What the NHS 10 year plan means for Leeds – Dr John Puntis

Stephen Hammond MP (Minister of State for Health) writing recently from his Wimbledon constituency to the good people of Leeds


claimed: ‘The NHS Long Term Plan’ “will preserve the nation’s most prized asset”.

The ‘plan’ aims to keep people well and identify illness earlier, and is an amazing uncosted wish list of wonderful things that could be done if only the government could be persuaded to give the NHS enough money and staff:

  • community health crisis response services to swing into action within two hours of referral? – no problem sir;
  • home-based and wearable monitoring equipment to predict and prevent events that would otherwise have led to a hospital admission? – of course madam;
  • assessment and treatment of frail elderly patients by multidisciplinary teams delivering comprehensive geriatric assessment in A&E and acute receiving units? – definitely, every hospital medical and surgical department will have them.
  • One in three women experience urinary incontinence after childbirth – fine, we will have multidisciplinary pelvic health clinics across England, etc., etc.

The current reality, however, is that/ two thirds of acute Trusts are in the red, compared with 5% in 2010. Cancer waiting times are the worst on record, huge problems exist in A&E, and the average wait for a GP appointment is up 30% to two weeks.

This is all because of chronic underfunding. Until eight years ago, the NHS budget annual increase was 4% to meet rising demand, before being savagely cut to 1%. The Office for Public Responsibility estimates a 4.3% increase in spending is needed. The amount of extra funding which is supposed to pay for implementation of the ‘plan’ is a meagre £20.5 bn. It does not make up for the accumulated financial deficit, and increases the overall budget by only 3.4% – and not until 2023/4!

The ‘plan’ also sets out intentions to implement a top down reorganisation, with 44 ‘Integrated Care Systems’, lacking in public accountability (i.e. everything about you decided without you) and unprotected from takeover by the private sector.

Forced mergers of GP practices will cover populations of 30-50,000, causing accessibility problems for many. Whereas most of the 60+ uncosted commitments in the ‘plan’ to improve services would be very welcome, they are completely unrealistic given the funding offered.

An obsession with non-evidence based digital solutions, lack of a workforce plan to tackle the current 100,000 vacancies, absence of information on how much capital will be available for new projects, and ignoring the crisis in social care (“when agreeing the NHS funding settlement the government therefore committed to ensure that adult social care funding is such that it does not impose an additional pressure on the NHS over the coming five years” – so that’s alright then!) all spell further misery for patients. £20.5 bn may help keep the lights on, but this ‘plan’ is in reality a recipe not for the preservation but for the destruction of our most prized asset.

The lack of detail on manpower despite many trumpeted innovations that clearly would need more staff is astonishing. Perhaps they see unpaid volunteers as the solution, since £2.3 million is being committed to the Helpforce programme?

Helpforce is a charity that aims to boost the 74 000 volunteers in the NHS to “millions”. It was set up by Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, educated at Eton and Oxford before becoming a barrister and investment banker (giving him his soubriquet – ‘Thomas Huge-Wallet ‘). Apparently Sir Tom can often be seen waiting for a GP appointment or queuing in A&E. Billed by the Daly Mail as “one of the UK’s top health experts” (surely some mishtake? – Ed.), his insightful pronouncements on the NHS include: “to keep it on the road it should – like a garage – charge for extras”.

‘Leeds Keep Our NHS Public’ invites the people of Yorkshire to join a demonstration demanding proper NHS funding at 11.30 on March 30th 2019, outside the art gallery in Leeds.

Find the NHS Plan at: http://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/publication/nhs-long-term-plan/, write to NHS England, PO Box 16738 | Redditch | B97 9PT, or email at
england.contactus@nhs.net to request a paper copy.


Leeds KONP Meeting notes 27/01/16

KONP have issued a press release opposing the proposed Royal Commission which looks set to discuss charging. G has signed a petition in Leeds KONP’s name calling on the LP not to get involved. No info from negotiations. Doctors continue to plan for withdrawal of all junior doc cover on Wed. 10.2

Consultation ends at the end of Feb. GPs also at end of their tether, concerned re sustainability of general practice and exploring whether they too can take industrial action.

If action goes ahead please support/ visit picket lines at hospitals 8am onwards

NHS Flashmob choir – great practice on 22nd. Hoping we can get everyone singing to round off future events and rallies.

Yorkshire March for NHS 16th April – coincides with official People’s Assembly National March. Regional Meeting agreed that we should stick with the date agreed despite clash with People’s Assembly march in London on same day. Agreed to call it Yorkshire March for the NHS. Prof Ray Tallis has agreed to speak.

Huddersfield / Calderdale A&E

Huddersfield A& E earmarked for closure. Halifax Royal to retain an A and E but lower grade. Here is latest on what’s happening in Calderdale and Huddersfield

What’s happening in Huddersfield and Halifax mirrors what has been happening in Dewsbury where the local hospital’s A &E is being replaced with a minor injuries unit and a midwife led maternity unit is to replace the consultant led unit with anything complicated being referred to Pinderfields, which is already feeling the pressure and diverting patients elsewhere.

NHS Reinstatement Bill

The private members Bill is due to get a second Hearing in Parliament on March 11th ( we hope!) with Caroline Lucas presenting. There will be a lobby/ demo outside Parliament that day and callout for support action round the country. Agreed we need to pursue labour support as Corbyn and McDonnell have supported the Bill but not much coming from them re the NHS of late and Heidi Alexander who recently met with NHS activists.

NEXT LEEDS KEEP OUR NHS PUBLIC MEETINGS : Wed Feb 10 and Wed Feb 24 6.30-8pm
in O’Neill’s pub ( side room on left) , Great George St. opposite the rear of the Town Hall.

Rebuild the NHS – 21st Sept Manchester – Labour Party conference lobby

Inspired by #march4nhs? We are and getting ready to visit all the parties.

First up is Labour. Come along to Manchester at 2.30pm on 21st September outside Manchester Central,

More details and transport: https://www.facebook.com/events/598141010307347/

There will also be fringe events and some of the #march4nhs 300 milers / #darlomums plan to be there

The resolution:

Conference notes NHS England’s 18 August announcement that all new GP contracts will be short-term APMS contracts. GP leaders have warned this marks the “death knell” of traditional life-long general practice, promoting corporate takeover of services.

Conference notes that last year £10bn from NHS spending went to “private providers” like Virgin and Care UK.

Conference notes that while PFI expenditure building hospitals was £12.2bn, the NHS is repaying £70.5bn.

Conference agrees with Andy Burnham that responding to NHS privatisation cannot wait until the election. We welcome Clive Efford’s private member’s bill if it reverses the worst privatisation.

Conference welcomes countrywide demonstrations in defence of the NHS, including the August-September Jarrow-London 999 march.

Conference supports the Living Wage campaign of Care UK workers in Doncaster, who since 29 July have taken five weeks strike action against wage cuts imposed by the private-equity firm which owns their employer. This situation shows the need for a public care system.

Conference commits to:
Repeal the Health and Social Care Act and “competition regulations” promoting marketisation/privatisation
Restore ministerial duty to provide comprehensive services
Reverse privatisation and outsourcing
Exclude healthcare from international “free trade” agreements
Rebuild a publicly-owned, publicly-accountable, publicly- (and adequately) funded NHS
End PFI and liberate the NHS from crushing PFI debts
Ensure any integration of health and social care is a public system
Ensure decent terms and conditions, including a Living Wage, for health and care staff
Reduce waiting times and implement health unions’ demand for a maximum patient-nurse ratio of 4:1.

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.

Press release: Leeds Council joins marchers ‘calling 999 for the NHS’

Councillor Lisa Mulherin proposed a  motion asking the council to support the founding principles and values of the NHS, and also called on the government to take the following immediate action:

  • Repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and bring commissioning back together under local Health and Wellbeing Boards
  • Re-establish the Secretary of State’s statutory duty to provide and secure a comprehensive health service.
  • Remove the infrastructure which imposes competition on the NHS and which leaves it open to threat from the free market.
  • Ensure that decision-making at all levels in the NHS is open and transparent and that patients and the public are involved in designing services for the future.

The motion passed with the full backing of all Labour and Green Councillors on the 2nd of July, roughly a month before thousands of campaigners will come together to recreate the historic 1936 March from Jarrow to Parliament. They plan to present a petition to MPs asking them to halt the dismantling and privatisation of the NHS. Marchers will leave Jarrow on the 16th of August and arrive outside Parliament on the 6th September, with campaigners passing through Leeds on the 22nd and 23rd of August.

Advocating for her Motion Councillor Mulherin said

“this government’s reforms put private profit ahead of patient care, tying the NHS up in competition law, paying lawyers instead of putting money into patient services – Despite damaging headlines of failures in different parts of the system in recent years, the nation is rightly proud of the NHS, a publicly funded health service that provides universal care free at the point of need”

“People want an accountable NHS where resources go into improving outcomes and patient experience, not into private profits”

Councillor Truswell also expressed worry over the growing role of the private sector in the NHS.

“Research shows that private providers have won 70% of tenders for NHS services since the Act took effect and some CCGs have even contracted out their contracting staff. It is no wonder that Dr Mark Porter, Chair of the British Medical Association, the GP body, recently warned of a bumper year for multinationals and market lunacy diverting money away from patient care into the cost of contracting out services.”

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 London.
Further pictures and comment available on request.

Contact: Joe Salmon, (Joesalmon1985@gmail.com) Mobile 07443 649879

Press release: Leeds citizens plan to join 300 mile historic march of 1936 to defend NHS against privatisation

People from around Leeds are coming together to organise for the upcoming march from Jarrow to Parliament which passes through Leeds on the 23rd of August in support of the NHS. Councillor for Moortown and Labour PPC for Leeds North West Alex Sobel said

“The Health and Social Care Act has opened the NHS up to competition from private providers, providers who are measurably less efficient.

This is why joining the March isn’t a choice for me it’s an obligation to everybody that needs the NHS now and in the future.”

Malcolm Morris, who has recently relied on the NHS for treatment said

“I have not been a regular beneficiary of the NHS myself but have always drawn comfort from knowing that by contributing to it through my taxes, I can help  provide for the well being of my peers across the length and breadth of our little group of nations, regardless of  their  condition or means.

To me the NHS stands for this nation standing up for each other at a time of need. A sharing of resources and a caring commitment to a better life for those in need at a crucial time. The creeping, underhand privatisation of the NHS is an imposed abrogation of a lifetime’s commitment for millions of people who didn’t ask for, vote for or need to change what has been fundamental to life in Britain for nearly seventy years. When I see the likes of Richard Branson who, along with other corporations have never taken an interest in the nation’s health generating profit for themselves is to debase a much loved institution.

I want to see the founding principles of the NHS restored and an end to corporate greed masquerading as greater efficiency.”

The Jarrow March of October 1936, took 207 men and their MP, Ellen Wilkinson on a march from Jarrow to London to present a petition to the Prime Minister demanding that something be done to end wide scale poverty and unemployment in the area. The people’s march for the NHS will take the exact route of the Jarrow Crusade and will present a similar petition.

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 London.

Anybody intested in taking part can contact should visit http://www.999callfornhs.org.uk. Organisers would love help spreading the word and help with with food, accommodation, art, music, transport on the day.

Contact Joe Salmon: Joesalmon1985@gmail.com

The People’s March for the NHS is coming down your street

Or near enough. If you are around on 22nd & 23rd August in Leeds, here’s the routes & approximate times. So what prompted a group of Mums from Darlington to decide to walk 300 miles from Jarrow to London?  Selling off our NHS, that’s what. Who’s going to save it ?

Harrogate – Leeds: Route, Map

Leeds – Wakefield: route, map