Sheffield Save our NHS

John Carlise
John Carlise
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From: A kidney donor

To: The labour MPs of South Yorkshire:


My kidney donor experience: In 2013 at the age of seventy I donated a kidney to an anonymous recipient. It was for two reasons: One, I could radically improve someone’s quality of life, and secondly, I really did want to do something for our wonderful NHS, which has sustained me, an immigrant, and my family, for nearly fifty years.

The year-long journey to the operation gave me the perfect opportunity to study the NHS in depth. There I met the most professional, dedicated and well-organised bunch of people since British Rail. The expertise was amazing and by the time the actual operation came round I was absolutely confident in the outcome. There was only one concern, and that was that the consistently expressed fear for the future of the NHS and their jobs.

I also joined Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) as a national platform in early 2016 to stop Jeremy Hunt’s plan to run down the NHS so he could privatise it at will – with the collaboration of George Osborne and his austerity malfeasance. But we were working in a vacuum, and that vacuum was the Labour Party. It had no strategy to challenge Hunt effectively. It was not visible to the public. It was hard to get the highly gifted and well-researched KONP Steering Committee to even be listened to. Unfortunately, Jon Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health seems to be following the same path.

The shadow cabinet has been a bystander at a fire sale.

The NHS is at a tipping point. For the first time the public is losing confidence in it, after an all-time high in 2010. So, in just five years Hunt has managed to demoralise both the NHS staff and the public. The waste due to continual re-organisation is enormous, running into billions. Additionally, a BMA press release yesterday reveals that the infamous STPs (Sustainability and Transformation Plans) will cause financial and medical care chaos.

Some of the STP areas advertised jobs for agency staff or private consultants, with at least £1.1 million being spent on external firms. Just five areas accounted for more than £5.5 million of the spending, and this is not for medical staff but yet more administrators.

These figures come alongside a new report on STPs published today by the BMA, analysing all 44 STP plans. The report finds that:

17.6 million patients could be affected by hospitals closing or merging (including both community and acute care);

22.9 million patients could be affected by A&Es closing or downgrading;

14.7 million patients could be affected by acute bed closures;

6.6 million patients could be affected by community bed closure

Clearly the STPs are not there to improve the service. So, what is their purpose? Well, the NHS is too big for even the most adventurous business mogul to buy; but if you break it up into manageable chunks (STPs) then Virgin, Circle and CareUK and the big USA private healthcare companies could buy up the pieces. A great privatisation plan! And this despite the evidence that these provide bad services.

Do you know all this? If so, what is your strategy as a collection of some of the most experience and gifted Labour MPs in the UK to sort it? The election has given you a mandate.

Will you support an early reading of the NHS Reinstatement Bill?

Will you form a South Yorkshire Labour “powerhouse” and face down Hunt and his cronies, exposing his lies and the subsequent wreckage of the great 1945 Labour government’s finest achievement?

Will you use this opportunity to bring down this iniquitous Tory government?

If not, then, as the little girl asked God: “What do you do all day?”

John Carlisle


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