In 2017 we began to write regularly in the Sheffield Telegraph. These are previous press releases.
Resist NHS Sheffield proposals on opening NHS services to private business. Write in by Wednesday Oct 12th
Under instructions from Andrew Lansley, South Yorkshire Primary Care Trusts are taking the first steps toward the privatisation of NHS community services. All PCTs in England have to make proposals for which NHS community services should be opened up to Any Qualified Provider (worth about £1billion of NHS funding nationally). PCTs must make three suggestions by the end of October. (See overleaf for the proposed list of services)
Consultation titled More Choice for Patients: Many PCTs ran surveys to test public opinion. NHS Sheffield (jointly with the other South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw PCTs) has used a more technical selection process and is now requesting both general and specific comments from patients, public and providers by October 12th via the weblinks below.
WE SAY: If you value the NHS, send in your comments on or before October 12th.
Some minor services already operate under the Any Qualified Provider regime, but the government intends this exercise to be the first step towards a much larger fragmentation of the NHS into private providers.
Although some of the services selected could be provided or differently or are new approaches, the money will be going out of the public purse often to large profit making companies who can offer the best economies. The government claims that there will be cost savings, but these will be achieved through poorer working conditions or sometimes even because regulations are biased towards the private sector. For example the NHS has to pay VAT on drugs for home chemotherapy while private providers don’t have to. What will happen to existing services? And what happens when things go wrong?
A member of Sheffield Save Our NHS, Mike Simpkin, said: “The whole scheme is fraught with dangers. By and large patients want a good service, not a lot of complicated choices. For most of us it is hard enough to decide whether to have a particular treatment, let alone who is going to provide it. There is also an increasing risk that doctors will have conflicts of interest because they have financial interests in local providers or may even want to offer services from their own surgeries for a fee. If Lansley’s reforms weren’t looming over everyone, it might be easier to do some limited experiments especially around home-based services, but this is the thin end of the wedge. We must write in now with our protests.”
WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO
We urge people in South Yorkshire who oppose the privatisation of the NHS by stealth to tell the PCTs what they think on or before 12th October by using the South Yorkshire/Bassetlaw PCTs questionnaire . Even writing Don’t Do This will have to count.
The House of Lords debate starts on October 11th. People who want to see the whole of Lansley’s Bill defeated or amended by the House of Lords should join the write-to-a-peer campaign at http://action.38degrees.org.uk/assign/contact-a-lord.
 ‘Both Healthcare at Home and BUPA Home Healthcare state that they are able to deliver home chemotherapy cost-effectively despite the lower nurse productivity. This is in part due to third parties being able to liberate savings on VAT for procurement of drugs for “personal use”.’ Chemotherapy Services in the Community – A Guide for PCTs Dept of Health 2010 para 3.10.
Sheffield Save Our NHS Demonstration
Saturday 28 May 2011
on the Green outside the Hallamshire Hospital, Glossop Road
The Coalition Government are planning major changes to our Health Service. A wave of cuts has been announced across the country and private companies are queuing up to profit from our health and ill health.
Nobody wants the new Bill except the people who will profit from it. The BMA, the RCN, the Royal College of General Practitioners and the major trade unions representing NHS workers all oppose it.
Public opposition has forced the coalition into "listening mode‟ but nothing has changed yet, the cuts and reforms are still continuing. If this Bill goes through, even with cosmetic changes, 64% or more of frontline NHS services are at risk of being made subject to competition and privatised.
One Sheffield Save Our NHS member, a retired GP, said “Never in the history of the NHS has the ‘doctor – patient’ relationship been under greater threat. If the health bill goes through and GP’s become the commissioners of NHS care how will patients know whether their GP is working in their best interests or in the interest of saving money”.
Another member, a student doctor, said "We are gravely worried that the proposed changes will favour private healthcare providers accountable to shareholders and not patients, promote competition and not co-operation and lead to drastic reductions in quality of patient care. Crucially the changes remove the government's obligation to provide a free, universal and comprehensive health care system to the people of the UK"
We need to send a strong message to the government.
Join this demonstration on Saturday 28 May 2011 and let them know – we want the bill scrapped altogether! Defend the NHS!
Main Speaker: Professor Wendy Savage (Keep Our NHS Public)
3rd May 2011; 7 pm; Victoria Hall, Chapel Walk, Sheffield
On Tuesday May 3rd, the Sheffield Save Our NHS group is holding a public meeting to continue their campaign against the Government’s proposed reforms of the NHS. The meeting will be addressed by Professor Wendy Savage, retired consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, and co-chair of the national Keep Our NHS Public campaign.
Also supporting the meeting are Sheffield Medact, Sheffield Medsin (medical students), and local trade unions including Unison’s Yorkshire Ambulance workers branch.
Opposition to the Coalition’s policies on the NHS has forced David Cameron to introduce a pause in the Parliamentary Bill which contains the NHS reforms and introduce a ‘listening exercise’. At the same time severe cuts in NHS budgets and services are beginning to bite.
This meeting will be a chance for the different campaigns against the Bill in Sheffield to send a strong message to the Coalition and to local NHS leaders to scrap this Bill as it stands. It will be the first of a series of events to provide a concerted Sheffield voice to oppose changes which fundamentally undermine the original values of the NHS.
Professor Wendy Savage will tell the meeting that the NHS provides a more equitable service at lower cost than other OECD countries and has achieved high levels of satisfaction.
Professor Savage said: “The Coalition’s Health and Social Care Bill aims to set up a fully fledged market but health care is not a suitable service for market mechanisms. Nobody would disagree with Mr Lansley’s aims but the means have been criticized by everybody except the health care ‘industry’.”
She continued: “The British people do not want to see our NHS becoming like the US system –expensive, inequitable, people denied care because of cost and with much poorer outcomes than the UK. We must fight this Bill. Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats can still stop the Conservatives from destroying our NHS if they vote against it at 3rd reading.”
One of the members of Sheffield Save Our NHS, Andy Turner, said: “We leafleted Lib Dem delegates at their recent conference in Sheffield. We got a lot of support as they went in, and this was reflected in the conference vote against the Coalition’s NHS Bill. The next step is to make sure that the widespread opposition to the Bill, both in Sheffield and across England, is properly heard during the government’s ‘listening exercise’.”