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Archive for the ‘38 Degrees Blog Posts’ Category

Blogs by the 38 Degrees team, volunteers and members.

Jeremy Hunt: Don’t close our GP surgeries

August 15th, 2014 by

Jeremy Hunt has changed the rules again. He’s bringing in cuts that could see some local GP surgeries closing their doors for good. 700,000 of us could lose our local GP.

The top-up funds that many surgeries rely on are being slashed and the money channelled away from those who need them most. Even NHS England admitted that Hunt’s reforms strike the poorest hardest.

The clock is ticking: some surgeries say they could close within a year. The government won’t want bad news stories sticking around in the run up to the election. If Jeremy Hunt feels another big battle brewing over the NHS, it might be enough to persuade him to stop the cuts.

As Hunt tries to relax this weekend, let’s make sure he feels the heat. We can build a huge petition to leave him in no doubt that these cuts are not ok and we’ll always be here to protect our NHS:

38 Degrees members have already taken on Jeremy Hunt and won before. We stopped his Hospital Closure Clause and people power beat him in court twice when 38 Degrees members helped fund the legal case to save Lewisham hospital.

Protesters with Save our NHS banner in Westminster

As more surgeries are forced to shut, this could open the door for more GP surgeries to be run by large private firms on the cheap.

Hundreds of our GPs have already been campaigning against these cuts – let’s stand with them.

Please sign the petition to stop Jeremy Hunt’s dangerous plans in their tracks:

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts, Stand up for the NHS

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Letter to Simon Stevens

August 15th, 2014 by

A letter sent today from 38 Degrees to Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England:

Dear Simon Stevens,

I’m frustrated to have to write to you today, after months of waiting for NHS England to deliver on your promises of transparency and openness.

Since February, 38 Degrees members have been asking NHS England to commit to high standards of transparency. We asked you to publicly declare conflicts of interest, publicly register any meetings with corporations and lobbyists, and not pay corporate lobbyists to write NHS policy.

This started when NHS England was found out to have employed the lobbying company, Specialised Healthcare Alliance, to write a draft report that could feed into NHS commissioning worth £12bn. As you know, SHA work for some of the world’s biggest health companies. 38 Degrees members see this as a clear conflict of interest and a threat to a publicly owned NHS.

You’ve repeatedly said NHS England stands for transparency, that this is a patients’ NHS, and that absolute transparency is key to driving improvements in standards of care. But your response to 38 Degrees members over the past five months hasn’t been transparent at all.

148,000 people signed the petition for greater transparency at NHS England. This is one of the biggest petitions 38 Degrees has ever had. You gave us some promises that NHS England would begin to declare conflicts of interest and register meetings with lobbyists. But you didn’t give details of what this will look like in practice.

Then almost 8000 people emailed you inviting you to meet with 38 Degrees members to flesh out your commitments. We heard nothing back.

300 38 Degrees members then attended your NHS Open House days in York, Leicester, Basingstoke and London. Your own regional directors, Jane Barnacle, Alan McDermott, Julie Hickling and Giles Wilmore, met us and said that NHS England would deliver plans on transparency by the start of July. Now its the end of July and we still haven’t heard anything.

The longer this goes on, the more concerned the public will become.

We would still like to see firm commitments from NHS England to declare any conflicts of interest, publicly register meetings with corporations and lobbyists and not pay corporate lobbyists to write NHS policy. Please can you let me know if you have any intention of doing this, and if so when?

In anticipation,

David Babbs,
Executive Director

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Fracking public consultation: one day left

August 14th, 2014 by

The government is trying to change the law so fracking companies can drill under our homes, without our permission.  They’re consulting on the plan – but only for another 24 hours.  So let’s flood it with opposition.

The government is sensitive to anything that might be an election issue. Fracking is becoming toxic – let’s make sure they know that voters won’t accept dirty energy companies drilling under our homes.

You can email the consultation before 11.45pm on Friday 15th August to voice your opposition.

The government is on the side of the fracking firms. But they’re coming up against huge opposition. Within hours of the law’s announcement in May, 25,000 of us emailed our MPs to warn them about getting behind the government’s new law. And across the country communities are coming together to fight fracking on their doorsteps.

The future of fracking in the UK rests on this new law going through. Asked what would happen if it was stopped, the head of Cuadrilla, one of the biggest fracking companies, admitted: “I don’t think the industry will go ahead in the UK.”

Fracking companies will be making sure their voices are heard. But together our voices can drown them out.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Gaza: Petition hand in at Downing St

August 14th, 2014 by

38 Degrees members have just been down to Downing St to hand in the massive petition about Gaza.

The petition calls for our government to make a stronger stand for peace. The UK has, rightly, already got controls in place to stop British-made weapons going to Hamas - it’s time to ban arms sales to Israel too.

It’s just tipped over 100,000 signatures, you can sign the petition here.

Here are some pictures from the day:

Pictures courtesy of Photo project and 38 Degrees

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Bees: Letter from David Cameron

August 14th, 2014 by

An exciting letter came into the 38 Degrees office this week.

The Prime Minister David Cameron has written in, in response to 38 Degrees members successful campaign to stop the UK Government from allowing Syngenta’s banned bee-killer pesticides back on UK fields.

Over 200,000 people signed the petition and hundreds came down for an early morning ‘swarm on Downing St’ as the cabinet were meeting.

The Prime Minister’s letter is below.  In it he says “Let me first reassure you that we accept the EU ban on neonicotinoids” but later he goes on to say “Evidence on the impact of pesticide use is incomplete…”.  This is despite a recent four year review of all of the science which said the widespread impact of neonicotinoids was ‘impossible to deny’.

David Cameron wrote that “the UK will be hosting large scale field trials later this year to add to the evidence base” so they’re clearly not yet convinced of the mountain of evidence that already exists.  It’s wonderful news that there are no plans to let the big chemical companies wriggle out of the European ban, but let’s watch this space and make sure we’re here to fight for our bees if the threat reappears.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Israel arms ban petition hand-in

August 13th, 2014 by

Over 95,000 people have signed the petition telling David Cameron to stop selling arms to Israel. 38 Degrees members are standing up for peace. Alongside thousands of people around the world also calling for an end to the bloody conflict in Gaza.

Yesterday, the government announced they might halt some arms sales to Israel. This shows the government is starting to bend to pressure for an arms embargo. But some people say it doesn’t go far enough.

On Thursday morning, 38 Degrees members will hand our petition in to the government. Together, we are showing the strength of public opinion for a ban on arms sales - adding to the pressure on Cameron to take further action.

You can share the petition on Facebook and Twitter now, so your friends and family can add their names before the petition is handed in tomorrow morning.

The Israeli army is using weapons containing British-made parts, with the consent of the UK government. The UK has, rightly, already got controls in place to stop British-made weapons going to Palestinian group Hamas. But if we want to promote peace, our weapons shouldn’t be used by either side. It’s time to ban arms sales to Israel too.

Would you like to come to the petition hand-in on Thursday? We’ll be meeting outside Downing Street at 11am and we’ll hand the petition to guards who will take it inside. Please RSVP here.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Good Hope Hospital

August 13th, 2014 by

38 Degrees member, Krystyna, has launched a campaign calling on NHS Heart Of England Trust to hold a public meeting about the future of services at Good Hope Hospital.

The Heart of England Foundation Trust recently revealed plans to cut vital services like trauma and surgery from Good Hope Hospital. They promised to hold a public meeting to discuss these changes but have yet to set a date.

The changes could come into place as soon as the Autumn but campaigners say the public haven’t been properly consulted.

Krystyna and other members of the ‘Save Good Hope’s Local Services’ are handing their petition into Downing Street this Friday. Can you help them reach 1000 signatures? Click here.

Here’s what Krystyna says:

“The Trust have stated several times in the media that they would hold a full public consultation but so far have refused to name a date.”

The proposals allegedly involve the transference of key services from Good Hope to Heartlands and Solihull hospitals, both great distances to travel for many people and particularly difficult for carers and those they care for – the elderly, very young and disabled.

“We encourage everyone in the area who would be affected by the Trust’s proposed changes and who wants to have a say on the future of our hospital to sign the petition.”

Click here to sign her petition now:

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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Save Hampstead ponds!

August 12th, 2014 by

Yesterday 38 Degrees members and local campaigners handed a petition to Camden Council’s offices to stop heavy construction on Hampstead Heath and save Hampstead ponds.

You can sign the petition here.

38 Degrees member Mary Powell started a petition on Campaigns by You which has now been signed by 11,630 people. She wants Camden Council to reject a planning application from the City of London who want to build dams and embankments on Hampstead Heath. Mary and other local campaigners say that the works will irreversibly damage the Heath, the ponds, and the wildlife and not prevent flooding in the area.

The petition hand in has featured on the BBC website and ITV London, as well as featuring on BBC London last night (listen from 32’30’’ to 39’00’’).

Check out these pictures from the day:

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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TTIP: Sign the petition now

August 11th, 2014 by

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – a fancy name for a terrible trade deal between the EU and the US. If we don’t beat it, big business will be able to sue our government for protecting people and the planet, and privatisation of our NHS and other public services will be irreversible.

And 38 Degrees members have already done a lot to campaign against TTIP. Last month 38 Degrees members flooded the TTIP negotiating team in Brussels with emails, asking them to fix or scrap the deal. And thousands of 38 Degrees members chipped in raised £100,000 for an ad campaign going up in the Autumn.

But so far, the UK government hasn’t felt the heat.

Business Minister Vince Cable’s department is in charge of TTIP in the UK. He’ll decide what we sign up to – he could make or break the deal. He needs to know that we see him as personally responsible for protecting our NHS and stopping big business from walking all over our government. If he hears how important TTIP is to the public, he might do the right thing.

A huge petition is the first step in showing Vince that we’re watching him closely. And that we want him to fix or scrap TTIP. You can sign the petition here.

It’d be easy to fix this deal. Vince could take a stand against businesses being able to sue the government like Germany has done recently. Or he could call for the NHS and public services to be completely removed from the deal, like the French government did when they got some areas excluded. [4]

So let’s push TTIP into the spotlight and force Vince’s hand. Already thousands of us have chipped in and raised £100,000 for an ad campaign going up in the Autumn. [5] But we need to keep the pressure mounting. We need to tell Vince Cable to fix or scrap this deal.

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Leon’s library campaign on film

August 11th, 2014 by

Last week I went to Cornwall to visit a 38 Degrees member making political waves – at just ten years old. Leon Remphry started a campaign to protect Cornwall’s libraries only a few weeks ago and support is already snowballing. He’s been interviewed by a whole host of journalists. And now councillors, as well as the local MP, are sitting up and taking notice.

Leon began his campaign when he visited Falmouth library one Saturday afternoon only to find it was closed. As his Mum is a 38 Degrees member, he decided to create a petition on Campaigns by You – a part of our website where anyone can start a campaign. And Leon’s proved just how easy it is to create a buzz around an issue you care about.

I met Leon for a morning of action outside Falmouth library. We gathered signatures with hoards of Leon’s school friends. It was exciting to see young faces standing up for the things they care about. It struck me that it would be pretty sad to see these little campaigners have less and less access to a library.

Lib Dem Councillor Adam Paynter, who is responsible for library provision in Cornwall, came along to meet Leon. He explained that library provisions were changing because of budget cuts – that it was out of their hands.

But Leon is just a few hundred signatures away from sparking a council debate. There’s a chance he can persuade Councillors to re-think how they spend their decreasing budget. Either way, Leon’s not giving up – he’s got his sight set on Downing Street if that’s what it takes to win the campaign! Click here to sign his petition.

Have you got any ideas of how Leon could continue his campaign? Do you live in Cornwall? If so, comment below.

Posted in 38 Degrees Blog Posts

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