focus our General Election 2015 efforts on contesting around 30 constituencies that are currently held by Conservative or Liberal Democrat MPs. Thankfully Jacky Davis made this point. We had been told nobody was going to get a second chance to speak so that was me gagged.

It was clear from the mood in the room that enough people think Labour have split their core vote themselves. Unfortunately for everyone who loves the NHS, which is pretty much everyone in the UK, we will need a Labour majority government in order to restore the NHS and make it the brilliant service we need for the 21st Century.

All the best,

Andrew Sharp
Prospective MEP for London

Disclaimer: I feel it only fair that I point out that I am not generally a Labour supporter. I have voted for them once or twice. I’ve also voted Conservative and (far more often) for the Lib Dems. Have voted Green too. Have never, would never vote UKIP.

Stick Up for the NHS – a relative’s perspective on the NHS and politics

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The National Health Action Party held its launch event for London’s European election at the Roxy in Borough. What follows is the transcript of East London resident Andrew Sharp’s (second from right) speech for this Stick Up for the NHS rally.

UPDATE: a recording of Andrew’s speech is now available here.

“My brother Matthew died of cancer aged six. I was four. Matt’s death had a huge impact on my life, on my sister’s life. It’s only since having kids myself that I can appreciate the horrors my parents endured. Our story though sad is not unique. We all hold love and loss in common. They are part of life for all humanity. In England we hold the NHS in common too. It supports us in our times of deepest need.

What would have happened to my family without the NHS? Steve Smith, creator of the Big Up the NHS blog made me question this during the #withouttheNHS twitter storm in March. I contributed two tweets that sum up why I must now stick up for the NHS.

The first was about Matt and my family. It reads:
#withouttheNHS my parents would have had to bankrupt their young family when my older brother was ill with cancer”

For two years the NHS cared for Matt, just as it cares for us all. No payment required beyond the taxes we already pay. If forced to pay my parents surely would have bankrupted themselves trying to save Matt’s life. And then failed. Don’t be fooled by my accent. We weren’t rich. I’m the milkman’s son, and not in some jokey metaphorical way. Any parent would willingly bankrupt themselves wouldn’t they, if they thought they could save their child’s life? And if that attempt failed? They’d lose their child, their home and their other children’s prospects in one fell swoop. Without the NHS this could happen to any of us. That can’t be right can it? Not when we already have a better way; a National Health Service way.

Some people think the NHS will always be there but it’s looking precarious right now. Some would say ‘get health insurance’. Well, cancer care is an expensive business and have you ever known an insurance company dodge paying out in full on an expensive claim? For your car? A burglary? It’s happened to me. It happens all the time. It happens to millions of people in America where healthcare is startlingly expensive.

Did you know that healthcare costs are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US, causing 62% of bankruptcies? People go bankrupt just trying to stay healthy or to keep a loved one alive. Of these people over 75% do have health insurance, but it doesn’t pay out leaving them destitute. And what of those who lack the means to pay? Should we let them suffer? Just let them die?

We don’t need to worry about any of this do we? We have the NHS. Our politicians have promised that our healthcare will remain free at the point of need. So whilst they marketise and privatise our NHS we’re being promised private healthcare for free, right? Don’t believe that, not for one moment. Free at the point of need is just what they say now, a stop gap. Charging will follow.

Politicians and their promises lead me to my second tweet of the twitter storm which reads:
#withouttheNHS I would have less pride in this country. The NHS speaks to our democracy, compassion and civility. Let’s keep it!
We all rely on the NHS at some time in our lives. The NHS is a power for good, a democratic institution that looks after every man, woman and child irrespective of social status or financial means. It’s a marker of great civilisation.

We see how politicians subvert democracy to pursue their own agendas for the NHS. Do we see compassion and civility? Do we see them in the coalition government’s approach to sick and disabled people and the work capability assessments? Where is the compassion towards those forced from their homes and into destitution via the implementation of the ‘bedroom tax’? Where is the civility to people who face the humiliation of having to rely on food banks to feed their families? A growing number of people suffer from malnutrition across the UK. Government policy is doing real harm to people’s health and placing further strain on an already beleaguered NHS.

I don’t see much compassion or civility in our politics, yet I do know that our nation is full of compassionate, civilised people. I only recently started campaigning and already I have seen so much passion for the common good, so much will to sustain the NHS that sustains us all. This fills me with hope and propels me forward in my certainty that I too must stick up for our NHS. I know that when I need it, the NHS is there for me, just as it was for my brother. Just as it is there for all of our loved ones. I want the NHS to be there for my kids, and for their kids too. Please join me in this fight. Vote for the National Health Action Party on 22nd May and together let’s stick up for the NHS.

Thank you.”

Andrew will be campaigning at St Thomas’s Hospital on Thursday 1st May from 17:00 to 18:30. Andrew’s brother Matthew was cared for and sadly passed away at St Thomas’s in 1977. Please join him. It’s also his birthday on Thursday – no gifts required but a donation to The National Health Action Party would be appreciated. You can donate here.