Friday 5th July – NHS 65th Birthday Celebration – Poole Hospital

Meet on the pavement by the main entrance steps to Poole General Hospital from 6pm on Friday 5th July.

The NHS will be 65 years old on the 5th July 2013. Take some time out to celebrate the wonderful achievements of our NHS over the last 65 years. And to highlight it’s biggest threat since its founding.

The NHS has given us improved life chances, security in times of need, pioneering treatment, and care, life without the NHS is hard to imagine. Three years of this coalition government has seen the dismantling, the selling off, the privatisation of the NHS… and the next 65 Years could look very different. Help be part of the celebration of what we have had, and show our intentions to defend it against government cuts.

Bring a banner, placard, cake, flask, balloon,flowers, tributes, and highlight our NHS for the good it’s done and the threat it’s under.

Facebook Event Page

nye

Despairing NHS – Video and Lyrics

Despairing NHS – Video and Lyrics (to the tune of Clementine)

nhsIn the darkness, six feet under,
Bevan turning in his grave
Sixty-five years of free healing,
The NHS he cannot save.

Oh our caring, oh our sharing, now despairing NHS,
Thou art lost and gone for profit,
Privatised to serve the rich.

All the doctors, and the nurses,
Cleaners, porters do their best,
But their efforts no longer valued
In the growing profits quest.

Drug companies pay for research
And they promise us a cure
But all they want is to take their profit
And to hell with the sick and poor.

Oh our caring, oh our sharing, now despairing NHS,
Thou art lost and gone for profit,
Privatised to serve the rich.

Clegg and Cameron keen to finish
Dismantling done by Brown and Blair,
PFI debts, target culture.
Reorganised for millionaires.

Shipman, Saville, Stafford hospital,
Just how bad can scandals get,
Whistle-blowers, enquiries ignored,
But you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Lyrics by Oliver Swingler & Making Waves choir, Cullercoats
Original Oh my darling Clementine: traditional
Version 2 May 2013

April 1st 2013 – A dark day for the Welfare State

April 1st 2013 will go down as a dark day in the history of the Welfare State, not only and very depressingly, did the Health and Social Care Act become law but yet another avalanche of benefit cuts were brought into effect. This is despite the prolonged and persistent lobbying and protests by disability groups calling for the govt to assess the impact of its benefit cuts along with the UK’s leading experts on social policy and the welfare state urging the government to reconsider. And, staggeringly, at the same time, those with an income of over £150,000 per annum will see their tax rate reduced from 50% to 45%. Anyone who believed the Government’s rhetoric that “those with the broadest shoulders should carry the greatest burden” could be forgiven for thinking that all this an April Fools prank.

This week also saw the conviction of 3 people for the manslaughter of 6 children. The death of any child is a tragic and emotive issue, the judge described the act as “outside the comprehension of any right-thinking person” yet George Osborne and his fellow government ministers seem hell bent on using this tragedy to justify their policies of welfare reform / cuts. We have seen both the government and the media suggest and imply that the perpetuators of this evil crime are “a vile product of Welfare UK”.

George Osborne has questioned why the Welfare State subsidises such people with the underlying suggestion that “living off benefits” somehow turns a person into an abhorrent scumbag. That suggestion is in itself abhorrent. The fact is the small percentage of evil people that commit such atrocities come from all walks of life, are both rich and poor, employed and unemployed. We are led to believe there is a massive problem with people who have never worked having multitudes of children to boost their benefits. However this is simply untrue. Only 4% of families with a parent on Jobseeker’s Allowance have more than two children and only 1.5 per cent of those on benefits have never worked. The extreme cases as highlighted by the court case are even rarer; out of the 1.35 million households where one of the adults is claiming out of work benefit, only 190 of those families have 10 or more children.

The question should be turned back on George Osborne and we should ask why the government does not put all its efforts into catching those who defraud the system. Official figures show that 0.8% of benefit spending is due to fraud. So why are the 99.2% in receipt of assistance from the State being portrayed in some parts of the media – with full knowledge and acceptance of the government – as “scroungers and skivers”. Good people, who through no fault of their own require support, are being demonised and scapegoated whilst it is highly probable that a minuscule minority continue to defraud the system. The government should of course go after those who commit fraud and while they are it, they should also close down the loopholes that allow corporate giants and individuals to avoid paying tax which is estimated by some to be around £25 billion a year and by others to be £70 billion while some state it to be closer to £100 billion. Whatever the exact figure is, it is blatantly clear that there are alternatives to hammering those who have the least.

We all need to ask ourselves the kind of society we want to live within. The Welfare State should be considered as an insurance scheme which was set up without incentives to make a profit. All who can contribute, do so at a progressive rate and it is something that is there for all of us whenever we need it. Public services run along the same lines (or rather most used to before the influx of outsourcing!). Make no mistake it is highly unlikely that anyone in this country has not been reliant upon or received the benefits both offer; from Child benefits to the NHS; libraries to refuse collection; education to state pensions. Are we prepared to throw all this away so a small minority can prosper?

Click here to sign the WOW petition from the Site of the resistance to the War on Welfare
“We call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Welfare Reform, and a New Deal for sick & disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions”

first the came corder

This week we have also learnt that the government are coming after the National Minimum Wage. In 2008, a senior Tory source said: “The minimum wage won’t be scrapped but it will be allowed to wither on the vine. A series of smaller, more affordable increases will mean it will just melt away.” This seems to becoming to fruition with government ministers hinting that the national minimum wage could be held back from rising due to difficult economic circumstances.

Click here to sign the petition to protect the minimum wage.
”We believe that the minimum wage should be protected from being cut or frozen. The poorest paid should not be paying the price for this Government’s failed austerity economics. We call on the Government to stop their changes to the Low Pay Commission’s terms of reference, and protect the lowest-paid workers from these pay cuts.”

In one way or another we are all being affected by the savage policies of austerity, directly or indirectly. Of course the natural tendency is to fight your own corner but now, more than ever before, we must all come together in solidarity to oppose all the cuts irrespective of whether we are directly affected, which groups we belong to or individual political beliefs. We must organise and resist in whatever way we can. Online, offline, inform, educate, write to your MP, petition, leaflet, take direct action, partake in civil disobedience, strike and occupy. This is not only a metaphorical life and death struggle; people are dying as a direct result of the actions of this government. Resist, resist and then resist some more.

Francesca Martinez on cuts and austerity at the People’s Assembly launch

Click here for more information about The People’s Assembly being held on Saturday 22 June 2013, 9:30am – 5pm at Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London, Westminster, London SW1H 9NH.

Click here to sign the War on Welfare petition.

Click here to view Francesca’s full article “Hands off our Public Services” at Huffington Post UK.

Ask your MP to pray against Jeremy Hunt’s NHS regulations

Reproduced with the kind permission of Going to Work – click here to view the original page

jeremy-hunt
TAKE ACTION NOW!!!

No, we’re not seeking divine help (just yet) over Jeremy Hunt’s new NHS competition regulations, but ‘praying against’ them could be a good way of getting them exposed in Parliament.

As things stand, the new regulations count as secondary legislation, which means they need no further debate in Parliament. They’ll come into law on 1 April, and competition for NHS contracts will suddenly become the default in most cases.

This is despite many promises to the contrary given by the government when the Bill was debated last year. Jeremy Hunt is using Parliamentary procedure to sneak privatisation in by the back door.

However, MPs from three parties, including Labour Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham, the Greens’ Caroline Lucas and Lib Dem NHS rebel Andrew George (see a list of current signatories) have backed a motion to “pray against” the regulation.

This special form of Early Day Motion is a rarely used piece of Parliamentary jargon, which basically means they’re opening a kind of petition for other MPs to sign, calling for the secondary legislation to be struck out.

If enough MPs can be persuaded to join them in praying against the regulations, the motion’s special status makes it more likely that Parliamentary time will be secured to debate it.

There are signs today that Jeremy Hunt is coming under pressure over this. But we need to keep the pressure up, if we’re going to secure any real changes here.

This motion could be a good chance to get the scrutiny that the government are trying hard to avoid.

Please ask your MP to help pray against back door NHS privatisation now.

Click here to visit the Going to Work website page, enter your postcode and click “Participate” to send an email to your MP.

NHA Party campaigning for Eastleigh By-election

The newly founded NHA (National Health Action) Party held an event, on Sunday 17th February to support their candidate for the Eastleigh by-election that has been called for February 28th following the dismissal of ex-Govt minister Chris Huhne.

Supporters of the NHS and NHA Party met at 11 am at Eastleigh railway station and armed with white rosettes (swiftly changed from blue as during the previous week, campaigners were being mistaken for the know who party!), balloons, banners, and leaflets.

The group of over 40 campaigners handed out leaflets whilst walking from the train station to the band stand in the town centre where they listened to several speakers, including their candidate, 55 year old Dr Iain Maclennan, a retired GP, public health consultant and ex-Navy medical officer, who, if elected, promised to defend the NHS, represent his constituents and not blindly follow political party whips. Other local health professionals mentioned how previous governments have sold off our NHS and that the current govt’s cuts to the NHS budgets were already being felt within hospitals and would only get worse. It was emphasised that the NHS is not only about providing health care, its values are the corner stone of our society and people should always be put before profits.

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It was also explained that although the Health and Social Care Act has been both promoted and fought as a national issue, it is also part of the preparation for a corporate-interest US/EU Free Trade Agreement and forces EU member states to open their procurement not just to other Member States, as directives up to now have encouraged, but globally to corporations from any country that has liberalised its own procurement, disallowing any other barriers to global bidding (click here for more details).

NHA Party

There are 3 key principles that set the NHA Party apart from the mainstream parties and these founding values which will drive future policy-making:

Firstly, our clear and unambiguous position on the NHS (saving it; reinstating; de-commercialising it).

Secondly, we are calling for a new politics – promoting the idea of independent MPs and a parliament that is responsive to the people – not to party whips and the cynical calculations of career politicians.

Thirdly, in addition to the NHS, we stand as a public health party with a wider concern for a healthy society. Not just the pursuit of economic growth as the basis for all social policy.

If you are interested in helping the NHA Party campaign team in Eastleigh in the lead up to the by-election, please email volunteer.nha@gmail.com

A UNISON guide to influencing the new NHS

This UNISON guide is designed to help members and others exert an influence over decisions to cut or privatise NHS services. It provides information on how to get involved in the work of foundation trusts and clinical commissioning groups, as well as through local authorities and patient and public involvement structures

Download the pdf

Solidarity evening

A solidarity evening was held at the British Legion in Boscombe on Friday 28th September with food and a background ambience of soul and ska.

Guest speakers included Gareth Drinkwater (Unison) who gave an update about the SW NHS Pay Cartel and spoke about the leaked document which clearly showed their intentions were to reduce the Trusts’ wage bill from 68% of their overall budget to 60%. Click here more info about the cartel’s proposals.

James Meadway (Coalition of Resistance) explained how the govt’s programme of austerity and their refusal to move away from these policies was sending the country spiralling downwards into a deeper, longer recession akin to the 1930s. James also pointed out the great myth that is constantly peddled that the Public Sector is somehow responsible for the economic crisis. The fact is, public spending prior to 2008 by the previous Labour govt was 39% of GDP, under Major’s tory govt from 1991-97 is what 40% and during the Thatcher years of 1979-91 it was 41%. So the reality is, public sector govt spending was at it’s lowest for nearly 2 decades. This all changed following the collapse of Lehmans in the States, the domino effect it created to banks worldwide and the subsequent bail-outs that followed; including the £1.3 trillion bail-out by our govt to rescue UK banks. He also stressed the importance of everyone opposed to austerity to attend the mass demonstration in London on Oct 20th.

Neil Duncan-Jordan (Chair – BCP Trades Council) stated that, so far, the country has only seen a small chunk of the cuts and seemed oblivious to the fact that a further 80% was still to be implemented. So however bad it seems at the moment, things will only get much, much worse.

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How did we get here – New Economics Foundation

The UK has slid back into double-dip recession and Eurozone unemployment has hit new highs. Uncertainty stalks China, Brazil and other rising economies. We may be heading for a global recession.

Politicians call for austerity and little else. But spending cuts are economically illiterate. They wreck weak economies by locking them into a cycle explained by John Maynard Keynes over 80 years ago:

  • Cuts mean job losses and falling demand for goods and services.
  • Falling demand means firms sell less.
  • Firms selling cause wages to fall and unemployment to rise even more.
  • Demand for goods and services falls further.
  • Then, as demand collapses and economies shrink, debts become unpayable.

Breaking this vicious circle is the first step towards recovery. But we can’t return to the old world of chronic dependence on carbon and debt. Click here to view a short guide to how the crisis broke, and some ideas on how to get out of it.

Say NO to South West NHS Pay Cartel

The South West NHS Pay Cartel claims that its aims are about ‘about exploring more flexible ways of rewarding and incentivising staff‘ – but the measures being proposed show a very perverse idea of what constitutes reward and incentive. It is clear that the real aim is to enable local NHS Trusts to reduce their pay bill from 68% to 60% which has the net effect of reducing individual earnings by up to 15%.

The cartel is bad for the NHS, bad for patients and bad for all NHS staff across the UK.

The pay cartel will hurt the local economy, compromises patient safety, seriously damages staff morale and creates instability in the workforce at a time when the NHS is going through unprecedented change.

There is no doubt that the formation of the South West cartel is being used a pilot project that will be rolled out to the rest of the country if it is successful. This should concern us all. Other industry sectors throughout the country will be watching in keen anticipation and most probably already looking at ways they can implement similar projects to side step and steam roller over previously agreed national pay and condition negotiation arrangements with the sole intention of cutting wages.

As part of the ongoing campaign against the cartel, local Unions are lobbying Trust meetings:

DATES / TIMES OF LOCAL LOBBIES

Poole:
Trust Board Meeting – 26th September – starting 9:45am
Meet Outside main entrance of Poole Hospital, Longfleet Road, Poole BH15 2JB from 8.30am

Public Council of Governors Meeting – 4th October – 4.30pm
Meeting outside Poole Salvation Army, 2 New Orchard, Poole BH15 1LY at 4.00pm

Download flyer: A4 A5

Bournemouth:
Trust Board Meeting – 26th September 10am -1pm
Meet outside main entrance of Trust HQ, 11 Shelly road, Boscombe, Bournemouth BH1 4JQ at 08.30am

Public Council of Governors Meeting
7th November 17.00- 19.00
Venue to be confirmed

Download flyer: A4 A5

Please support your local NHS staff in their struggle to fight the cartel’s proposals and send a firm, clear message to the Trust’s Board that this cartel, or any other, is not welcome, not wanted and will be opposed every step of the way.

28 REASONS TO SAY NO TO THE SOUTH WEST NHS PAY CARTEL

Download leaflet: A4 A5

1. Reduce APA rates
‘Programmed Activities’ are the basis for contracts for consultants. A standard consultant contract consists of 10 PAs of 4 hours each, resulting in a 40-hour standard work week. Consultants are paid for additional activities in 4-hour APAs. The cartel is proposing to reduce the rates paid for what is effectively consultant overtime.

2. Reduce annual leave
The cartel is considering reducing staff’s holiday entitlement and calculating a saving of £150 per employee for each day’s leave reduced, as well as a saving on the 50% of staff that are typically covered during holidays.

3. Bonus scheme
The cartel is considering incentivising all staff based on cost-savings overall, to exceed the ‘planned surplus’ that each Trust typically aims for and saves for capital projects. To help balance this bonus cost out, measure 4 would be implemented:

4. Clinical Excellence Awards
Trusts typically award CEA points to staff for achieving clinical excellence – a direct benefit to patients. The cartel is valuing these at c£3k per employee – and wants to connect these to ‘desired service activities‘ instead of to clinical excellence. These activities would be more oriented to efficiency than excellence – bad news for patient care.

5. Reduce consultant on-call supplements
Consultants are paid for being on call on-site and off-site. The cartel is considering reducing these rates – expecting them to be equally available for less money.

6. Extra hours
A big one for staff at all levels. The cartel is considering adding 1 hour on top of typical 37.5 hours (AfC) contracts – making already stressed and over-stretched staff work longer for no extra pay, and reducing overtime opportunities that are invaluable to NHS workers facing pay freezes and escalating living costs.

7. Flexible ‘benefits’
This one just represents unbelievable audacity and arrogance. Under this heading, the cartel is considering ‘selling’ stolen annual leave back to staff in return for a reduction in pay!

8. Flex-release (voluntary hours reduction)
The cartel is considering offering staff the option of working 25% fewer hours and receiving 25% less pay – and then only replacing 50% of the lost hours to save cost. The hours lost must surely impact on patient care and increase stress and absence, affecting clinical staffing levels even more, again to the detriment of patients.

9. Reduce/withhold increments
NHS clinical staff are graded in bands based on skills, knowledge and experience. As staff spend longer within a band, they receive annual salary increments to reflect their greater experience and service when it hasn’t yet resulted in moving to a higher band. The cartel is considering reducing these increments – and withholding a percentage of them completely. This means experienced, dedicated staff receiving no reward or recognition of their loyalty and greater experience.

10. Junior medical staff contracts
This one is nothing short of a scam. Junior doctors receive enhancements for anti-social hours and on-call duties. The cartel is thinking of changing the contracts of junior doctors to ‘limited working’ employment contracts that mean most of their hours and activities would be considered education – and would therefore end their access to any enhancements for long, anti-social hours and being available on call when not working. This is expected to result in a 50% saving on around 1000 staff in the cartel’s constituent Trusts.

11. Locum & retired consultant SPA
The cartel wants to end guaranteed SPA (supporting professional activities) time – time which is required for admin, refresher courses etc required for revalidation of professional qualifications and competence.

12. Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF) reform
Staff are currently rewarded for gaining increased professional skills and knowledge by receiving extra pay reflecting their expertise, to incentivise staff to become more widely competent. This gives employers the advantage of having staff capable of filling more demanding roles when necessary because of staff turnover, sickness etc. The cartel proposes to change this into a ‘KS Performance Framework‘ – in which staff are only paid for gaining knowledge and skills when they are actually using them. This will dis-incentivise staff and reduce the pool of expertise available to care for patients.

13. New consultant roles – direct clinical care
The cartel wants to establish ‘static consultant roles’ where contracts mainly recognise ’DCC’ PA-units (90%), in order to pay less and save money.

14. New employer models – a two-tier workforce
Another massive one – and the title of this section is a direct quote from the document, showing that the cartel is quite prepared to create ’2nd class employees’. This concept means new terms and conditions for staff considered easily replaceable – at rates 20-25% lower. If anyone doesn’t like the lower pay rate, they’re easily replaced.

15. Zero pay inflation (uplift)
The cartel is considering imposing zero ‘cost of living’ increases (except for very low paid staff)

16. Reduced pay levels
The cartel wants to reduce pay, considering that for a typical Trust, a reduction in pay of 1% will save £1.4m.

17. Reduce/eliminate pay protection policy
If re-organisations/restructuring result in staff being moved into jobs with lower banding, their pay from the previous banding is protected for 2-3 years. The cartel wants to remove or reduce this protection, so that staff are deprived of pay if managers decide to move them to different functions.

18. Reduce/remove preceptorship increment fast-track
Staff who take on extra responsibilities for training and mentoring less experienced staff to achieve full competence more quickly are rewarded by receiving in-band increments more rapidly. The cartel is considering removing or reducing this reward structure.

19. Flat-rate sick pay
Sickness pay currently includes anti-social hours rates. The cartel plans to award sick-pay at a flat, reduced rate. This seems to be broadly similar to the AfC measure under discussion.

20. Recruitment and retention premia (RRP)
Some key types of staff are paid at higher rates to prevent losing them. Under this proposal, these improved rates would be terminated as soon as any protections expired.

21. Reduction in working week and income
The cartel is considering imposing a 10% reduction in the working week – and of course reducing pay accordingly. This is expected to save £14m per typical Trust – but cannot possibly be implemented without adverse effects on patient care.

22. Redundancy payments
Current redundancy payments are equivalent on average to 1-2 years of salary costs given typical length of service (plus early retirement financial commitments). It is proposing to reduce these important benefits.

23. Remuneration for extra clinical work
Staff undertake extra clinical work, for example to help reduce waiting lists. This would be reduced/eliminated – again with negative impacts for patients.

24. Unpaid sickness absence (short term)
The cartel is considering making the first 2 days of any sickness absence unpaid. Given that much sickness is the result of injuries sustained at work, stress caused at work and diseases caught at work, this is positively criminal.

25. Reduce sick-pay entitlement
The proposal is to reduce sick pay for new staff and long term benefits from 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay after 5 years’ service to 3 months of each. Again, in the context of work-incurred illness, stress and injury, this is deplorable.

26. Supporting Professional Activities (SPAs)
The cartel wants to reduce time spent on SPA activity by consultants.

27. Temporary staffing rates 10% reduction
The cartel proposes to reduce the rate paid to temporary staff by at least 10%.

28. Reduce unsocial hours allowances
Health workers often have no choice but to work late shifts, night shifts, weekends, bank holidays etc, as the need for patient care doesn’t stop outside office hours. These shifts impact heavily on family life and often on health. The cartel is considering reducing the financial recognition of the dedication of staff and the adverse effects of unsocial and variable hours.

Reproduced, with permission, from the blog of skwalker1964 See also:

The smoking gun: govt involved in formation of SW NHS pay cartel ‘national pilot project’

By just how much is the SW pay cartel planning to cut NHS staff pay?

Poole NHS Trust breaks own legal advice to dodge FOI request

The 28 measures the South-West pay cartel is considering against staff

Jeremy Hunt in charge of the NHS !!!!

Jeremy Hunt is the new man appointed by David Cameron to run the NHS. As Health Secretary, he replaces Andrew Lansley.

In 2005 he co -authored a book ‘Direct Democracy: An Agenda for a New Model Party’ advocating the de-nationalisation of the NHS and the use of a USA style insurance scheme. Click here to view extracts.

Never has an incoming Secretary of State made such overt statements about replacing the NHS with an insurance system. His obvious lack of belief in what the NHS stands for will be a huge worry to patients and staff. NHS campaigners, staff and patients are very eager to hear what Jeremy Hunt has to say about the NHS.

Please sign the 38 Degrees open letter to Jeremy Hunt letting him know we want a public health service.

The open letter text:

Dear Jeremy Hunt,

Our NHS is precious, and worth protecting.

We want Britain to always have a public health service we can all rely on.

As you begin your new job as Health Secretary, we want you to know that we’re watching you.

We’ll challenge you every step of the way if you try to do our NHS any further harm.

Add your name to the Open Letter