Posts Tagged ‘We Own It’

Email from Local Labour MP Karin Smyth about Health and Social Care Bill

April 8, 2022

I got a message today from my local constituency MP, Karin Smyth, who holds Bristol South for Labour informing me about the progress and attempts by Labour and the House of Lords to amend the government’s vile Health and Social Care bill. I’d written to her previously as part of a campaign to defend the NHS from the government’s latest push for privatisation by We Own It, and she has sent me messages before keeping me updated on this issue. She’s a supporter of Keir Starmer, but I have to give her due credit for working hard to protect the NHS and I believe that she does work hard for her constituents. As you can see, she is pleased that they have been able to keep private healthcare companies off the new NHS boards, but the opposition was not able to stop the further centralisation of power in the hands of the Health Secretary. She also describes how the act does nothing to solve the problem of understaffing in the NHS and social care sector, among other criticisms.

I don’t believe for a single moment that the government has any intention of solving these problems. The Tories have been pushing for the privatisation of the NHS ever since Thatcher, an aim that Alan Milburn in Blair’s government also shared. Blair, however, kept the NHS well funded. BoJob is doing the opposite to run it down ready for privatisation, which will no doubt be applauded by right-wingers like Alex Belfield, GB News and the Murdoch press. Here’s the email:

Dear David 

Last week, MPs debated Lords amendments to the Health and Care Bill. I am writing to update you further to our previous correspondence.

As you know, this wide-ranging Government Bill covers NHS structural reorganisation, procurement, an expansion of powers to the Health Secretary, social care charges and public health measures.

Like many in the health sector, I agree with the objective of more integrated health and care services. But I am concerned that this Bill represents a rushed, top-down reorganisation that will fail to integrate care and erode local accountability. It will do nothing to address workforce shortages or improve the standards of health and social care.

I commend members of the House of Lords who secured several amendments to improve the Bill, including powers to create a new licensing regime for non-surgical cosmetic procedures, provisions to ban hymenoplasty, positive recognition towards parity of esteem for mental health, and the introduction of mandatory training on learning disabilities and autism for all regulated health and care staff providing these services.

I am pleased that, at every stage, Labour has sought to amend the Bill to remove any possibility that private firms can have any role on the boards of Integrated Care Systems, as well as ensuring transparency around the awarding of contracts to non-NHS providers. Following pressure from the House of Lords, the Government amended the Bill to prevent chairs of these new boards appointing members involved with the private sector, who could undermine the independence of the health service. I am committed to upholding the NHS’s founding principles as a comprehensive, integrated, and public NHS that is there for all of us when we need it.

The House of Commons also supported an amendment to continue the provision of telemedical abortion services. Maintaining the existing provision of at-home early medical abortion following a telephone or video consultation with a clinician is crucial for women’s healthcare. Not only did that preserve access to a vital service during the pandemic, it enabled thousands of women to gain access to urgently needed care more quickly, more safely and more effectively. I believe it is right that women’s healthcare reflects the needs of those whom it serves.

I am disappointed, however, that the Government rejected several Lords amendments, including proposals for a consultation on a scheme to regulate the prices and profits of tobacco manufacturers and importers, with the funds raised to reduce smoking prevalence and improve public health. Smoking is responsible for half the difference in life expectancy between the richest and the poorest in society. I urge Ministers to publish their delayed Tobacco Control Plan and ensure its focus is on eradicating these vast health inequalities.

On workforce, there is a shortage of 100,000 staff across the NHS as well as 105,000 vacancies in social care. Staff and NHS leaders across the country are exhausted after their heroic efforts of the past two years. They are burned-out and overstretched, and there are simply not enough of them. Despite chronic shortages, the Government rejected a Lords amendment that would have required Ministers to publish – every two years – a full and transparent assessment of current and future workforce requirements. Health and care services must have the workforce they need to deliver safe high-quality services now and in the future. This amendment was an opportunity for Ministers to ensure a strategic, long-term approach to health and care workforce planning. I am disappointed they rejected it.

More widely, I agreed with the Lords’ decision to overturn a Government amendment to change the social care cap, which campaigners and health charities warned would leave people with low levels of wealth exposed to very high care costs. Unfortunately, Ministers rejected the Lords’ decision, and their amendment was reinstated. I am concerned that it will leave people with moderate assets living in poorer areas forced to sell their home to pay for their care, while wealthier people from richer parts of the country will be protected.

The Bill also gives, in my view, unnecessary and sweeping powers to the Health Secretary to intervene in the running of NHS services. It includes a requirement for Ministers to be informed of every single service changes and every single reconfiguration, with the Health Secretary deciding whether each should go ahead; effectively ending the operational independence of NHS England. While I supported a Lords amendment to prevent excessive ministerial interference in the NHS, the Government rejected it and these powers were reinstated into the Bill.

This is a moment of great pressure on the NHS: a record six million people are now waiting for treatment and public satisfaction with the NHS is at its lowest level in 25 years. Yet this Bill fails to address these immediate challenges. It does nothing to improve the provision or quality of social care and it will not achieve better integration or strengthen accountability to patients.

Yours sincerely

Karin Smyth MP
Labour MP for Bristol South’

We Own It’s Petition against Privatisation of Channel 4

April 6, 2022

Nadine Dorries’ appalling decision to press on with the government’s plans to sell off Channel 4 has been widely condemned. I put up a piece about it yesterday. It has nothing to do with saving anyone any money, but is merely yet another Tory assault on public service television in the service of media monopolists like Rupert Murdoch. It is part of their ongoing campaign to enforce a uniformity of right-wing opinion across the media, until all you hear is just Tory propaganda. As if that isn’t already mostly the case.

I got this internet petition from the pro-NHS, pro-nationalisation organisation We Own It against the privatisation today. I’ve signed it. If you feel the same about the issue, please do so as well.

‘Dear David,

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has finally announced her outrageous plan to sell off Channel 4.

Channel 4 is ours, and it doesn’t cost us a penny. It produces shows and films that bring us together – like Slumdog MillionaireFather TedIt’s A Sin. It reinvests profits into nurturing new talent, working with small businesses and providing jobs across the UK. 

That’s why an overwhelming 82% of the public don’t want Channel 4 to be privatised. Sign the petition to tell Nadine Dorries to get her hands off Channel 4 now!

Sign the petition against the Channel 4 sell off!

Nadine Dorries says that “government ownership is holding Channel 4 back”. This is just as false as when she said “Channel 4 is in receipt of public money”.

Channel 4 is entirely funded through advertising and is highly successful financially, reinvesting profits into developing programmes and supporting emerging talent.

Any plans to privatise the broadcaster have to go through Parliament – but thanks to you taking action to get this issue on the radar, Tory MPs are already worried. 

In response to thousands of your emails, a group of Conservative MPs came out against their own party and called for the government to leave Channel 4 alone.

You have created the conditions for the fight back over the past months. You contributed to the HUGE 60,000 responses to the government consultation. 12,600 of you emailed your MP, resulting in Conservative MPs using your reasons against the sell off in their public letter to Boris Johnson.

Now is the time to show just how many of us back Channel 4.

Sign the petition now!

A range of voices – from senior Conservative politicians to celebrities – have come out against the privatisation. 

Julian Knight MP, Conservative Chair of the Parliamentary Culture Committee, publicly said that privatising the channel would be a “big risk”, and even pointed out that this announcement seemed like “revenge” for news coverage that has been critical of the Prime Minister. 

Kirstie Allsopp has said that if these plans go ahead, “news & current affairs, and cutting edge dramas are likely to be thinned out. Profit will be king and the passion & inclusion of Channel 4 will be lost.”

Sir David Attenborough has backed an open letter warning ministers to stop “these short-sighted political and financial attacks”.

Business leaders, politicians, and unlikely allies are coming out against this sale alongside unions, actors and workers in the cultural sector. But it’s your voice, as the 82% of the public, that has the power to really swing this.

Every additional voice has an impact – add yours by signing the petition now. 

Add your name: Protect Channel 4!

We know that we need Channel 4 for the future, as part of shaping a more equal UK: providing opportunities outside of London, holding power to account, and platforming new voices. 

Thank you for standing up for our public broadcaster in its time of need, for all of us.

In the words of We Own It supporter, Jon: “Channel 4 produces brilliant work, excellent documentaries and independent news – what’s not to like?”

Solidarity,

Cat, Zana, Jack, Johnbosco, Alice, Matthew, Tom – The We Own It team’

Invitation from We Own It to Join their Pro-NHS Campaign Launch Rally

March 19, 2022

The pro-state ownership, pro-NHS group We Own It are holding a rally next Thursday between 6 and 7 pm for the launch of their campaign to save the Health Service from further privatisation under the Tories’ vile Health and Social Care bill. I’ve been sent this invitation to join them. It runs

‘You are invited to the launch of Rebuild our NHS: Get private profits out! – our campaign to lobby local NHS leaders across England to rebuild our NHS for people, not private companies’ profit.  

The campaign launch rally will take place online, on Zoom from 6 to 7pm on Thursday 24th March. Join us.

The rally will include the roll-out of our Find My NHS web tool – a first of its kind tool that makes pressuring NHS leaders in your own area as simple as just a few clicks.

Sign up to join the rally

The reorganisation of our NHS based on the Health and Care bill will make it easier for private companies to gain a foothold in local NHS bodies across England.

Together with you and thousands of others in your area the Rebuild our NHS campaign will say “NOT ON OUR WATCH”.

You can demand that they use the reorganisation instead as an opportunity to reset the direction of travel in our NHS – instead of more privatisation, they must focus on what local people want. 

The campaign’s demands are simple:

  • Ban private companies on your local NHS decision making board
  • Ban private companies deciding who provides NHS services
  • End outsourcing and privatisation of NHS services

Join the campaign launch rally to be part of this fightback with thousands of others.

I’ll join the launch rally

We know we can win this fight locally, because we have already started winning in some areas.

Last month, by just getting coverage in two local newspapers, we got the newly appointed chair of Bath’s new NHS body to pledge to ban private companies on their board.

It’s time to take that fight to all 42 of the new local NHS bodies called Integrated Care Systems (ICS) being created in England.

And it has never been easier to take the fight to your own local NHS leaders directly. 

Thanks to generous donations from hundreds of We Own It supporters, we will be launching “Find My NHS” – a cutting edge tool that makes pressuring your own local NHS leaders as simple as just a few clicks.

It is time to take the fight to them. Sign up to join the launch rally and be part of this fight.

Join the rally

David, Rebuild our NHS: Get private profits out! is one of our most ambitious campaigns yet and you can play a part in it – no matter how big or small.

Our goal is to mobilise you and tens of thousands of others to:

  • Send at least 3000 emails using our brand new web tool to each of the 42 new NHS bodies (ICSs) – this will show local NHS leaders thousands of people care about this
  • Receive coverage in at least 60 local news outlets across England  – this will both get out the word and mount pressure on local NHS leaders
  • Get every local BBC radio station and many private radio stations in England to talk about NHS privatisation and further pressure local NHS leaders
  • And, organise a day of action and get out on the street – this will help spread the word to hundreds of thousands of ordinary people who aren’t yet paying attention.

Most of the actions are for people in England because the changes only affect England. But over the next few months we will provide opportunities for people across the UK to support the campaign.

Sign up and join the campaign launch rally.

Sign up to join the online launch rally

Thank you so much for all you have done to protect our NHS through our campaigns. You are a true champion of our NHS.

Cat, Alice, Zana, Jack, Matthew, Tom, Johnbosco – the We Own It team’

I don’t think it’s just a personal invitation, as they clearly want as many people to get involved as possible. This is why I’m posting it here. I’ve certainly signed up to attend as the more people protest against the Tories’ and Blairite’s privatisation, the better.

We Own It Ask People to Sign Open Letter Against NHS Privatisation

February 1, 2022

On Friday the house of Lords debates the Tories’ wretched bill that will allow private companies to sit on NHS health boards, thus going a stage further in their stealth privatisation of the NHS. The pro-public service organisation, We Own It, has drawn up an open letter against the move and are asking people to sign it. I’ve done so, and if you also feel strongly about this issue, I encourage you to do so as well. The email reads

“We have just 48 hours to capture a huge opportunity to amend the Health and Care Bill to ban private companies sitting on NHS decision-making boards.

The current stage of the Bill in the House of Lords ends on Friday, 4th February, then it enters the stage when peers will vote on amendments.

That means you ONLY have until Wednesday to add your voice to our letter asking the leaders of the different groups in the Lords to whip their peers to vote to ban private companies on NHS boards.

Sign on to the letter now and send them a strong message.

Sign on to the letter now

Time is running out to make sure they get the message.

If you become a signatory to the letter, you will be demanding that they back amendments to:

  • ban individuals with a financial interest in private healthcare (including those who work for them private healthcare companies) sitting on the new Integrated Care Boards and,
  • make NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts the default providers of all NHS care, which will begin to lead us away from outsourcing NHS services

  • If the letter to the leaders of each of the Lords groups has thousands of signatures, it will show them that you and thousands of others are paying attention.

It will put them under enormous pressure to do the right thing

Sign on to the letter now.

Add your voice to the letter now

Our strategy is really simple and clear:

if every Labour, Liberal Democrat, Green and Crossbench peer votes for these amendments, we will hand the government a defeat of epic proportions.

But we don’t even need all 188 Crossbench peers to vote for them. We just need 99 of them.

Hundreds of you have already joined our Adopt A Peer campaign engaging directly with Crossbench peers.

Writing to the leaders of the groups of peers that we need to win will get us even closer to achieving our goal.

But we are running out of time to make sure they get your message.

Can you sign on now?

Become a signatory now

Thank you so much for everything you’ve done to protect our NHS from the Health and Care Bill – including signing the letter. It makes a real difference.

Cat, Alice, Zana, Tom, Matthew, Jack, Johnbosco – the We Own It team”

We Own It Petition Against the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill

November 21, 2021

As Mike’s reminding everyone on his blog, tomorrow parliament debates the government’s new Health and Social Care bill, which will open the NHS up to further privatisation while telling everyone that it isn’t. The anti-privatisation organisation We Own It sent me this message yesterday. It is an invitation to sign a petition against the bill. We Own It would like me to send it to ten people. I’m not on Twitter and the other social media, so I’m putting it up here for people to sign and reblog if they wish:

Dear David,

You and over 60,000 others have signed our petition asking parliament to scrap the Health and Care Bill AKA the NHS Corporate Takeover Bill. 

That’s MASSIVE! But if we are going to get parliament to scrap the bill, we need even more.

Can you help us get the petition to 100,000 signatures before Monday by sharing it with 10 people today? 

Share on Facebook

hare on Twitter
Copy and share the URL

David, MPs will vote on whether to pass the NHS Corporate Takeover Bill this Tuesday, 23rd November.

This legislation threatens to give private companies a bigger role in our NHS so that profit-driven corporations like Virgin Care sit on NHS boards, paving the way for more privatisation and sleaze.

That’s why we are coming together with Keep Our NHS Public, Just Treatment and Your NHS Needs You, to visit Parliament and hand over the petition on Monday 22nd, when MPs begin voting on amendments.

We can pile the pressure on Conservative MPs and get enough of them to vote against this bill. Here’s how:

Right now Conservative MPs have their backs against the wall. 

Because of public pressure, they’ve had to U-turn on their vote to allow private water companies to spew sewage into our rivers and on their vote to open the door to sleaze.

This shows that if we push hard, we can force them to change direction.

We can show them that the public means business and are willing to take a step to oppose the bill by making the petition go even bigger.

Can you take a few minutes to share the petition on your social media and directly with 10 of your friends and family members?

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Copy the URL and send directly

If you don’t have social media, you can email, text, or whatsapp this URL to your family and friends: https://weownit.org.uk/act-now/stopthenhscorporatetakeoverbill

Together, we can convince Conservative MPs that people hate the NHS Corporate Takeover Bill enough to make them fear being forced to U-turn after voting for it.

But we can only do that by demonstrating mass opposition.

Two weeks ago our poll showed that 72% of the public are worried the bill will mean more NHS privatisation – including 70% of Conservatives. 

The next few days before Monday 22nd will be crucial for whether we can get the government to scrap their NHS Corporate Takeover Bill. 


Thank you so much for taking action and for being involved in this fight to protect our NHS.

Cat, Alice, Zana, Matthew, Johnbosco – the We Own It team

Petition from pro-NHS Group We Own It for Greater NHS Funding

September 5, 2021

I got this petition from We Own It yesterday, calling on the government to increase funding to the NHS by £10 billion a year, with £10 billion needed this year to combat Covid 19 successfully, the training of 90,000 doctors and nurses, an increase in hospital beds and the reopening of the A&E departments the Tories have closed, as well as stopping the selling off of hospital land and a similar increase in funding for social care.

The petition also includes a link, where you can send a short, prepared message about this to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak. The petition runs

“Dear David,

Today we launch our waiting lists campaign.

There are millions of people across the UK who are waiting for treatment right now. 

You might even be one of them. 

We’re seeing rises in the number of people on waiting lists for treatment across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In England alone, there are currently 5.5 million people waiting.

This is an emergency. Our NHS needs us.

That’s why we’re calling on the government to give our NHS all of the funding it needs to reduce waiting lists as quickly as possible and give patients the care they need.

I’ll sign the petition to give our NHS the funding it needs

Our NHS is amazing. It’s helped so many of us in our hour of need. Incredible NHS staff have been working round the clock to look after us during the pandemic. 

But they’re also having to deal with a mounting backlog – caused by Covid and a decade of underfunding and privatisation.  

Now, instead of investing in our healthcare service, the government is going to start funnelling yet more money into the private sector. They’re going to pay £10 billion to run private hospitals using NHS staff to deal with NHS waiting list patients – with £200 million going towards shareholder profits.

This is not a sustainable, long-term solution. There should be no place for profiteering in our healthcare system.

Instead of handing out billions to the private sector, the government must commit to new funding for our NHS in its autumn budget update.

Will you call on Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and Sajid Javid to give the NHS the funding it needs?

Yes, I’ll call on the government to fund our NHS, not private healthcare

The government will make a decision on NHS funding very soon. This week the NHS Confederation, NHS Providers and the Labour Party all called for serious cash and a recovery plan for our NHS.

That’s why now is the moment to call for proper funding – and to say every penny must go to our NHS, not private healthcare.

If the government hears this message loudly and clearly from enough people right now it could really influence how much money goes to our NHS.

We want our NHS to get the funding it needs. That means:

  • Funding of at least £10 billion revenue a year to cover ongoing Covid costs and care backlogs 
  • Funding of at least £10 billion capital this year to urgently maintain and upgrade hospitals and vital equipment like ambulances and scanners 
  • Funding for the extra 90,000 NHS staff that are needed – increasing the number of doctors, nurses and healthcare staff through training and encouraging staff to stay with better pay, terms and conditions 
  • Funding for hospital beds – reopen the 22,000 beds closed since 2010
  • Funding for A&Es – reopen the 100+ A&Es closed since 2010
  • No more selling off hospital land, no more outsourcing NHS staff
  • Funding and a plan for social care so that people are cared for when they leave hospital

Let’s send a clear message that the government needs to give our NHS the funds it needs to tackle rising waiting list times and rebuild from the pandemic.

I’ll send a message to give our NHS the funding it needs by signing the petition

We don’t want this waiting list crisis to push people into paying for private healthcare.  

We don’t want to be forced into a two-tier system like the US.

Our NHS has always been there for us. Together, we can be there for our NHS.

Thank you so much for taking action today. By signing the petition to cut waiting lists by funding our NHS, we’re showing that a healthcare service that cares for everyone is our top priority. 

Solidarity,

Cat, Johnbosco, Alice, Anna, Matthew and Zana – the We Own It team

PS Can you join our campaign launch today? We’re raising the alarm across the country to ramp up the pressure on the government and call on them to give our NHS all the funding and extra capacity it needs to care for people. You can find out how to get involved here!

I got the email yesterday, so I’ve missed the chance at being part of the launch of their campaign. I’ve put up numerous petitions, messages and other materials from We Own It, fighting NHS cuts and privatisation. Mike has several times put up that quote from Noam Chomsky, where he states that right-wing governments begin privatisation by starving a state industry of cash, then using its failure as an excuse to hand it over to the private sector. This is what is occurring here. I have therefore had absolutely no trouble signing the petition and sending the prepared statement to the audience clown masquerading as our PM and his vile chancellor, Rishi Sunak. I would ask everyone who is also worried about NHS privatisation to do so too.

Especially as Keir Starmer seems to be doing precious little to stop it.

We Own It Rally for NHS This Saturday in London

September 2, 2021

‘We Own It’ are a pro-NHS group fighting the health service’s deliberate underfunding by the Tories and its piecemeal privatisation. I got this email from them yesterday telling me that they’re launching a press campaign and organising a rally. They’re encouraging people with experiences of waiting lists or having to pay for private treatment to share their stories with them. They will put them up on their website and intend to share those stories with the press. Their rally is set for midday Saturday opposite Old Palace Yard near parliament. The email runs

“Dear David,

Since we first got in touch with you about the launch of our waiting list campaign nearly a month ago, waiting list figures in England have already increased by 200,000. 

5.5 million patients in England alone are currently waiting for treatment. And the figure is also rising across the UK. The number of people on waiting lists is increasing in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, reaching record levels in some places.

We know you love our NHS – it’s one of the best things humans have ever created. And our NHS staff are phenomenal. They’ve worked tirelessly to carry us through the pandemic. 

But they’re also working flat out to tackle waiting list numbers that were already too high even before Covid. 

Because the government has been cutting the vital funding our NHS needs for 10 years – while handing over ever more cash to the private sector.

So together it’s time we raise the alarm! We need to ramp up the pressure on the government and call on them to give our NHS all the funding and extra capacity it needs to care for people urgently and rebuild for the longer term. 

We can do this by sharing your stories with the press to show the human impact of being on a waiting list to access care or being forced to spend savings to go private.

Your story could have the power to make the government change their minds and give the NHS the funding it needs.

We’re talking to journalists right now who want to give you a voice by publishing your experience in the national press. If you have a story to tell, you can follow this link for more information on how to share it with us.

Many of you have already shared your experiences of being on a waiting list or paying for private treatment – thank you. We’ll be putting your stories up on our website soon. If you’re also happy to have your first and last name and a photo of yourself passed over to journalists, we’d love it if you could give us permission to share your details.  

We’re also hosting a rally on Saturday, September 4th in London to launch our campaign for the funding our NHS needs to tackle waiting lists and we’d love if you could join us:

12-1pm, Saturday 4th September – Opposite Old Palace Yard, Parliament, Westminster, SW1A 0AA 

If you’re based in London or able to travel there, and would like to share your story of being on a waiting list or having to pay for private care on the day, let us know by replying to this email – we’d love you to be able to tell your story at the campaign launch.

We’ve also got an action planned in Edinburgh – if you’d like to join it, let us know by replying to this email. 

If you’re not able to attend an action in person you can find out how you can get involved wherever you are in the UK here

Solidarity, 

Cat, Alice, Johnbosco, Matthew, Anna and Zana – the We Own It team”

If you’re able and willing to help with this campaign, I’d encourage you to do so. One of the reasons our response to Covid has been so disastrous is because the cuts to NHS funding have left a shortage of acute care beds compared to other countries, such as Germany. I also noted an article that appeared in the press a few months ago reporting that the NHS was no longer the 1# health service in the world, but had dropped to 4#. This is no accident. As Mike has said time and again, the Tories are deliberately underfunding the NHS in order to transform it into a second class service, hoping that anybody who can will go privately. The contrived failure of NHS care also provides them with a convenient excuse to hand over more of it to the private sector, the same private sector that is responsible for the shortages and substandard care.

And Tory propagandists are already pushing for its privatisation. The mad right-wing radio host, Alex Belfield, has put up another video demanding the privatisation of the NHS following a radio he took from a listener who had suffered through being put on a waiting list. I have every sympathy for that listener, but privatisation is making waiting lists far worse. That is something Belfield definitely is not going to tell his fans as he rants against woke lefties and entitled, university educated whippersnappers. He makes much of being a working class lad from a pit town, standing against the middle class, Guardian-reading left-wing elite. But it’s only the left that’s fighting for the NHS against the middle- and upper class parasites urging its privatisation, a privatisation that will be disastrous for working class people.

And despite the cuts, Tory propagandists are still complaining about waste in the NHS. Earlier this week Sargon’s little chum on the Lotus Eaters channel, Callum, moaned about ‘state-mandated healthcare’ and waste in the NHS because the health service or one of the trusts was advertising for a diversity officer on a salary amounting to tens of thousands. They’d obviously like to get rid of such posts, and see it as an example of where money is being misspent in the health service. I can’t say I’m happy that there are such posts with such inflated salaries, but there are good reasons why they’re needed. This year there have been complaints that Blacks and ethnic minorities have received substandard service from the NHS, especially regarding pregnancy and maternity care. There have also been complaints that ethnic minorities don’t receive promotion as much as Whites, and that they have suffered through being deliberately placed in the frontline of fighting the Coronavirus without the support given to Whites. Furthermore, I doubt any private enterprise would react any differently to such complaints. Indeed, in contrast to the propaganda that private healthcare companies are lean, mean and efficient compared to the NHS, they actually have a bigger bureaucracy, partly to deal with such issues.

The Tories are using their underfunding to push through the privatisation of the NHS. We need to support groups like We Own It who are fighting against them.

‘We Own It’ Celebrate Win in Getting Centene Out of NHS

August 24, 2021

We Own It are a pro-NHS organisation dedicated to getting the parasites of the private health industry out of the NHS and reversing the privatisation of this greatest of our country’s institutions. Centene are an American healthcare company to whom the Tories plan to hand many of our GP surgeries. A month or so ago I went to an online Zoom meeting about the threat Centene present with speakers that included MPs, local councillors and doctors. Centene has previously acquired doctor’s surgeries in the north of England. Their management of them was dreadful. Services were cut, and I believe a certain number of patients were even left without a surgery altogether thanks to the private healthcare company’s closures. A Spanish medical man, working in the NHS, told of the colossal ineptitude of Centene’s management of healthcare in Valencia. This was so egregious that the company was thrown out of the Spanish healthcare system despite the considerable personal contacts it enjoyed with Conservative Spanish politicos. Now these profiteers are seeking to expand their grasp on the British healthcare system. We Own It report that, thanks to pressure from their members, North Central London healthcare authority have decided to kick Centene out of two GPs surgeries in Islington by July next year. But they also appeal for further help in letter writing campaigns against Centene’s attempts to acquire other surgeries in London.

The email runs

You’ve just won another incredible victory in the fight to get Centene out of our local GP practices.

Centene is a profit-greedy American company that took over 49 NHS GP practices in February this year. Their track record shows a company that puts profits before people at every opportunity. 

And with your donations, your time, your actions, social media posts and everything you’ve done, you’ve stood up to them many times since then. 

In April, through your efforts and the incredible work we did alongside Hammersmith and Fulham Save Our NHS, their contract renewal for a local surgery in Hammersmith was cut from 5 years to just 2 years – with stricter performance conditions.

Now, after months of pressure, North Central London health leaders have just decided to get Centene out of two Islington GP surgeries as soon as July next year.

This is incredible news. And you made that happen. 

This is your win. 

Collective pressure works, even when it feels like we’re up against it.

Local We Own It supporters in Islington alongside Islington Keep Our NHS Public worked hard to mount pressure on their local health leaders.

They wrote hundreds of letters to local health leaders, wrote articles in their local newspapers, protested and held a well-attended community meeting at which the local councillors and MPs expressed opposition to Centene.

Their work, along with what you did on a national level, is responsible for this win.

We still have to keep an eye on this win to make sure local health leaders don’t sneak Centene back in through the back door.

But for now, you should bask in your victory.

Your fight to get Centene kicked out of our local GP surgeries continues. 

In June, government inspectors declared 3 Centene-run surgeries in Newham “Inadequate”, despite declaring it “Good” under the local GPs that ran them previously. We need to get them kicked out of these surgeries. You can join a letter-writing session for this if you live in the area.

Two further Centene contracts for surgeries in Brent and Harrow are expiring soon and we must pressure local health leaders not to renew them. Join a letter-writing session for this if you live in the area.

But this is not just a London fight. Just as your support from all across the UK made these wins possible, we are fighting to get Centene kicked out of our NHS everywhere.

Thank you so much for all that you have done toward this victory. We couldn’t do any of this work without you.

Cat, Alice, Zana, Anna, Matthew, Johnbosco – the We Own It team

PS: You can read more about this local victory over Centene on our website blog. Please share the blog as widely as possible.

This is excellent news and demonstrates what people can do in the face of the government’s determination to privatise the NHS. I don’t live in London, and so cannot join their letter writing campaigns against Centene in those areas. If any of the readers of this blog do, you might consider joining these campaigns.

Centene and the other private healthcare companies have not improved the NHS in contrast to the lies and blather put out by free market propagandists in the Tory party and the Labour right. Rather they have cut services, laid off staff and made conditions worse for those who remain in their employ in order to make a profit and give their board their bloated salaries and a handsome dividend for their shareholders. The result is always worse healthcare and more public expense, as it is has been shown that giving state services over to private healthcare contracts raises costs by 6 per cent.

Get Centene and the other profiteers out of the NHS!

Reply from Local MP Karin Smyth to Letter Against Tory NHS Privatisation

July 19, 2021

Firstly, sorry for my silence the past few days. The TV company we’re with were upgrading the network in our area and we lost internet and TV reception. The TV came back on as expected, but we still couldn’t get the internet. We had to call an engineer out and the first opportunity for one to come was today. Well, he did indeed come and fix it, so all should be up and running as usual. We hope.

Last week I put up a piece about the pro-NHS group, We Own Out, encouraging people to write to their MPs asking them to vote against the Tories’ latest wretched health bill, introducing more privatisation into the NHS. I wrote to my local MP, Karin Smyth, as requested, and got an excellent reply from her last week. Here it is.

“Thank you for your email regarding the new Health and Care Bill which was debated for the first time in the House of Commons yesterday. I voted against the Bill along with my Labour colleagues but it was passed with a large government majority. Jon Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Health, made a very strong contribution and you can read the whole debate on the Hansard website here. There was not time for me, or more than 30 other MPs, to speak so I was unable to place on record yesterday why this legislation is such a missed opportunity which fails patients and their families in Bristol South.

Before I became your Member of Parliament I worked in the NHS and witnessed at first hand the wholesale chaos of the last reorganisation of the NHS in 2012 pursued by the then Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government. Up until that point there had been a general consensus about how to improve healthcare in our country: enhanced GP services, more care within communities to help support people closer to home and a stronger role for local government. Instead of listening to those of us within the NHS about the problems their plans would create the government simply ploughed ahead with a market and competition based system.

So now the government has accepted the almost complete failure of their last attempt and is having another go.

What they should be doing is giving new life to the NHS to enable it to fulfil the objectives set out by its founders in the pioneering post-war Labour government – high-quality healthcare, free at the point of use, fit for the modern world. But instead of a focus on improving care we have a proposals to create nothing more than a cronies charter, giving the Secretary of State huge unaccountable power to interfere in local NHS decision making with dozens of new, appointed, positions of responsibility. There is nothing to tackle the workforce crisis which means it is becoming harder and harder to recruit doctors, nurses and other staff. It is the fault of government, not hard pressed staff,  that people in south Bristol found it difficult to see a GP or were waiting for an operation even before the pandemic.  

In the coming months the Bill will be subject to line-by-line scrutiny and I expect to be part of the committee which undertakes that work. I will have a relentless focus on amending it to improve outcomes for patients and their families, through an integration of health and social care based on quality rather than cost saving or even cost cutting. I want to see effective, locally accountable and properly funded health services of which we can all be proud.

I will be updating you regularly on that work. We must all keep up the pressure on the government to make sure the National Health Service, on which we all rely, can meet our health and care needs in the 21st century.

Yours sincerely

Karin Smyth
Labour MP for Bristol South”

I’m very grateful for her reply. I’ve heard Karin speak before at local meetings of her disgust with the Tories’ privatisation of the NHS. She has said that she became an MP specifically because she felt so strongly about what they were doing to this most precious of British institutions.

I think she is a member of Labour’s right-wing, but am absolutely confident she will fight for the NHS and do exactly as she says she will about scrutinising and opposing this vile piece of legislation.