Singing the NHS back into public hands in Leeds

Excellent response in Leeds on Friday night, thanks to everyone that came and joined in:
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If howling is more your thing than singing, we have a great howl coming up in Leeds on 23rd December,


Join us in December

  • TOMORROW – Sweep Privatisation out of the NHS,  11-1pm near Borough Market, Halifax.
  • Tues 1st Support our amazing Junior Doctors

    • Jubilee Wing, LGI 8.00 – 9.30 am, supporting the #juniordoctors strike. If you can also join at Jimmys, Seacroft, please get in touch
    • #meetthedrs 7.30am Oxford Place
  • Tues 1st – 7.30pm,  Cafe Economique, Seven Arts Centre – Superdoc John Puntis will give a talk: “If the NHS is sick , is privatisation the Cure?” (CE charge £4 entry)
  • Wed 2nd 6.30 – 8pm  O’ Neill’s pub side room, Great George St. General meeting and do bring your finest singing voices – ’tis an Irish pub after all
  • Sunday 13th  2pm outside Boots, Commercial St

Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts

  • Wed  16th  5.45pm Dortmund Square
It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour


  1. Harrogate Hospital are tendering for outpatient pharmacy. ( just as Leeds did recently) Tenders due in early December but still time to challenge the process.
  2. Sell off of Brotherton and the old part of LGI for housing and office development. We insist that it is all ploughed back into the NHS locally.
  3. Excellent regional meeting with good representation from NHS staff, yorkshire campaign groups and unions. We shared info and discussed  the junior doctors dispute, what is happening in Yorkshire re devolution , cuts and privatisation.

NHS local news roundup

Leeds Public Health slashed

Seven months into the financial year the Department of Health has revealed that all local authorities will have their public health allocation slashed by 6.2 per cent this year. Council bosses in Leeds, who claim the city’s public health budget is already £6million short of what it should be, asked that their lack of funds be taken into account during a four-week consultation earlier this year.

Coun Lisa Mulherin, executive member for health, has accused the Government of “not paying attention to anything that was said” in going ahead with a straight percentage cut she claims will impact Leeds more than other areas.
The Department of Health claims a standard cut “causes the least disruption to services”. Having been tasked with saving £2.8m worth of cuts before the end of the financial year, the council has earmarked £2.2m of savings in areas like smoking cessation, winter wellbeing services, oral health and healthy schools work. Coun Mulherin said: “We knew the Government has complete contempt for local government but this shows complete contempt for the public as well and flies in the face of their attempt to protect all health services.” She continued: “They are not protecting the NHS they are cutting it directly through us.”

The move means the council still has £600,000 to find, while fears the cut will be made recurrent have stopped them renewing the contract of HIV support service BHA Leeds Skyline.

Sign the Skyline petition

NB Sarah Calkin in The Local Govt. Chronicle 4.11.15 notes The announcement this afternoon comes almost five months after the chancellor first revealed plans for the £200m cut and two months after a consultation on how the cut should be applied closed. Of the 152 LA’s affected, 81% responded to the consultation . The 6.2% cut was the DH’s preferred option for applying the cut, as they argued it would be the “simplest and most transparent option to implement”. It was backed by just a quarter of respondents. The most popular option amongst local authority respondents was to take a greater proportion of cut from those areas that receive more than their target allocation.   A further 13 local authorities advocated an alternative approach of making a flat cut per head of population, arguing this would be fairer and that under the DH preferred option, areas with a high proportion of the population from a black or minority ethnic background would suffer a greater impact.

Leeds based Pharmacy2U scandal

Pharmacy hit with £130,000 fine for selling on patient data in Pulse 20.10.15
A major online pharmacist has been fined £130,000 by the information commissioner for selling on the data of more than 20,000 patients to secondary marketing companies, which is likely to have resulted in patients having ‘suffered financially’.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) today fined Pharmacy 2U for failing to inform customers of their intention to sell on their names and postal addresses through an online marketing list company, and for selling it without consent, in contravention of the Data Protection Act. While the company says medical details were not passed on, it has not been able to notify the customers affected because it ordered the ‘certified destruction’ of their names when the breaches came to light.

The companies who bought Pharmacy 2U customer data, include a health supplements company that has been cautioned for misleading advertising and unverified health claims. It also included an Australian lottery company under investigation by Trading Standards and which an ICO investigation said  ‘appeared to have deliberately targeted elderly and vulnerable individuals, and it is likely that some customers will have suffered financially as a result of their details being passed on’.
The breaches were partly identified as part of a Daily Mail investigation into list marketing companies targeting vulnerable individuals.

The company ‘sincerely apologised’ for the breach, and said that as soon as it was made aware of the breach it ‘stopped the trial selling of customer data and made sure that the information that had been passed on was securely destroyed’………
ICO deputy commissioner David Smith said: ‘Patient confidentiality is drummed into pharmacists. It is inconceivable that a business in this sector could believe these actions were acceptable.

Some time ago, we mentioned that there was an electronic link from the GP surgeries to Pharmacy2U and that could prove to be a problem. Well, it seems to be more imminent than we thought. I was reading the entrepreneur’s magazine “Growing Business” and what should I find, but an article about the company and the fact that “the founders (of Pharmacy2U) found themselves on the brink of dramatic expansion in a market worth £10bn”. (A copy of the article is available here). In this article, the founders state that they were chosen by the government to “lead a two year NHS pilot project to develop an electronic prescription system to monitor what is being prescribed and dispensed”.
They go on to say that at the moment they are connected to 250 surgeries but they are hoping to roll that out to the 6000 surgeries that they can link to directly, i.e. through the EMIS computer software.
As EMIS has a just below 20% stake in Pharmacy2U, you can see how the system will benefit both parties to the exclusion of all other community pharmacies. A GP simply has to ask a patient if they want their medicines delivered, and if they say yes, he will press a button on his EMIS computer and the script will be relayed automatically to Pharmacy2U.

If you want to avoid this happening in your area, you should sign your patients up to your collection service and warn your LPC and LAT of this danger that could wipe out the present community pharmacy network.The Company also offers GP consultations and some treatments.

Bootham Park Hospital: sudden closure leaves patients vulnerable by Nicola Slawson Guardian 1.10.15
Bootham Park hospital, part of the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, was ordered to close on Wednesday after an unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on 9 September found it was unfit for purpose and that patients were at “significant risk of harm” .

Rachael Maskell, MP for York central, is demanding an inquiry after CQC inspectors gave staff just five days to close Bootham Park Hospital following the inspection. “The risk to patients is very evident. I think what’s happened is a massive national scandal. It’s as political as much as clinical,” Maskell said. The situation, Maskell said, is a “complete mess”.

Bootham Park had been the subject of an earlier CQC inspection in January that called for significant improvements to the 18th century hospital building. Despite nine months passing, the mandated work, which included removing ligature points which represented a suicide risk, had not been undertaken. Part of the ceiling fell on inspectors during the inspection.
There has been widespread confusion and worry among the 400 outpatients served by Bootham – some of whom had appointments there on a daily basis – about where and when their next appointments will be. The jobs of the hospital’s 300 staff are also in jeopardy. Of the 30 inpatients who were in the emergency admission wards at Bootham at the time of the closure, eight were transferred 50 miles away to Middlesbrough and 15 patients were discharged to home treatment. Two were transferred to a recovery unit in York. With no provision for acute mental health care in York, patients will have to be taken out of the area for inpatient treatment.

Problems at Bootham Park were first highlighted in a CQC inspection which took place in December 2013. The report stated that it did not meet the standards for safety. Following this, a major investigation was launched after 74-year-old Sheila Jane Rusholme was found dead hanging in her room in the hospital. The trust later admitted a ligature point should have been removed earlier. Improvements were made that year, including the removal of several ligature points, at a total cost of £1.76m, but in January 2015 the CQC visited again and expressed concern about safety on some of the wards. “The question is what on earth has happened when serious risk to patients was raised in January and we are in September and this reparation hasn’t happened,” said Maskell.

Responsibility for both the hospital and the building is shared between commissioners, providers, regulators and infrastructure bodies. The building is owned by NHS property services but English Heritage also has a say in work carried out on the Grade I-listed building, meaning major redesign was not possible.“This is where the politics comes in ……. They’re all pointing the blame at each other,” said Maskell.

The situation at Bootham was further complicated after Vale of York clinical commissioning group (CCG) recently chose to transfer York’s mental health services from Leeds and York Partnership NHS Trust to Tees, Esk and Wear NHS Trust, which was due to take place on Thursday. The decision sparked a complaint to Monitor, the health sector regulator, and accusations of a conflict of interest. This argument was going on during the nine-month period when the safety improvements should have been taking place. Roy Lilley, a former NHS Trust chairman, believes the real problem is that none of the bodies involved are owning the problem. He said: “There is no-one, between the CQC, the CCG, the trusts, Monitor and PropCo, who come out of this with any credibility at all. “What it shows is that there is no strategic overview in the NHS anymore. Each of these organisations is autonomous, so no one can bang their heads together and make them do anything and in consequence, the loser is the public and users of the service. I think it’s a disgrace.” …..

Heated meeting examines what caused Bootham Park Hospital to close,  The Press York 20.10.15
A meeting of the Health and Adult Social Care Policy and Scrutiny Committee has tonight heard from the NHS organisations involved in the closure of Bootham Park Hospital. Senior managers said significant progress has been made since the closure of the hospital and plans are underway to provide an interim psychiatric unit in York – which could potentially be a 24 bed unit at Peppermill Court off Huntington Road – with the long term objective of opening a new, purpose built hospital in 2019.
The meeting was told the Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced inspection at the hospital in September after a series of further concerns about Bootham Park Hospital had been brought to their attention. Jenny Wilkes, of the CQC, said these included concerns about the “stench of dead rats under the building”, water leaks and concerns about staffing levels. When inspectors went into the building they found serious concerns including the heat of the water, which was hot enough to scald patients, that patients were not in clear lines of sight, the risk of hanging from ligature points and possible Legionella risks in the water supply. Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT), new provider Tees and Esk Wear Valleys Trust (TEWV), and NHS Property Services said it would have no objections to a formal inquiry, and councillors agreed this would be something they would consider. Leeds council bosses attack ‘sham’ consultation as £2.8million public health cut confirmed Jonathan Brown in the Yorkshire Evening Post writes:


Dr John Puntis at Leeds Medsin






Dr John Puntis of Leeds KONP, patiently explained the history of NHS privatisation and the ideologies driving it, to 60 medical and care students at Leeds Medsin.

The students are concerned about what they will face in the future and Dr Puntis didn’t hold back from painting a picture of how we could be back to the awful pre NHS era.

However he also cheered them all up the end, presenting ideas and leading discussion about what can be done. Each of the political parties are using the NHS again in their campaigns and the students could see how they can talk with politicians, presenting evidence based arguments.

A reply to Ed Miliband: from Calderdale

Hi Ed
I do want a government that is dedicated to the NHS, I work for it, I am proud of it, I am grateful to it. Would 2.5 billion be enough? I don’t know. Or because privatisation is ongoing, will it also just add more profit to private healthcare companies taking their share. I’m scared for the future of the NHS. Is it safer in your hands?

I am a member of the National Health Action Party, please listen to the many much more knowledgeable members than me and Save the NHS from privatisation.

We need to have a civilised society, that cares for vulnerable people, whether it’s for a day, a week, or for their whole life. 

Without abolishing privatisation, I fear we cannot have that society. And I find absolute trust in your party hard to come by, from past experience of the the three major parties. 

The NHS, I feel, is the springboard for a better future for me, for you and every citizen of the United Kingdom, not just in health and social care but also financially. I hear that the NHS has a fiscal muliplier of 1:8  Simples; take it back under the wing of the government, fight for it in TTIP negotiations, fight for it for itself. Result: a better future.

Convince me, that I should vote for you. 

On a happier note : I will never vote Conservative or UKIP.

My best regards

and p.s. It is already World Class.

Leeds says it’s our NHS and we will fight for it

Huge thanks to all unions, Alex Sobel, Cllrs Walshaw, Illingworth, Groves and others for their support and welcome for the #march4nhs marchers.

With raising publicity, receptions and walking the walk alongside many people who joined us including grannies and babies, they were all there.

We have had terrific support from several unions and the Trades Council in the organisation of the Leeds legs and the photos tell the tale.


The march4nhs is moving south, but there are many ways to be involved.

Sign the petition to tell your MP that the marketisation and privatisation of the NHS is totally unacceptable.

Press Release: Dr Jacky Davis, expert radiologist to speak on NHS march as it passes through Leeds on 22nd / 23rd August

This Saturday hundreds of campaigners departed from Jarrow intent on delivering a petition calling on the government to be more transparent about it’s plans for the NHS. The March is expected to arrive in Leeds on the 23rd of August as it follow the route of the original 1936 march from Jarrow to Parliament.

Doctor Jacky Davis, a consultant radiologist at Whittington Hospital since 1981 who was called as a witness by the House of Commons Health Committee enquiry into Top-up fees in the NHS in 2009, will speak at the rally taking place in Leeds to welcome the marches into the city. Dr Davis has written at length on the impact healthcare reform has had on the NHS, previously expressing a worry that the NHS will become a two tier system.

“We fear NHS services being reduced to a core of poor services for poor people, with those who can afford it topping up their personal health budgets with insurance or out-of-pocket payments and those who can’t afford it going without.


The problem we have come to realize is that we aren’t just fighting the Tory government; we are fighting the global medical industrial complex with all its power, influence and money. And its cozy relationship with today’s politicians.”

Doctor Davis recently co authored ‘NHS SOS: How the NHS Was Betrayed and How We Can Save It’ with Ray Tallis which was published in 2013.

#darlomums with NHS campaigning banners

The march comes from Harrogate on the 22nd August, arriving in Leeds around 5.30pm and leaves Leeds the following morning around 9.30am to march to Wakefield. A number of campaigners intend to complete the route in full from Jarrow to Parliament, with a planned arrival date of 6th September.