Mar 042014

Michael Mansfield QC, Baroness Mary Warnock and Blake Morrison, the Lewisham People’s Commission Panel, along with Lord Owen and expert medical specialists make the risks clear in relation to the case of Lewisham Hospital – which the government tried and failed to close in 2013, using the existing Trust Special Administrator (TSA) process. The insertion of Clause 119 – previously 118, into the Care Bill is an action which now puts all hospitals in England at grave risk under a distortion of the same process. Clause 119 is a cuckoo in the nest of the Care Bill which is deliberately loosely written to enable a TSA to be appointed to hospitals which are described as failing (by whatever criteria is selected) – then to be empowered to fast-track the closure of services at any other hospitals, however successful or however far away, but which are deemed to be linked to the hospital trust to which the TSA has been appointed. This potentially puts your own local hospital in danger, along with hundreds more.

Sir Brian Jarman has said that it is better to mend hospitals than to close them. The suggestion that this will be used rarely is not a rationale which works. There is already sufficient legislation in place to attend to rare occurrences and to hospitals in difficulty, either via the existing TSA framework or via Section 8. This is disingenuous, bad, law. For 12 months, successful Lewisham Hospital was under attack by an attempted misuse of the TSA model as outlined in Chapter 5A of the 2009 additions to the 2006 Health Act. Had more than half of this hospital site been demolished and turned over to property developers as the government wanted, this chaotic plan would have had no clinical benefit to the wider community nor indeed any financial benefit overall. Now, that approach having been found entirely unlawful in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal, attempting a change in the law to make these objectives possible in as many hospitals as possible is a risk to the health and wellbeing of every community.

Local consultation is included in the process, but however can be overridden by NHS England. The views of our local GPs, doctors and patients can then be completely ignored. Millions of £s of taxpayers’ money will then be needlessly spent on the legal challenges which will result – money which should be spent on patient care. It is also questionable that fewer hospitals are safer, and denies the fact that many conditions such as acute asthma, pregnancy emergencies, peritonitis, meningitis, oesophageal bleeds or sickle cell crisis need urgent blue light access to an accessibly located A&E. Stroke is a different matter. Clause 119 will put the whole NHS hospital infrastructure in grave danger, potentially leaving large swathes of our community without access to necessary care – including life saving provision.

Jeremy Hunt and Earl Howe must urgently re-think their approach and take Clause 119 out of the Care Bill. Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign website: Contact; Hugh Shrapnel (Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign) email:

Sep 182013

In 2005 I had been a retired philosophy teacher in the Netherlands for several years. Pensioned civil servants were entitled to a rebate on their medical costs. It wasn’t much, but I liked this State-run system, called ZVO. In that year the international consultancy firm KPMG began managing ZVO. It worked well until 1 Jan 2006, when the Dutch healthcare system was almost completely privatized (the first in the EU). ZVO was abolished in order to enact a new health insurance law [1]. KPMG engineered this by paying out less and less each year after that, ‘to ease the pain,’ as we were told. I did not know that ZVO was outsourced to KPMG in 2005.

Privatization gave the insurers near-total control over medical financing. Provisions were dangerously downgraded, to increase profits. In December 2008 a specialist informed me that I had a life-threatening illness. I was 66 and found an age limit of 65 for adequate treatment. I moved to Uppsala Sweden, where specialists saved my life [2]. How could the supposedly humanitarian EU allow such practices (many residents were disadvantaged)? I decided to investigate and stumbled upon Atos, an information technology (IT) company that began by fusing the French IT firm Origin and part of Philips (Dutch) in 1996. It acquired the British and Dutch divisions of KPMG Consultancy in 2002 [3], was named Atos Origin and became Atos after further expansion in 2011[4].

The firm’s Atos Healthcare section (UK) began work for DWP in 1998. It is contracted to them through to 2015 [5]. Its morally and medically questionable disability benefit assessment programme has received a good deal of publicity. The revelations, including claims of at least 10,600 resultant deaths, are forcing a reorganisation of this work [6].

 In 2009 Mark Britnell, a former high NHS civil servant, became ‘Head of Healthcare, Europe and UK’ for KPMG; he is now an advisor to the British government. At an international health conference organised by industry in 2010, he remarked that ‘[T]he NHS will be shown no mercy’ in the coming privatizations, and that it would be ‘a state insurance provider, not a state deliverer’ [7]. In effect, it will take your money and distribute it to many businesses, from groups of GPs upwards. The need for profits in this model will necessarily reduce the quality and quantity of care, since when profits are subtracted from the total insurance input, less cash is available for reinvestment. This is happening in Sweden and the Netherlands now, with variations due to differences in their political systems.

Britnell might well be influencing the privatization of the NHS. Since KPMG’s Dutch branch was part of Atos Origin in 2006, its financial destruction of ZVO helped privatize healthcare in the Netherlands. Atos is not just an IT company: it is a danger to EU public health [8].



2.      I describe this affair in Red Pepper, June/July 2009.




6. Caution is advised here. Although the government released the figure of 10,600 deaths in nine months of 2011, we do not know how many of these are directly attributable to the assessment regime, e.g. from stress, cardiovascular issues, and undiagnosed or untreated illnesses. (Atos does not investigate these. It looks only at basic behavioural and mental capacities, not medical causes of incapacity.)


8.      I am indebted to Andy Cropper for ideas, information and support during the past year or so. He has done us a service by compiling this thread of data about the NHS:

    George Berger, Uppsala Sweden, 10 September 2013

With many thanks to George for his permission to repost on DPAC

Originally posted at

May 132013


●Save Our Hospitals

●No to Privatisation



12 noon Jubilee Gardens, Waterloo

Belvedere Rd, SE1

Join BAPS contingent:

Meet 10:30 for 11 set off, outside Finchley Central tube station


Watch out for Barnet Alliance banner in the assembly point, Jubilee Gardens.

Appeal from the organisers:



SATURDAY 18 MAY 12 noon

Belvedere Road, Waterloo SE1




TUESDAY 14 MAY 6.30pm

Camden Town Hall Judd St WC1 (Kings X Tube)



Includes London Regions of Unison and RCN 

See full list here:



There are still some postcards to publicise the demonstration available. You can also download black and white leaflets and posters here:

A5 Leaflet

A3 Poster



If you or your group can volunteer as stewards please let us know as soon as possible.

Please can stewards meet at 10:30am at Concert Hall Approach SE1 



Please let us know if you could help make placards on Wednesday or Thursday 15/16 May.



Can you get your local papers to cover the demonstration?

Do you have any local patients or others who it would be good to include in a London press release?



We have managed to pay for the postcards through donations, but would like to be able to print posters, make  placards and hire a bus, so please do make a donation if you haven’t already.

Please send cheques to Camden Keep Our NHS Public c/o 32 Savernake Road, NW3 2JP


More information from  and

* * *


Tuesday 14 May 2013, 6:30 pm, Greek Cypriot Centre, Britannia Road N12 9RU

FREE Recruitment & Fundraising training, by an experienced trainer – ALL WELCOME

* * *

Tuesday 21 May 2013, 7-9 pm, Greek Cypriot Centre, Britannia Road N12 9RU


Speakers include:

David Lawrence & Anne Summers from The Nationsl Health Action Party (NHAP)

Linda Peanberg King (38 Degrees)

John Morton, Chief Operating Officer, Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)

Dr Onkar Sahota (GP & Save our Hospitals)


Saturday 1st June, 2-5 pm, Larches House,  1 Rectory Lane, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 7LF

FREE Public Speaking training, by a professional trainer – ALL WELCOME


Follow @BarnetAlliance


Mar 202012

Today,  Labour have forced a Commons debate on whether MPs can consider planned NHS changes for a final time before an assessment of the potential risks to the health service is published. And opponents are trying to mobilise support behind a last-ditch attempt to try and delay the bill.

Lord Owen lost his amendment this afternoon by 213 to 328 votes with the enemies of open government resorting to increasingly ridiculous arguments to defend the government’s refusal to release the risk register. Andy Burnham has made a last-minute request which will lead to a brief debate on the risk register, this time in the Commons, to be held tomorrow as first item of public business. It’s hard to see it having any effect.

Read Tim Hardy’s analysis at Beyond Clicktivism.

If you need some background, watch The Professional Case for Withdrawing The Health and Social Care Bill from Daniel Saul on Vimeo.

There is much protest which is not being reported by the main stream media.

Many thanks to Steven Sumpter for letting us repost some of this blog (from March 17th). Read the rest about how Heavy handed police threaten NHS protest and follow the links at his blog.

Several hundred people gathered today in front of the Ministry of Health to protest against the Health and Social Care bill and what it will do to the NHS. During the course of the protest riot police intimidated and grabbed at protesters, held them against their will, and broke up the protest into small groups that petered out. This was suppression of protest, something that I have written about many times before. As yet the mainstream media outlets have been silent about the protest and about the policing of it. Read on for some images, videos and tweets from the day. For a detailed personal account with many pictures and videos please read This blog post by Cai Wingfield, and see the links at the end of this post for more.

Video taken by Kate Belgrave

“Outside the department of health!” – photo by @thinktyler
"protest in Whitehall" - photo by @COPDdoc

"protest in Whitehall" - photo by @COPDdoc



Mar 032012

Save the Date – Save our NHS – 7 March 2012

Join the mass day of action to save our NHS – Wednesday, 7 March from 1pm, Houses of Parliament, London.

Find out the latest transport details and coordinators from Unite’s regions.

In less than three months the government’s Health and Social Care bill will be law. This is a national emergency.  Unite says that if you want a NHS that is fair, where treatment depends on need and not the ability to pay then the bill must be dropped. Our NHS is a national treasure that we should all be proud of. It has cared for generations of working people. It places fairness at the heart of our society. The bill puts profit before patient care and will destroy the NHS that we know and love.

You need the NHS – now it needs you

Please pledge to be part of this key lobby of parliament
When: Wednesday 7 March from 1pm to 5pm.
Where: The Library, Central Methodist Hall, Westminster, London SW1H

Later that day… Join the TUC SAVE OUR NHS mass rally – from 6pm to 7.30pm, in the Great Hall, Central Methodist Hall, Westminster, London. Make sure you register online for the TUC NHS mass rally.

If you can’t attend the rally you can send a message of opposition to the bill by texting the word NHS and your message to 86888. Download a leaflet and tell us why you support the NHS.

Your help is needed to kill this bill


Dec 282011



What Cuts do Disabled People Face?

▼Closure of the Independent Living Fund supporting those with high support needs, proving that the government’s rhetoric of supporting disabled people is as empty as their souls

▼Movement from Incapacity Benefit to Employment Support Allowance through punitive and unfair compulsory Work Capability Assessments carried out by Atos, a private for-profit company who are declaring those who need 24-hour support and those with terminal cancer ‘fit for work’ in order to meet government targets and reduce disabled peoples’ income drastically

▼VAT increases and benefit rates linked to CPI not RPI which is likely to cost disabled people an extra £800 per annum.

▼Cuts to social care budgets, cuts to housing support, cuts to Access to Work programme (helping disabled people with any equipment they might need to compete on an equal basis with non disabled employees), constant attacks on disabled peoples’ integrity by the Tories and others suggesting we’re not really disabled but ‘just pretending’ to get meagre benefits which they’re going to abolish anyway



At CHRIS WHITE, MP’s office, 43a CLEMENS STREET, OLD TOWN,  CV31 2DP, not far from railway station.


When – Friday, JANUARY 20th, meet outside constituency office at 1pm.,,

Oct 032011

coachTransport for this Sunday

read the reason for this action

The government is just weeks away from destroying the NHS forever. This is an emergency. On Sunday October 9th, join UK Uncut on Westminster Bridge and help block the bill.

COACH COMPANY: Ross Travel Group,             01977 791738
COACH ROUTE AND TIMINGS: Leaving at 8am from the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds dropping off at Victoria Embankment and returning from London at 4.30pm with disabled access

REGION: Glasgow & Edinburgh


COACH COMPANY: Fairline Coaches Ltd,             0141 553 1313      COACH ROUTE AND TIMINGS: Pick-up on 8th October from Glasgow at 9pm, then on to Edinburgh and London. Returning 9th October 8pm, dropping Edinburgh then Glasgow

*REGION: Margate and Westgate on Sea *
Coach company: Britannia Coaches Tel:             01304 228111
Contact Name and number:
ROUTE AND TIMINGS: leave Cecil Square in Margate at 9am with a pickup at the Walmer Castle pub, Westgate-on-Sea at 915am going to Waterloo for Midday and returning at 6pm from Waterloo for the same journey and drop off on the way back
12 seater

  • Coach Company: Happy Al’s (based in Birkenhead)
    Contact Name and Number:
    Route: departing Hardman St, Liverpool city centre (time unknown!) Return 5.30pm
    Coach company: Edinburgh Coach Lines Ltd Tel:             0131 554 5413
    Contact Name and number: 07427605354
    ROUTE AND TIMINGS: we will be departing from outside the University Medical School on Teviot Place at 11.30pm on Saturday 8th, returning the following evening after the protest.
  • REGION: Shropshire*
    Coach company: Elcock Reisen Tel No             01952 585712
    Contact Name and number: Jayne McDermot
    Quot: £695, or 16 seater £475 Both plus any parking charges in London.(around £16)

Company: Blunsdons Coach Travel             01993 811320
Contact name and number for the quote:
Route: Pick-up: Southern end of St Giles (outside the Taylor Institute Meet 9:45am to leave at 10am. Drop off: Charing Cross 12pm Return: same places, leaving London at 5pm

REGION: Torquay and Exeter
COACH COMPANY: Abbot coach travel, Drayford UnitQuay Road, NEWTON ABBOT, Devon TQ12 2BU Telephone             01626 204010
COACH ROUTE AND TIMINGS: Torbay Bus Station 6AM; Newton Abbot Train Station 6:30AM; Exeter, Paris Street (outside council offices) 7AM

COACH COMPANY: Momentum Coach Hire,             0800 987 8055
COACH ROUTE AND TIMINGS: The coach will depart Pool Valley coach station, Old Steine, Brighton at 10am to arrive at Westminster Bridge for 12.30 Pick up will be at Westminster Bridge at 5pm

REGION: Nottingham
COACH COMPANY: Silverdale coaches,             0115 9121000
COACH ROUTE AND TIMINGS: Pick up at 9am from the royal centre in Nottingham to arrive at belvedere road (waterloo) at 12 noon. Return time around 6pm

REGION: Poole & Bournemouth
COACH COMPANY: Dolphin Coaches,             01202 883134
COACH ROUTE AND TIMINGS: Coach departs 9am from Poole Civic Centre (next to Poole Park) Pick up point 9.10am Bournemouth Train Station, Holdenhurst Road
Discussed with coach company to be dropped off and collected from same place at Waterloo Train Station. Leave London at 7pm.

REGION: Sheffield
COACH COMPANY: Momentum Coach Hire Ltd,             0800 987 8053
Pickup Date & Time: Sunday 09 October 2011 08:00 AM
Pickup Point: Sheffield South Yorkshire Destination: London
Return Date & Time: Sunday 09 October 2011 18:00 PM

REGION: Birmingham
COACH COMPANY: aziz coaches,             0121 4402015
pick up 10am in carrs lane, birmingham
drop off 12:30 waterloo station
pick up 6pm waterloo station
drop off 8:30 carrs lane, birmingham

COACH COMPANY: Momentum,             0800 206 1432
COACH ROUTE & TIMINGS: The coaches will pick people up at 7am at Steve Biko Building, Oxford Road and drop off at Russell Square in London with an 8pm return time.

Jun 272011
Save the NHS march

Save the NHS march, May © 2011 Pete Riches

This march was initiated by health workers in Unite the Union, who felt that the savage attacks on the NHS needed a stronger response than the media event planned for the NHS 63rd birthday.

The ‘listening exercise’ on the Health and Social Care Bill was a PR job, and has resulted only in minor cosmetic changes. The clear intention is a corporate takeover of our NHS, and the end of a comprehensive and universal healthcare system. The combination of this legislation and £20 billion ‘efficiency savings’ is an utter disaster.

The legislation is now being rushed through, with little time remaining to organise in defence of the NHS. This demonstration is an incredibly important one for health workers, to build our confidence and help us organise and fight against the coming onslaught. It’s an important demonstration, too, for all of us – to build practical unity between NHS workers and the wider community, and to send a clear message to Cameron and his chums that we will fight them every inch of the way.

Our health workers in Unite would welcome anything you can do to publicise this march, and to encourage your supporters to attend.

The demonstration assembles at 5.30 pm on 5th July at Savoy Street, Strand, London, and marches to Old Palace Yard (opposite Parliament).

May 152011

From Right to Work website
Tuesday 17 May Assemble 5.30pm

This is set to be an extremely important demonstration. With the ConDems reeling from the resistance to their attacks on the NHS we need to make sure this is as big as possible.
University College Hospital, Gower St, WC1
(Euston, Warren Street, Euston Square tube).
6pm march to Department of Health, Whitehall.
More information

Help Right to Work

Right to Work will have placards and leaflets on the ‘March to save the NHS’. If you can help us distribute them please contact 07961 337 640 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 07961 337 640 end_of_the_skype_highlighting or We will be setting up from 4.30pm at UCH.
We will preparing the placards on Monday 16th May. If you are able to help with this please let us know.

watch the video

Short Version Wake Up Call Episode 1 No Decision About Me Without Me from Health Emergency on Vimeo.

Dr John Lister provides a witty insight into the true intent of the government’s plans to reform the health service – a privatised, unaccountable NHS.

Peppered with jokes and cartoons from the likes of Steve Bell, the film is an easily understood explanation of how the NHS, as we now know it, will be demolished, if these plans succeed.

With the danger of the reforms slipping through in a fog of jargon and marketing spin, John Lister talks us through why they will be disastrous for NHS patients and staff