Health Campaigns Together: December Newsletter

Campaigns NHS

Dear HCT affiliates,

Please find below our December newsletter. We at HCT wish you all a hearty seasons greetings and look forward to a prosperous new year.

Make our NHS Safe for All Campaign
Safety in the NHS in terms of safe staffing and provision is a key talking point in our campaigning, especially going into winter where services are stretched to the limit and dangerous situations can often arise. Health Campaigns Together are very interested in collating data around safety in our NHS and we need your help to kick-start our campaign. If you have any information around an NHS safety concern in any area then please email in confidence to John Lister – a new and dedicated email set up for this purpose. You can also get more closely involved by signing up to support us and help develop the proposed charter for safer services.
Winter crisis
Sadly, a winter crisis in our NHS has almost become normalised now. We in HCT are all aware of the now seemingly perpetual winter the service suffers, but we must make sure that we keep the plight of the NHS in the news at both a local and national level. Please keep up the excellent work you are all doing in drawing the public’s attention to the conditions in the service over winter. Knowledge is power and if the public aren’t aware, they cannot challenge local representatives. The results from FOIs for OPEL (Operational Pressures Escalation Level) reports are always a good way into the local press in this area.
Social Care Conference
We are delighted to report that thanks to all of you our regional social care conference on 17th of November was a great success with over 100 attendees. There was some very productive networking, and commitment made for future groups and projects, including some important issues raised by disability campaigners. These regional conferences are a great way to feed ideas in from all around the country where we can all make a difference.
HCT help with launch: People’s Assembly “Britain is Broken” national campaign
Last week, friends of HCT the People’s Assembly Against Austerity invited HCT to speak about the NHS crisis as part of a nationwide campaign to highlight the devastating effects of austerity across the country. Our secretary, doctor Aislinn Macklin-Doherty chaired and introduced a dynamic and powerful range of speakers from Unite trade union activists on strike for better pay in the catering industry, to Richard Burgon Labour MP for Leeds. This was an exciting launch to what will be an important campaign to make the voices heard of those hardest hit by austerity. There are other events planned.
Warwick University debate
On 27th of November HCT officer and editor of our paper, John Lister took part in a debate at Warwick University with the Wolverhampton trust CEO. It was a lively and informative event with a lot of agreement on safety and staffing levels. The Institute of Economic Affairs’ Kate Andrews was due to attend but unfortunately withdrew at the last moment citing Westminster business. This is a shame as it would have provided a valuable opportunity to challenge her over her organisation’s pro-privatisation interests.
Google is gobbling up millions of NHS patient’s data
For several years giant tech companies from silicon valley have been making moves to access the wealth of information locked in the NHS. In the last fortnight we heard that finally Google seem to have crowbarred their way in via a subsidiary company they own called DeepMind who had made an agreement with The Royal Free NHS Trust (amongst others) to gain access to 1.6 MILLION patient’s records. With no public scrutiny.
Shockingly in July of this year the Independent Commissioner’s Office ruled that The Royal Free and DeepMind had acted outside the law in sharing this data and importantly, DeepMind PROMISED no other body would have access to patient’s data. But this seems to have been totally dropped when Google announced it had taken over DeepMind’s data. Most shockingly of all this has not made any waves in news headlines and HCT believe this is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed.
For more detailed info please read this report, evidence that good investigative journalists do still exist!
If you are a Royal Free patient or someone who wants to get involved personally with this campaign, please email Aislinn directly at
HCT January issue
For inclusion in the January issue of our paper please submit copy and photos to John Lister by Friday 21st December at ‘FAO The Editor’ in subject heading.
Dr Youssef El-Gingihy updated book launched this week
Dr Youssef El-Gingihy is a Tower Hamlets GP at the Bromley by Bow Centre. Many will be familiar with his book How to Dismantle the NHS in 10 Easy Steps which tells the story of how the NHS is being sold off. The new edition contains extra chapters on the junior doctors’ strike and the introduction of US style healthcare models of accountable/integrated care. It also has a coda on how we can save the NHS.
Student groups
Can we ask all affiliated groups to reach out to their local student organisations in order to better facilitate working with younger people and encourage the next generation of health campaigners and activists? We are very lucky to have a wealth of talent across the British Isles involved in Health Campaigns Together but we need to further strengthen our networks with other demographics in order to assure our future and gain new ideas. Why not find out your local FE and HE student union/relevant student societies and invite yourselves as a speaker? Your suggestion could be just what they are waiting for.
Trade Union Delegates needed
Please can our HCT affiliates from trade union branches and trades councils make sure you have chosen your delegate and remember to send them to the HCT affiliates’ meetings? Representation is so important in facilitating good discourse.
Interserve Group

Note that yet another multinational private provider involved in massive public sector contracts is in deep trouble. Watch how this unfolds over the coming weeks!


HCT and Keep Our NHS Public websites

Please don’t forget to regularly log in to both our major campaigning websites for new content and information. A lot more news is covered in detail here. News
Save Our Services in Surrey
If you are in or around the Surrey area on Saturday 15th of December then please consider joining health workers and others at the march and rally for public safety, and against austerity. Junior doctor and NHS activist Sonia Adesara will be speaking. Assemble at 11am outside Woking borough council offices, marching to the town square. This will be a peaceful, family-oriented event. The march will centre around the mainly pedestrian areas to Jubilee Square for the speeches. Bring home-made banners and placards and be ready to make some noise.
Join Save Our Services in Surrey:
@sos_surrey (Twitter)
South Tyneside Hospital
Monday 17th of December 12-1pm (Harton Lane entrance), South Shields NE34 0PL A Judicial Review challenging Phase 1 of the downgrading and closure of vital acute health services in South Tyneside will take place at the Administrative Court in Leeds over 3 days from Tuesday 18th to Thursday 20th of December 2018. The day before the court case begins there will be a protest vigil at the Harton Lane entrance to South Tyneside Hospital to remind people of the fight and the ongoing service restructuring that is paving the way for increased privatisation here and throughout England.
Success in Nottingham!
Nottingham City Council has pulled out of the Notts Integrated Care System stating there has been a poor degree of information sharing and involvement. This is a impressive victory from our colleagues at Nottingham Keep Our NHS Public who are doing great work. This victory is in no small part due to their local efforts in lobbying and raising awareness around the subject, and from their contact with Cllrs on the Health Scrutiny Cttee & Health & Wellbeing Board. Richard Buckwell (Chair of Nottingham KONP) said:
“We believe it will have a significant effect on progressing the ICS locally & is an excellent message to other authorities as the Greater Nottingham STP was often seen as a lead area on progressing STPs which have now morphed into ICSs.”
Dates for your diary
Our next HCT affiliates meeting is on Saturday 2nd February at Unite the Union, 128 Theobald’s Rd, London WC1X 8TN
Next year’s AGM is on Saturday 6th of April
Kind regards,
The Health Campaigns Together team

Health Campaigns Together