NHA East London supports sacked Whipps Cross whistleblower Charlotte Monro during Employment Tribunal

NHA East London is joining residents’ campaign group Waltham Forest Save Our NHS to support Charlotte Monro in her bid for reinstatement to her post at Whipps Cross hospital. Charlotte Monro was an Occupational Therapist working in the NHS for 35 years prior to her dismissal by Barts Health NHS Trust in 2013.

When Whipps Cross University Hospital – the only general hospital in the London Borough of Waltham Forest, serving a quarter of a million people – was threatened with closure in 2007, Charlotte Monro took a leading role in a successful campaign to save the hospital for which she was given an award by the Trust Board at the time.

The Reinstate Charlotte Campaign aims to clear Charlotte Monro’s name and calls for an end to bullying at Barts Health Trust. NHS budgets and services are being cut across the country. In this climate 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.

There will be a support gathering on Tuesday 20th January from 09.30 to 10.00 outside Anchorage House, Clove Crescent, London E14 2BE.

To show your support please sign the petition calling on Barts Health Trust to reinstate Charlotte Monro and put an end to the bullying culture revealed in the CQC report on Whipps Cross in 2013.

Barts Health NHS Trust (BHT) is England’s largest NHS trust serving much of East London. Whipps Cross is one of six hospitals operated by BHT. The new buildings at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel were funded by the biggest private finance initiative (PFI) deal in the NHS. The National Health Action Party persistently calls for all PFI deals to be annulled or renegotiated. Barts has the highest PFI debt in the country. PFI debt repayments are widely held to destabilise finances within the NHS and other public services. Barts Health Trust continues to struggle to recruit and retain staff following the mass down-banding and poor CQC report about Barts Health in November 2013.

Here is the press release from the Reinstate Charlotte Campaign in full:
“Campaigners and trade unionists will gather outside an Employment Tribunal on January 20th to call for the reinstatement of Charlotte Monro, an Occupational Therapist and union leader sacked from her post at Whipps Cross hospital, where she worked for 26 years.

Charlotte’s union Unison is bringing the case to tribunal claiming that Charlotte was wrongfully dismissed by Barts Health Trust in July 2013 after informing Waltham Forest council of staff concerns about the effects on patients of closing beds at Whipps Cross hospital’s stroke unit.

Barts has been facing spending cuts in order to service huge repayments on the private finance initiative (PFI) deal that funded the rebuilding of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

Charlotte was acting in the best interests of her patients and staff, but Barts accused her of “bringing the trust into disrepute”. They also dismissed her for discussing with staff job threats she had been informed of as their union representative. Late in the process, The Trust added an allegation over non-disclosure, 26 years before, of protest-related convictions in the ’60s and ’70s. We are clear that Charlotte was dismissed for her union activities and for speaking out. A Barts spokeswoman’s claim that for patient safety they “had no alternative but to take action against Ms. Monro” is absurd and deeply unjust. Far from a threat to patients she has contributed much to improving safety, providing excellent care over a long, successful career.

Charlotte’s professional body considered an allegation over her past convictions, and concluded that there is no case to answer, recognising that the convictions date back a long time and have a specific historical context. In light of Charlotte’s long and distinguished career, whilst her convictions should have been declared earlier, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) fully upheld her right to continue to practice as an Occupational Therapist.

Unison and local campaigners hope the tribunal, to be held in Docklands from 19-23 January, will find that she was wrongfully dismissed.
Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis said that Charlotte was a “long serving and respected health worker” and that “No employer should be allowed to act in this way”.

Reinstate Charlotte campaigner Norma Dudley said: “All that Charlotte did was represent her union members and draw the attention of the local council and the community to the consequences of proposed cuts and service changes at Whipps Cross. Barts Health Trust actions have created a climate of fear seen to be aimed at keeping NHS workers quiet about cuts to services and union members cowed into submission over pay and conditions. The call to reinstate charlotte is part of a determined drive by staff, unions and the local campaigns to change this culture that is incompatible with care. At a time of national crisis in the NHS it is more vital than ever that NHS staff are able to speak out against the damaging effects of cuts on the health of the patients in their care”.

A petition calling to reinstate Charlotte and end the bullying climate at Barts is attracting widespread support. A culture of bullying where staff feared consequences if they spoke out was revealed in a CQC inspection of Whipps Cross Hospital in November 2013. Barts is struggling to cope with the effects of the coalition’s extensive NHS reforms and the severe cuts to social care services that have now led to the A&E crisis across England. Earlier this month, Whipps Cross was turning ambulances away from A&E due to lack of beds at the hospital where outpatient operations had to be cancelled to free up space.”

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Can you help Kathryn Anderson’s campaign to protect and improve our NHS?

The Waltham Forest and North London NHA groups invite you to meet Kathryn Anderson and join her parliamentary campaign in Chingford and Woodford Green for the 2015 General Election.

Kathryn writes:

Friends,

I’m Kathryn Anderson and I’m writing to introduce myself and to ask you to assist my campaign team for next year’s General Election. You may have already seen that I’m the prospective parliamentary candidate for the NHA in the constituency of Chingford and Woodford Green where Iain Duncan Smith is the current MP.

We are holding a meeting on Monday 8th December at 7pm. The venue is the Duke of Wellington Pub, 119 Balls Pond Road, N1 4BL. The meeting room is accessible.

The aim of the meeting will be to organise on-the-ground assistance with street stalls, leafleting, etc. If you’re not in a position to be out and about perhaps you could help with our social media campaign. I’m sure we can find lots to do whether you can offer a regular commitment in the run up to the election or just an odd hour every now and then.

I’m inviting members and supporters from a wider area than just the constituency. As you know the party isn’t in a position to stand many candidates and we welcome local campaigners who are willing to lend a hand, or who just want to stay connected.

If you’d like to know more please get in contact via NHAPartyWF@gmail.com or contact me directly via nhakathryn@outlook.com

I look forward to meeting you on the 8th.

Many thanks

Kathryn

You can read more about Kathryn here.

The venue can easily be reached from the constituency, is a short bus ride or walk from the Victoria Line at Highbury & Islington or from the overground stations in Dalston, London Fields or Hackney Downs. For further directions to the Duke of Wellington please follow this link.

For details on the NHAP website, please see the link here.

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

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.

East Londoners: your NHS needs you!

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National Health Action Party MEP candidate and East Londoner Andrew Sharp is calling on his fellow East Londoners to join the fight for the NHS.

In a letter to NHAP supporters this week, Andrew Sharp said, “we really need your help. NHAP is still a new party and we urgently need to get the word out that we are here to protect and improve our NHS. We want people to vote for us and the NHS in May. We are gaining support quickly but with the elections less than 6 weeks away time is not on our side.

How can you help? We need you to get personally involved:

Join the Waltham Forest local group
If we have enough people from different areas we can expand it to become the East London group. Please email me at NHAPartyWF@gmail.com.

Campaigning!
We need more people out on the streets, leafleting and talking to people about what we are trying to achieve. When I’m out campaigning I find people are eager to support us, relieved that “finally somebody is doing something sensible about the NHS” and want to find out more.

The Waltham Forest group is not big enough to do this on its own. Many of us work full time so we target our campaigning for maximum impact in a short space of time. This may be an hour on the way to work or on the way home, or a little longer at weekends – although there’s no pressure to stay for the duration. If you can help at just one of these sessions every week you’ll be making a difference.

There are various other ways you can help NHA to save the NHS.

Social Media
Follow us on Twitter @NHA_WF and spread the word. We’ll get an East London Facebook page up and running soon.

Stick Up for the NHS!
Put up the election poster in your windows. Get busy with those ‘Stick Up for the NHS’ stickers – let’s decorate East London!

If all this has got you in the mood and you are asking, “when do I start?” then be outside the Royal London Hospital at 5pm on Friday 25th April and/or outside Whitechapel tube at 1pm on Saturday 26th April. If you are happy to do so then please let us know your mobile number so we can confirm with you that you’ll be there.”

The European election will be held on 22nd May. You can learn more about the National Health Action Party and our election campaign here.

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Thank you to our NHS Superhero illustrators! #getcreativefortheNHS

Andrew Sharp, National Health Action Party MEP candidate and children’s book publisher writes:

This Easter weekend Steven Carne (@OhStevenCarne) is asking Twitter to #getcreativefortheNHS in support of NHS staff and campaigners. For Good Friday he asked what an NHS superhero would look like. Inspired by this I threw down the gauntlet to my friends and colleagues.

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A band of plucky illustrators picked that gauntlet up and how they ran with it! First up, the Book Sniffer whose blog is a must for parents of young children and anyone interested in books for pre-schoolers. Thank you, you loveable pug, you!

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Next up, thank you to Sarah Yewman. Sally Stethoscope looks like she’s ready to swing into action to stick up for the NHS!
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A special mention for six year old Lucy whose Super Nurse Nancy is zooming to the rescue of a hospital near you RIGHT NOW! I hope the Easter Bunny brings you lots of lovely treats Lucy.
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Thanks too to Guy Parker Rees. If pigs could fly we wouldn’t need such a robust defence of our NHS eh?
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I was sat in a cafe when this huggable chap caught me unawares. Thanks to David Melling for sending Hugless Douglas into the fray. We Love You Hugless Douglas! That’s a book don’t you know…
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Back at home I was busy writing my speech for the NHAP Stick Up for the NHS rally (details here) when illustrator Mark Chambers tweeted Super Stinky to me. As I said at the time Mark, you’re a star and a gent. Thank you for sending Stinky my way, he already has a lot of fans within the NHAP!
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The speech-writing was bringing back lots of memories, not all of them good and I was starting to get a bit bogged down in it. When I went to check Twitter I found not one but two new heroes who really lifted my spirits. The first from Clara Vulliamy, a puppy ready to swing into action to save the NHS. Just call! As Clara will tell you, our NHS is NOT for sale. Thank you Clara!
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The second hero sent by Emma Dodd from her family holiday was the first and (so far?) only human. Thank you Emma! Enjoy the rest of your break.
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Now I think he bears an uncanny resemblance to our Co-Leader Clive Peedell (pictured below). I have to ask Emma, was that intentional?
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Speaking of bears (Ed?), you might like to check out Emma’s latest book The Entertainer which has become an instant hit with my youngest child.

Finally, a massive thank you to Steven Carne. Thank you for your own campaigning for the NHS. Thank you for bringing the creative community out in support of our often-beleaguered NHS staff. Thank you for enlisting support for NHS campaigners. It can be hard work bringing the challenges faced by the NHS to the public’s attention. It is frustrating that the news media seem interested only in sensationalising its failures with barely any mention of the underlying problems. Projects like #getcreativefortheNHS can really help to lift our spirits and keep us going. It’s a comfort to know that there are caring and creative people out there who have the backs of the people striving to preserve the NHS for future generations.

Londoners, please vote for the National Health Action Party in the European elections on 22nd May. Help us to stick up for the NHS!

Happy Easter everyone!

Andrew

To get involved in #getcreativefortheNHS, click here.

You can follow Andrew Sharp on Twitter here.

For more information about the National Health Action Party click here.

Protest and public meeting. Whitechapel. This evening 16th April 2014.

There’s going to be a protest outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel from 17.00 today. Local residents will be joining NHS campaigners to protest the proposed cuts by Barts Health Trust to its Bilingual Health Advocacy and Interpreting Service. Jobs are at risk within the service.

Anna Livingstone for Tower Hamlets Keep Our NHS Public says, “we have all worked together for good NHS health outcomes, independent of ethnic, language, religious, disability or other issues.” Let’s make sure that community health, welfare and cohesion continue to be supported by a robust advocacy service.
Campaigners for KONP will be delivering a petition to Barts prior to the public meeting at 18.00. The meeting will take place at the Jagonari Centre, 183-185 Whitechapel Road, London E1 1DN.

Please join us from 17.00 and sign the petition, via this link:
http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/tracey-carter-stop-the-proposed-job-cuts-in-the-bilingual-health-advocacy-and-interpreting-service