Virgin Care, which will take over Wiltshire’s children’s health services
NHS staff working in child health services in one West county have been told they have a new boss – Richard Branson – after health chiefs unilaterally privatised their entire department in a £64 million deal.
All community child health services in Wiltshire will be privatised, with council and NHS bosses defending their decision saying it was the best way to ensure a ‘consistent’ service across the county.
But leaders representing the staff being transferred said they had real fears the move would mean a worse service for more money, which they said was what happened when taxes were paid for ‘profits and shareholders’.
Until now, all the services from Cricklade to Salisbury had been run by five different NHS organisations. The services now part of the deal include children’s specialist community nursing, health visiting and speech and language therapy
This is a story about the patients and people of the NHS, and the staff that have dedicated their lives to helping others at their most scared and their most vulnerable. This campaign is far bigger than the terms and conditions of a contract – this is a campaign to defend the National Health Service itself.
This is a grassroots effort striving to give a voice to 53,000 junior doctors, hundreds of thousands of NHS Staff and millions of patients across the country.
This film is the culmination of the collaborative efforts of a huge number of people who felt impassioned and driven by this cause to dedicate their time and talents for free. They cannot be thanked enough. But they are only the start. You are the next step. We need your help to fight the devastating changes to the way that healthcare can be delivered and the future of the NHS.
Produced by: Dr Amar Mashru, Dr Michael Eyre and Dr Joe Lipton
Filmed by: Oz Thakkar, Fergus Dingle and Sam Crook
Post Production: Guy Hixon, Simon Smith, Tom Carpenter
Original Soundtrack: Lois Paton
Original Photography: Richard Perry
Narrated by: Amar Mashru
With Special Thanks to: Ailsa White, Kami Paulson, Helen Malcolm, Phil Dart, Mark Sohatee, Professor Harold Ellis, Janna Kenny, Rachael Mitchell, Hannah Brotherstone, Ovi Roy, Matt Edwards, Reena Aggarwal, David Cocke, Tom Simpson, David Simmonds, Tom Merrifield, Ricky Stokes, Neel Patel, Jennifer Hulse, Chris Foster.
As always, thank you to our parents and our families.
Junior Doctors Leeds Demo Nov 2015 (c) Luke Farley
This letter has been written by A&E consultant Dr Rob Galloway.
“I am writing for your help in trying to stop the unprecedented damage happening to the NHS. Please read, share, like, tweet and tell your friends.
As someone who has the privilege of working for the NHS as an A&E doctor I see first hand what is happening. Please trust the real doctors and not the spin-doctors.
The NHS is on its knees and unless things change, it may not survive. It has been attacked, part privatised, demoralised and starved of funds.
We have tried to highlight what is going on; through the media, marches, speeches and endless tweets and Facebook posts. But it is not working. Things are getting worse and the NHS, which we all care so much about, may soon no longer be able to care for us.
The only thing which might save it is if the British public no longer just accept what is happening – but start to fight back. This is above party politics. This is about what we want our society to be. Fight back for the greatest safety net we have – the knowledge that if you live in the UK if we get sick, then we will be looked after: an envy throughout the world.
The NHS was born on the 5th July 1948. Heroes from World War Two, no longer wanted to accept a society where if you were rich you would prosper and if you were poor you were left to suffer. It was born in a period of great austerity but money was found because health and welfare was made a priority above all else.
The pictured letter was sent through the door of every citizen. The opening lines were:
“It will provide you with all medical, dental and nursing care. Everyone – rich or poor, man, woman or child – can use any part of it. “
This promise is one we may soon not be able to keep.
The NHS has its problems and needs reform. But its ethos was what made it great; patients before profits, co-operation instead of competition. But the last few years has seen a determined effort to undermine all that is good about the NHS – its socialised system of working for the good of our patients.
The government has started a process of privatisation. Billions have been wasted on re-organisations and competition and contracting out of services to the private sector which have destabilised the hospitals we all use. Despite this, the NHS kept going because of the skills and commitment of its staff.
So to deliver the politically and ideologically driven plan of reducing the size of the state and selling off the NHS to the private sector – the government has started to attack the staff. Destroy the staff, you damage the NHS. A damaged NHS is one which the public would go along with privatising.
If this happens, things will become like the USA where they spend double what we spend on health care , but the money is wasted on profit, bureaucracy and excessive wages and the standards of care are so much lower than in the UK, especially for the poor.
Why are they doing this? It has been their plan all along. Because they do not believe in the concepts of the NHS. They believe in individuals floating or sinking. Jeremy Hunt even co-authored a book on this 10 years ago in which the authors said the NHS is “no longer relevant in the 21st Century.”
The new contracts they are proposing for junior doctors will mean an exodus of doctors from the NHS. Without these doctors, standards of care will fall, waiting times will rise and patients will die.
They have said this is about 7 day working. They are lying. The new contract will harm 7 day working. How do you improve care at weekends if you stop giving people the incentive to work in jobs with lots of out of hours work by saying evenings and Saturdays are normal working hours?
They have also lied by saying there will be an 11% pay rise. Junior Doctors salaries have a large component made up of supplements because they work so many nights, weekends and evenings. If you cut these payments by 30% and increase basic pay by 11% that is not a pay rise.
And you can tell they are lying by simple maths my 6 year old can do. They have said that everyone will get an 11% basic pay rise but the pay envelope will not rise.
So we need the British public’s help: you need to understand what is happening because there is so much misinformation and lies out there spun by the politicians and propagated by sections of the press.
Public opinion matters. There may well be a strike by junior doctors. During the strike consultants like me will be doing what we can to make things safe. No one wants the strike – especially not the doctors. They have said they will negotiate with the government as long as the government say they will not impose a contract. That can only be fair – but the government refuses. A strike will be the fault of the government.
If the doctors strike, it would be to protect the NHS and not to harm it. Protect if by forcing the government into a climb down so that they do not bring in these disastrous policies which will lead to so much damage to the NHS.
But it is bigger than just this issue. We, as a society, must think about our priorities. Do we starve the NHS of resources whilst having tax cuts for millionaires and multinational businesses? Do we value and protect the bankers and speculators who have harmed this country so much or do we value and protect the doctors and nurses who heal the country?
We must start to fight back. Do what ever you can to let people know what is happening. Campaign on the street, pubs and ballot box. Even if we win the junior doctor battle and even if Mr Hunt is forced to resign, that is only the first war in a generational battle for the NHS .
Remember what Nye Bevan said on the day the NHS was founded,
“The NHS will last as long at there are the folk with the with faith to fight for it”.
We, as members of the British public, need to have the faith and we need to fight for it.
If we don’t, the NHS which our grandparents so proudly formed, will no longer be there for our children. They may never forgive us.
Polly Toynbee Thursday 5 November 2015 11.32 GMTLast modified on Thursday 5 November 201511.55 GMT
The magical thinkers gathered around the cabinet table should back off now, before their fantasies founder on the hard rock of the NHS
Today junior doctors start their strike ballot. How did it come to this? This pointless conflict over a trivial sum is another symptom of a government vanishing into realms of delusion and denial. Finding themselves unexpectedly unfettered, Cameron’s crew floats free to believe that whatever they say is true, whatever they wish will happen, and whatever they do will work like magic. The NHS is the hard rock on which their fantasies may founder.
Out of nowhere, Cameron’s manifesto suddenly promised “a seven-day NHS”, with no clue how to deliver it. Never mind that much of the NHS works 24/7 anyway, this was populist policy-making from the Lynton Crosby school of election winning, uninterested in practicality. Never mind that the figures showing higher weekend deaths were partly owing to higher weekend trauma.