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Archive for the ‘Stand up for the NHS’ Category

NHS: Victory!

May 30th, 2013 by

Good news. It looks like we may have nipped it in the bud. Jeremy Hunt has been forced to respond to our 180,000-strong petition. And he’s made a public pledge to “never” introduce a limit on the number of times we’re allowed to visit our GP.

Here’s what he said on twitter in full. He couldn’t resist being rude about us, but it’s still positive news:

On Tuesday, this was a serious Conservative Party policy proposal, being reported in national newspapers.  Now, it’s “never” going to happen.

That’s pretty extraordinary. By working together in big enough numbers, we’ve forced a leading politician to change his tune in just 48 hours. No wonder he doesn’t like us – ordinary people, working together, are limiting his ability to damage our NHS.

This is what 38 Degrees is all about. Jeremy Hunt may grumble. But he knows he can’t afford to ignore us. We’re independent. We move fast. We stick to our principles. And most importantly of all, there are thousands and thousands of us, all over the country.

38 Degrees works because it belongs to all of us. An important part of that is how we’re funded. To stay independent, we will never take cash from government, political parties, or big business. Instead 38 Degrees relies on people-powered donations from thousands of us, contributing whatever we can afford. Our donations policy is available on our website.

Would you consider making a regular donation, to make sure we can keep running campaigns like this one? It’s probably the last thing Jeremy Hunt would like you to do today. But it could be one of the most effective ways of keeping him in check.

Just 2 or 3 pounds a week makes a massive difference. And it only takes a few minutes to set up a direct debit.

The 38 Degrees way of campaigning is extremely good value. We don’t have fancy offices, big bureaucracy, layers of management or marketing departments – just a small committed staff team, lots of volunteers, and an amazing network of over a million 38 Degrees members like you.

It’s good value, but it can’t be done for nothing. More donations would mean we could do even more together – including more work to investigate and tackle threats to our NHS. Whether it’s access to GPs, A&E closures, or privatisation, we need to stay on Jeremy Hunt’s case. So please consider celebrating today’s success by chipping in to fund more work in the future.

Your voices

By the way, here’s how some 38 Degrees members are responding to Jeremy Hunt on Facebook:

Christian Cook: They caused a leak to test the water and were overcome by a tidal wave.

Kit Whitfield Thomas: We believe you, boys. As long as you don’t actually do it, we’re happy to pretend it was all our fault for getting our silly little minds confused. I’ll take insults over expecting poor people to die any day.

Talis Kimberley: Shame he couldn’t set the record straight without a bit of graceless snarking. ‘Neutral’…

Pamela Brooke: “nipped in the bud” then … for me, this was always “just in case they’re serious”

You can also join in the conversation on Facebook.

 

Posted in Stand up for the NHS

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NHS: What next?

April 29th, 2013 by

Just recently, together we’ve been campaigning against the Section 75 regulations, otherwise known as ‘backdoor privatisation’ of the NHS. Here’s what we did:

  • Over 360, 000 people signed the petition – a huge public showing of opposition to the privatisation of the NHS
  • 38 Degrees members gathered in Norfolk outside the Health Minister Norman Lamb’s constituency office to present him with the petition and voice their concerns about how the regulations might force Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to privatise the NHS
  • 38 Degrees members funded expert legal advice to scrutinise the regulations. The Department of Health responded to this legal advice. David Lock QC then gave his opinion of this response
  • 38 Degrees members and staff met with Norman Lamb at the Department of Health’s office to discuss the regulations and again show him the public opposition to the regulations. Following the meeting Norman Lamb sent a note to 38 Degrees members.

As a result of all this pressure, we convinced Norman Lamb to withdraw the regulations and re-draft them. A huge victory for people power! While the new regulations aren’t perfect, they are better than the original version.

For the final vote in the House of Lords, the office team sent briefing packs to Lords including details of the petition and the legal advice.

Unfortunately the new regulations were not defeated and are now law. Norman Lamb has promised that the guidance that will accompany the regulations will ensure CCGs that they will be able to keep services in-house if they so wish. Over the next few months, we need to watch carefully to see whether he keeps his word.

So the NHS changes are now in force. But that isn’t the end of the NHS campaign. Over 50,000 38 Degrees members participated in a poll and had their say on the direction of the NHS campaign. The office team are working up plans for how to progress the NHS campaign based on the poll results. We are keeping a close eye on the NHS and will be there to campaign on important NHS issues as they come up.

As 38 Degrees members consistently vote, the NHS is a big priority!

Alongside the national campaigns that the office team sends out, there’s a new campaigning tool that local members have the opportunity to use. There’s a new part of the 38 Degrees site where members can set up and run their own campaigns – it’s called Campaigns by You. It’s there to give members the opportunity to campaign on the many important issues, both local and national, that are too numerous for the the small office team to ever manage alone.

The new site has already produced some amazing wins! Such as stopping a nuclear dump in the Lake District, saving a local community library and protecting local heritage sites. All of these wins have come from 38 Degrees members like yourself setting up their own petitions on the new site!

Now that CCGs have taken over commissioning health care, this new site gives you the opportunity to campaign on local health issues. For example, if there’s unnecessary privatisation of services in your local area, or ambulances overstretched, or hospitals desperately understaffed, or a local A&Es closed, you can now start a petition on it and fight to protect local health services.

The office team have just made a video about the new site, which will give you some more information about what Campaigns By You is all about.

If there’s any issue, NHS-related or not, you’d like to start a campaign on, you now can easily get one up and running. Hopefully this new site gives your local campaign the opportunity to grow and create positive change for your community!

 

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

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NHS poll results

April 12th, 2013 by

Over 50,000 members have now responded to the latest member poll, and the results are now in. The poll asked 38 Degrees members ‘What next for the NHS campaign?’.

With the government’s changes to the NHS recently coming into force, it is an important time for members to decide how to take the NHS campaign forward.

Here are the results of the poll (click on the image for a larger view):

The poll results clearly show that 38 Degrees members remain extremely passionate about protecting the NHS. The office team will now use the answers to the poll to work out the next steps for the NHS campaign.

What do you think of these results? Please share your ideas in the comments section below.

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What next for the NHS campaign?

April 9th, 2013 by

Last week, the NHS started to change. The laws which the government pushed through last year came into force. The changes would probably be even more alarming if it wasn’t for all the campaigning we’ve done together. But it’s all still pretty worrying.

With the changes now in force, we need to decide what we want to do next. What’s the priority? How can we best work together to defend the idea of a decent public health service we can rely on to look after us when we need it?

You can help us decide where the NHS campaign goes next. Please take two minutes to vote in a poll.

When the government finally got its changes through last year, 38 Degrees members were disappointed. But we voted to keep the campaign going. And since then, by working together, we’ve made a huge difference:

  • Thousands of 38 Degrees members across the country have asked their local GPs to put patients first and keep the NHS public. We’ve already signed up groups of local GPs in the Midlands, south-west and London.
  • We moved fast when we heard that the government was looking at a new tax dodge for the private health industry. Thousands of us wrote in to complain. The plan was dropped within hours!
  • There’s been big problems with privatised GP out-of-hours care in places like Cornwall. So hundreds of thousands of us demanded an investigation into what happened there. An inquiry has now been launched by the influential Public Accounts Committee of MPs.
  • Just last month, the government announced new rules which could force GPs to hand almost all health contracts to private companies. Over 350,000 of us signed the petition and wrote to our MPs. This helped force the government to withdraw the rules – a big win, though there’s still more to do.

It works because we all work together. So please help decide what we do next by taking the poll.

Should we be focusing on protecting the NHS from budget cuts? Stopping further privatisation? Supporting local campaigns like those against hospital closures? Or making sure that when managers fail to protect patient care, like in Mid Staffs, they’re held properly responsible?

We can do a lot, but we can’t do everything. So please vote!

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

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NHS: Local campaign success in Bristol

March 27th, 2013 by

Below is a blog written by Mike, a 38 Degrees member in Bristol. Mike and other local 38 Degrees members, with support from local GPs, have recently convinced the Bristol CCG to adopt some important amendments into their constitution that will protect local NHS services from dangerous privatisation.

Back in November 2012, some fifty local 38 Degrees members met the Board of Bristol, North
Somerset and South Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust (BNSSG). We were there to hand in a petition of over 5000 names urging the trust to do all they can to protect local NHS services by incorporating the suggested 38 Degrees amendments.

Four members of our group had a further meeting with Bristol CCG, to force home our arguments regarding the constitutional amendments, and we felt that we were listened to. Yet, when we saw the first draft of the constitution we discovered that no amendments had been made to the NHS CCG Board model constitution. We know that the CCG was under pressure to proceed with authorisation and felt that it had consulted sufficiently. However, the CCG’s goodwill and apparent wish to acknowledge our petition had not been translated into the written word.

So, in early January we commenced a second level campaign which involved emailing every GP practice in Bristol. This was supported by a number of practices who’d already been contacted by group members and a few GPs who are themselves members of 38 Degrees. A number of GP practices felt, like us, that there’d been insufficient consultation about the constitution. This campaign action had its desired effect, prompting a flurry of correspondence between the CCG and GP practices.

Then, mid-February, with authorisation in its final stages, we received a letter from the CCG providing us with a revised version of the constitution. It included, in full, the very important amendments detailed in Schedule E – success!

A number of the other amendments had not been included though and after further clarification, we received an email from the CCG assuring us that: “we are working on our mission and values again to update them. We will be consulting on them in the Spring”. Our group has decided to attend every CCG meeting from now on to hold them to this.

We’ve come far since our first 38 Degrees get-together in October last year, getting doctors on side and persuading Bristol CCG to accept some important amendments to their commissioning policy. We’ve written to local MPs and councillors, and established links with national groups to rally support against NHS privatisation. We feel that we are halfway there and our impression is that the CCG is listening. We know that many local GPs, like thousands of other health professionals and clinicians, support the 38 Degree campaign. Regarding the amendments that have not yet been included in the revised constitution, we have been promised a response at the CCG’s next meeting in April. Let’s see what happens.

If you’d like to get involved in the campaign in the Bristol area, please get in touch – protectournhs@gmail.com . Find us on Twitter, @NHSour, and visit our website, www.protectournhs.wordpress.com.

Posted in Stand up for the NHS

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Meeting with Health Minister Norman Lamb

March 22nd, 2013 by

38 Degrees members and team

Ken, Caroline, David, Linda, Anu and Ian in the waiting area at the Dept for Health

Yesterday 38 Degrees members and staff went to Westminster to meet with the health minister Norman Lamb MP to talk about our campaign against dodgy, pro-privatisation NHS regulations.  Over 350,000 members have now signed the petition against plans to force local doctors to open up almost all NHS services to private companies.  This petition and member-funded legal advice, helped push Norman Lamb to scrap the first version of these dodgy, pro-privatisation NHS regulations.

Linda and Norman Lamb MP

Linda delivering the petition to Health Minister Norman Lamb

38 Degrees member Linda who had previously written to members handed in the petition to Norman Lamb.

Norman and several staff from the Department of Health sat down with 38 Degrees to talk about the new regulations. We went in armed with the results of the survey taken by tens of thousands of 38 Degrees members which told us what you thought we should say.

Below is a video with feedback from the members present on how the meeting went as well as their thoughts on the campaign in general. This is very much our first impressions – as always the devil is in the detail. Norman Lamb offered some general assurances which in principle sounded promising, but we will need to follow up to get more details in writing before we decide what our next steps should be.

So, watch this space, as further feedback from the meeting and an email about the next steps in the campaign to save the NHS will be coming soon.

 

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Members meet the Health Minister

March 21st, 2013 by

38 Degrees members had a big meeting today with Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb. It was a chance for us to say what we think of his response to our campaign against dodgy, pro-privatisation NHS regulations.

 

38 Degrees brings together over 1 million of us – too many to fit in one meeting room! So only a few members were able to attend, but we were proud to get our members in the room to set out our case. To make sure we could give a fair representation of all our members’ views 38 Degrees sent out a short poll asking our members what to say. This meant 38 Degrees members’ views were truly represented to the Health Minister.

In the past few weeks, we’ve proved again that people-powered campaigning can work. Through a 350,000 signature petition, thousands of messages to MPs, and member-funded legal advice we helped push Norman Lamb to scrap the first version of these dodgy, pro-privatisation NHS regulations.

But that’s where things started getting more complicated. Norman Lamb rushed to publish a new version of the regulations. The new version does look a little bit better – but they are still nowhere near perfect.

So 38 Degrees member donations paid for two extra bits of legal advice. One, from an NHS law specialist, explains how Norman Lamb’s new version still doesn’t fully keep earlier promises not to impose privatisation. The other, from a competition law specialist, is a bit more positive but also says it may well have been impossible for these promises to ever be fully met.

That meant we had important choices to make about how we responded in the meeting with Norman Lamb. For example whether to prioritise pointing out ways in which the new version of the regulations could be improved? Or choosing to campaign for the regulations to be scrapped altogether?

It’s not usual for 38 Degrees to go into Westminster for a meeting with a Minister. Our power doesn’t come from being chummy with politicians. But on this occasion, we had a chance to put our views directly to the Minister just as he is deciding what to do next.

Norman Lamb will have to listen to us if he knows we speak on behalf of thousands and thousands of 38 Degrees members. And because we went in with the views all our members expressed in our poll our words carried this weight. Please continue to take the poll so that together we can take the NHS campaign forward.

 

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

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Local members meet the Health Minister

March 14th, 2013 by

Below is a blog written by Andy, a 38 Degrees member in Norfolk. Andy and other local 38 Degrees members were in North Walsham on Friday to deliver the 38 Degrees Section 75 petition against NHS privatisation to the Health Minister, Norman Lamb, outside his constituency office.

The day began with an interview with BBC Radio Norfolk about the important petition hand-in. There was a lively discussion about waiting times at the local hospital, gearing me up for the event later that day.

The minister unexpectedly changed the location of the meeting, but luckily the owner of the venue where members were congregating was a 38 Degrees supporter and happy to accommodate us. Local member and members of the 38 Degrees office team overwhelmed the local café, sharing their opinions over cups of tea before heading to Norman Lamb’s office.

We were only expecting a small number to be allowed into his office, but after seeing the amount of people gathered with their placards in the cold, the minister came outside to talk to all of us. Norman said he was very pleased to meet us (despite him being a little late!). He talked a lot about protecting the NHS from privatisation, the importance of “integration” of services and gave us reassurances that Section 75 would be revised. The crowd didn’t let him off lightly though and he certainly received a thorough grilling, being challenged on the disastrous experiment of private companies running public services.

38 Degrees members finished the day feeling that they’d had their say and resolved to keep up the pressure on the government’s privatisation plans. We left invigorated with plans to reconvene at a Defend the NHS demonstration in the North Walsham Market Place the next day.

If you’d like to be involved in the local NHS campaign in North Norfolk please do get in touch – andycairns67@gmail.com

If you haven’t yet signed the petition against Section 75 you can find the petition and more information here – https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/nhs-section-75

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

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Lewisham hospital – an update

February 1st, 2013 by

What’s happening to Lewisham Hospital? The news is mixed. Jeremy Hunt has announced that the maternity and A&E units will stay open. But both will be scaled back and be able to treat less people.

It’s not all we hoped for. But Lewisham Hospital will still be open for business. And there’s no doubt it could have been a lot worse if so many thousands of us hadn’t spoken up.

Over 17,000 members of 38 Degrees from across London contacted Jeremy Hunt calling on him to protect the hospital. Last Saturday, thousands of 38 Degrees members were among the 25,000-strong march through the streets of Lewisham. All the community was represented, from babies who’d just been born in the hospital right through to pensioners in their 90s.

Together all of us proved to Jeremy Hunt that we’re not going to just sit by and watch our NHS services get ruined.

This isn’t over. The NHS will last as long as people like us stick together and speak up to protect it. There’ll be more to do to protect NHS services in Lewisham, across London, and across the whole country.

Thanks for all you do – let’s keep going!

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

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NHS get-togethers: more information

September 27th, 2012 by

 

NHS Get-together

Members get-together to save the NHS

38 Degrees members across the country are now organising local get-togethers in pubs, cafes and community centres.

They’ll be discussing how we can make sure our local doctors protect our NHS, and prevent privatisation as much as possible. Our people-powered push will counter the massive pressure which CCGs will be under from private health care companies.

There are over 200 CCGs across the country. The aim is for 38 Degrees members to meet in each of these, so no area goes unprotected.

For more information and support on this next stage of the campaign to protect the NHS locally, click here.

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