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NHS – Last Chance?

March 15th, 2012 by

House of Lords

Photograph by UK Parliament (Flickr)

On Monday afternoon, the House of Lords starts the final voting on the NHS changes. An influential crossbench Lord, Lord David Owen, has agreed to accept the Save Our NHS petition. He expects to present it to the House of Lords , just before the debate starts.

The petition bears the names of over half a million of us. It speaks of our fears for the future of our NHS: services broken up, creeping privatisation, money diverted from patient care. These are the kinds of risks which could be in the government’s risk report. But the government still won’t publish that report, despite legal orders to do so.

During Monday’s debate, Lord Owen will call a vote blocking the NHS changes until the risk report is published. Our petition will remind Lords that the public care about these risks to the future of our health service. It could help persuade some wavering Lords to vote the right way.

It’s quite a long shot, to be honest. The government seems determined to ignore everyone’s concerns and force things through. But incredible things can happen even this late in the day – it’s definitely worth a try.

There’s already 500,000 names on the petition. But the bigger it is, the more powerful our message to the Lords on Monday when the petition is delivered. So please can you sign the petition and forward it to your friends, family and colleagues too.

As the Lords gather to decide whether or not to press on with changing the NHS without knowing all the risks, let’s send them a reminder. Let’s remind them that across the UK, hundreds of thousands of us know what it feels like to arrive at a hospital or a doctor’s surgery, tired, sick or frightened for someone you love. And that we know how much we rely on our NHS in those situations to give us the care we need.

Each name on our petition is a reason for the Lords to think twice before gambling with the future of our NHS. It will show them that although we all know the NHS isn’t perfect, we know that it’s pretty amazing. It will remind them that when we talk about risk registers, we’re talking about threats to a health service which is the envy of the world.

This could be the final opportunity for all of us to stand up for the NHS before the key votes happen. Please sign the petition and ask your friends, family and colleagues to sign it too.

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  • Bananayz

    I feel the Tories have already made their choice, they’ll vote in favour of this bill no matter what we do.. we still have to try, but even if we get them to publish the Risk register I feel they’re still set to vote for it.
    I seriously hope this works, but I don’t feel confident… a lot of them see 38Degrees as “Slacktivism” because we use the internet mostly so we can reach more people, they just don’t listen they always find excuses to discredit things like this..

  • Lucy N

    Here’s a link to adopt a peer pdq: http://www.goingtowork.org.uk/peers/Peers/start
    and ask him/her/it to delay till the register is published. It’s really simple to use. I’ve emailed 3 leaping lords – have to try anything we can.

  • JanetEds

    I’ve adopted a peer. 

    The 38degrees team – I can’t help feeling as if they were ‘got at’ by the Gvmt – it’s as if they went to sleep over the last few months. 

    They had the chance to circulate the shocking facts but it didn’t happen. 

  • Lucy N

     Mmm. I think it’s probably that they hoped to be a catalyst for participants to do their own organising (apart from petitions) and had not anticipated the way things have panned out. 38 degrees set up looks very simple really – and only superficially like the very organised union way of sorting out lobbying, marches, campaigning and so on. It takes a lot of money and muscle to do any of this – and it’s aimed primarily at their membership and tends to feel exclusive even when it isn’t.

    Perhaps in future, when it’s all too late for the NHS,  a new site for posting up projected key dates/stages in bills/ and campaigns,  local campaigns (and links like we have been posting up) to save/protect all threatened public services with a national audience in mind will be set up by 38 degrees (or some other body). This would be good for information exchange and a port of call for newbies to the site.

  • Jen Williams

    The peer I emailed said he will be out of the office until Monday morning and will not be able to respond to emails until after that. Lord Tordoff, in case anyone else wants to know. So it’s useless anyone else emailing him.

  • Jen Williams

    There was a map when all this began.
    What happened to it? You could see any actions within up to 100 miles of where you lived. That’s how I knew to go and see a local MP to hand over a petition.

  • Rich

    Demo this Saturday 17th March at the Department of Health London 2.30pm called for by Hackney Keep Our NHS Public (amongst others). The facebook event is here.

  • Edna Oxley

    Our NHS is under threat and it always was the best
     So think of all the good it’s done before it’s laid to rest.
    ‘Privatise’ is all the cry from those too blind to know
    How it was before inception over sixty years ago.
    Lloyd George had health insurance pre-1948
    And the Poor Law and the workhouse were there to seal your fate.
    Insurance for the working man but sadly not for all,
    His wife and his children, alas they had no call.
    The workhouse gave you shelter and the Poor Law poor relief
    But for those who had to use them they only brought more grief.
    Middle Britain could handle it – they could afford the best
    But their best was not a patch on what would follow next.
    Along came Aneurin Bevan, who turned it all around,
    The envy of the world we were, when the NHS was found.
    And it came when we were on our knees in 1948,
    To become the jewel in the crown of Britain’s Welfare State.
    Our NHS is not perfect.
    Nothing ever could be,
    But there’s an equal right to use it,
    And at the point of need, it’s free.
    Edna Oxley

  • JanetEds

    Yes, copy and paste a copy of your *own words* to lots of them.  That shouldn’t be too difficult.

  • Rich

    Use this link to email to email peer regarding NHS . With particular  focus on the NHS register.

  • Rich
  • JanetEds

    Regarding the rally in London on Saturday, not a peep on the news of course.  It seems there were armed guards there. 

    This was copied from a Guardian blog:  ”
    Today I attended the NHS protest at the Dept of Health. I know you oppose the NHS Bill but the purpose of the protest is rather irrelevant to the concern I wish to raise. The protest today moved from the dept to whitehall where the protesters blocked the road. It is open to debate about how valid a form of protest this is but let me assure you, it was entirely peaceful, purely concerned citizens, frustrated at a bill being passed which nobody wants. The police acted to move the protest on and the protesters myself included were forced to start moving down whitehall toward trafalgar square. As I approached Trafalgar Square a red police van stopped in front of me and out stepped three police men with machine guns. I was absolutely disgusted. It seemed like the most inappropriate form of intimidation of a peaceful crowd. Someone must have realised how stupid it was as they only hung about for a minute before getting back in the van. I tried to speak to one of the blue capped officers surrounding the van to ask why the armed police had been deployed and he told me to ‘f**king jog on’. I’ve asked charing cross police to explain to me what happened but I’d like to ask you to take this issue up. People need to know that they are free to take part in peaceful protest without the threat of armed response.”

    It really is getting like Libya in this country.

    That Guardian subject was the tax havens of the companies due to earn from the NHS. 

  • JanetEds
  • Lucy N

    Guns??? Does Liberty know about this?  Any photos? Strange times: I was there and didn’t see any machine guns although I did see the blue-capped police squad preparing to threaten and disrupt the entirely peaceful gathering – they looked very hyped-up down a side street.

    By I’ve heard rumours of a big protest to be held over the weekend of 14/15 April – anybody else heard this? Will put up more info when I find it. And this should be publicised everywhere as the public need to know where they can fight the hollowing out of NHS – not everyone is on the internet or wants to use Facebook and Twitter.

     I think it’s really important to keep protests going despite the lack of interest from the media and politicians at the moment and the bill passing (if it does). 

    Election prospects is the only way to remind this lot of autocrats that anyone else apart from their corporate sponsors exist.

  • JanetEds

    Another Guardian page is regarding the health companies methods of frittering away profits to the tax havens.  http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/mar/17/nhs-shakeup-health-firms-tax-havens

    Money is a subject that gets most people’s hackles up. 

    Any Twitterers etc, circulate how much money is going out of the country in this way. 

  • JanetEds

    Even the policians don’t realize just what will happen after it’s passed. 

    They believed ill people would lie down and die or disappear when passed as ‘fit to work’ by ATOS, but no.  Now the Benefits Office and Tribunals are snowed under with appeals and hearings.

    The doctors are not giong to lie down and die either.  They will cause as much trouble as possible if the alternative is to lose their nice GPs surgery to the Wotsit Medical Group’s new centre.  Good luck to them.

    If private patients appear in NHS hosps, I bet they would be ostrasized. I would ask such what they were doing in my hospital. 

  • Lucy N

     Just had a damp squib of a reply from Lord Butler to one of my emails to him about releasing the risk register, impact assessment and voting for Lord Owen’s amendment.  …..what a waste of space such people are: a row of parrots would do as well.

    “Thank you for your email.  I’m afraid I can’t back Lord Owen’s amendment because I believe that the risk register is confidential advice to Ministers and such registers will not be prepared candidly if they have to be published.
    Sorry not to be able to help.
    Robin Butler”

  • Josie

    Perhaps someone should get the police to wake up and note that 38%degree members are fighting their corner as well!

  • Bananayz

    It sounds like they’re aware that will happen, yesterday after it passed my friend in America got a job offer. In the UK for a hospital.