400,000 sign petition to save NHS





“When we tell him his plans aren’t working, he doesn’t seem to want to hear what we’re saying.”                                                                                                                                                                                 Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chair of the British Medical Association, May 2011


But using modern IT, patients might just be able to get Andrew Lansley to listen to sense.

Today, the power of the Internet, and clever people ‘using’ it, it is a force to be reckoned with.

Latest petition, set up by 38 Degrees (who have proven they know how to ‘work’ petitions) now has an up-date for you to sign.

Sky News says “I can reveal that the Tory wobble is the result of a lobbying campaign by a pressure group called 38 Degrees, which has launched an internet petition which already has more than 252,000 signatures.”

As 38 Degrees say, “that’s us! Now we need to decide what we should do next to save the NHS. Please answer a few quick questions here:


Was Lansley’s Consultation really about ‘Listening’?

Andrew Lansley’s “listening exercise” has been carefully stage-managed. Most events have been closed to the public. In Sheffield last Friday, 38 Degrees members handing in their massive petition discovered that a “listening exercise” event had been held nearby hours earlier – but was kept secret until it was over.

That’s not the only reason it’s a sham. Behind the scenes, health officials have been told to carry on with Lansley’s original plans, and when one phones the Dept. Health it is obvious they are very, very unhappy bunnies.

The next two weeks are critical.

  • To get as many signatures as possible
  • To tell your MP your views
  • And if you have the funds, help 38 Degrees place adverts to stop Andrew Lansley using this listening exercise as cover for pushing through his plan.

Do we want private providers in NHS?

I am a very grateful user of private insurance, but also realise that private insurance companies have been held to ransome by NHS, and are now starting to invoke clauses and won’t pay for some procedures.  e.g. in Italian a DXA scan for osteoporosis is £40 in beautifully-appointed hospital.  In London my insurers are charged £120for a scan in a scruffy unit.

I am NOT against private companies being asked to supply services to the NHS provided that the service they provide is of good standard and good value for money (and better than much of that supplied today).   This is what happens in Europe, and as Lord Darzi said, French people pay the same on average for their healthcare as we do.

But we don’t want any more of the fiasco that is PFI, nor do I want more dubious private companies supplying services to my local Foundation hospital, that has left it with half of the main emergency exit blocked off for months, approx. one third of lifts out of order at any one time, telephone system that constantly puts callers through to wrong department, etc. and when our resident’s association writes for an explanation to CEO, never get a reply.

Amongst the questions are these, which I consider, in my little way, to cover what worries me about La La Lansley’s plans.

What survey states:

  • Don’t force the NHS to promote competition between private health companies: rule out price competition and promote co-operation and quality of care instead
  • Don’t allow private companies to “cherry pick” healthcare contracts in a way which could undermine local hospitals: put NHS services and hospitals first
  • Don’t take big decisions about health spending without experts and patients being involved as well as GPs
  • (the number of times I have seen private companies pull the wool over NHS’ eyes … simply because a Foundation Hospital Board hasn’t a clue about business)
  • Don’t allow big decisions about health spending be taken behind closed doors and without democratic scrutiny
  • Don’t force any big changes without testing them properly first – trial any changes in one area for several years first, then give parliament a fresh vote
  • Don’t remove the goverment’s “duty” to provide a comprehensive health service: keep that duty in law. €

We need to do two BIG things in next two months, whilst Cabinet is ‘consulting’ about the NHS:

1- Persuade our local MPs that the voters want a real rethink of NHS plans
2- Persuade Cameron and Clegg that it will ruin their reputation to push Lansley’s plans through

What are the best ways to do this?

  • Local events?
  • Newspaper ads?
  • Visit MPs?
  • Get more local health care experts involved? Something else?  Each has its merits, but what will make it happen is constantly DOING something.  Don’t let politicians ignore what patients want.

As 38 Degrees is proving, we can do this! By working together they planned the Save Our Forests campaign.

Now help them plan the campaign to protect the NHS, and sign:

Next time a politician says they are ‘passionate about the NHS’ – I bet they are.  But the treatment a politician will receive from the NHS, surrounded by their accolites, officials, etc. and rushed through because of ‘security’, with access to best care and top Consultants, is very different from the average patient’s treatment.

Want to help more?

38 Degrees is asking for “£30,000 will get us ads in the Times, the Mail and the Guardian next week. Please help sound the alarm by making a secure donation now: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/lansley-isnt-listening

Last week, the Royal College of GPs said they could “unravel” the NHS. And on Sunday, The Observer revealed that one of Lansley’s top advisers told private health companies to expect big profits when the NHS moves to a US-style “insurance system”.

We can’t let that happen. We all rely on the NHS sooner or later, to take care of us and our loved ones. It’s not perfect, but that’s no excuse for ignoring the advice of the real experts and pushing through these huge, untested changes. To stop these plans, 38 Degrees members are contacting and meeting MPs up and down the country.


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