Save the NHS

Cameron makes concessions to critics of NHS bill

Video - "Andrew Lansley Rap"

Video of live performance "The Death of the NHS"

Staff at Sheffield and Newcastle blood testing centres ask board to stop closures

Dementia care needs ignored in Health Reform Bill

Unite - Shirley Williams is best hope to lead LibDem revolt against NHS reforms

Daily Mirror report on Unite campaign to stop privatisation of blood service

Why patients, nurses and doctors are protesting outside Barts hospital and in the City

30 cancer charities attack Cameron's Welfare Reform Bill

HLC Chair - "Cuts will mean the end of the welfare state as we know it"

Save our NHS

Another online petition to keep the NHS public. Please forward to anyone who cares about the future of health services in the UK

50,000 was an underestimate - More detaIs from the Guardian on likely NHS cuts

The Guardian has analysed the data acquired by False Economy from the health trusts under the Freedom of Information Act. The Guardian report shows in more detail where the cuts are likely to take place.

On a broader scale, we should be worried by a calculation from the Labour party that shows that it would actually be becessary to cut 137,000 jobs from the NHS to make the £20 billion saving that the coalition plans by 2014.

24th February 2011

NHS managers block operations to save money

Harrow Primary Care Trust stops operations to save money

Channel 4 - Over 6,000 jobs to go in mental health care

Daily Telegraph - True extent of NHS cuts revealed

The Daily Telegraph reports that using the Freedom of Information Act, TUC group the False Economy learned that over 53,000 NHS posts are due to close. This information makes a mockery of David Cameron's election pledges that there would be no top down changes to the NHS and that front line jobs would not be shed.

Labour says reforms will break up NHS

Tory donor wins £53 million contract to run prison hospitals. Is the NHS next?

The Daily Mirror reports that Care UK Ltd. has won a £53 million contract to provide health services to 5,000 prisoners in 8 jails in North East England. We would like to believe that the award of this contract was not in any way connected to the fact that Care UK's boss, John Nash and his wife Caroline have donated £200,000 to the Tory Party and £21,000 to the private office of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. (We'd like to believe it, but we don't! - Ed))

More worryingly, many of the companies who are expected to take over management of the NHS budget if the coalition's reforms go through have also spend huge sums either directly or indirectly in an attempt to take control of the billions we pay in National Insurance. 

One thing that the public has become far more keenly aware of as a result of the banks tax avoidance is that under Company Law - prided it complies with all relevant laws, every company is legally obliged to put its shareholders first. This has massive implications, since patients, the public and the government must take second place in the priorities in any privatised industry. This does not bode well for patient care in the future and we can predict that high profit parts of the NHS will see investment whilst low profit types of medical treatment will see cutbacks.

21st February 2011

Corporate vultures just want to get their hands on NHS budget

As more details come out, it is becoming clear that David Cameron's plan for a total shake up of the NHS is not simply a matter of saving money. It's certainly not to give control of the NHS to the public. The truth is far more terrifying. Untold millions have been spent by major companies such as the pharmaceutical giants lobbying parliament to make these changes becuse, quite simply - they want to get their hands on the billions of pounds that we pay to the treasury through our National Insurance. Their goal is nothing short of the end of free health care - a world where everyone who wants treatment has to pay for medical insurance.

These massive companies employ literally hundreds of people to lobby on their behalf. Many of them are former politicians and civil servants who know exactly how to influence government policy. We must stop the destruction of our public NHS now!

Sign a petition to keep our NHS public and free

Watch a video about how the corporate giants get the government to do what they want

21st February 2011

A&E unit closures in NHS - More broken election promises from Cameron

An end to Bevan’s dream of free healthcare for all Britons?

Welsh Labour conference: Miliband attacks NHS changes

Unite issues press statement ahead of NHS bill presentation

Unite has given a press statement in which it details a number of questions that it would like to be asked by Labour MPs at the committee stage of the Health and Social Care Bill tomorrow (8th February). Whilst other unions such as Unison have large numbers of members in the health service, Unite is also well represented and nearly all of our nearly one and a half million members will have concerns about how the changes might affect their health care.

Unite press statement

7th February 2011

Local hospital likely to close after LibDem U-turn leaves their fate to "market forces"

Unite has condemned LibDems, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg for turning their backs on promises made before the election to protect hospitals. It now appears that as a result of the Health and Social Care Bill, which is currently being debated in parliament that fund managers such as BUPA may be allowed to let hospitals close without intervention from Westminster. The Bill passed its first reading in the House of Commons yesterday by 321 votes to 235, with not a single coalition member voting against it and only one abstaining.

John McDonnell MP, who met with the HLC 10 days ago alerted us to the strong possibility that the £20 billion of cuts in the NHS budget meant that one or more of the hospitals close to Heathrow might face closure. Hillingdon hospital is seen as being at particularly high risk of being a casualty of these cuts.

The health comminunity has made a number od sceptical comments about the benefits of the NHS shake up. To David Cameron's embarassment, his own brother in law, Dr. Carl Brookes has put it on record that he does not support the changes and that hospital care will be damaged.

 In fact, despite Cameron's claims that his reforms were largely supported, he was only able to name 5 bodies that were in favour, with at least 20 having stated opposition. Even the 5 organisations that were cited as being "broadly supportive" have expressed concerns about the changes. The link below is to the Daily Mirror's article on the topic.

Unite brands Vince Cable and Ed Davey "hypocrites" over NHS u-turn

1st February 2011

John McDonnell MP meets HLC to brief on government cuts. The end of the Welfare State?

Hayes and Harlington MP, John McDonnell visited the HLC today to brief Unite's trade unionists on the state of the government cuts. It would not be overstating matters to say that some of the newer reps were genuinely shocked at the scale of the coalitions cuts, the loss of services and the number of job losses that are likely to result. This week alone there have been massive attacks on public services. The following are just a few of the things that working people and unemployed shoud be worried about -

  • Localism Bill - Council housing to end in it's current form. Houses to be issued on 2 year lease to tennants who will then be means tested and evicted if found to be wealthy enough to afford public sector rents. Housing benefits to be cut below the average level of rents in Heathrow area.
  • Health Bill - £80 billion of funding to be moved from primary care trusts to GPs (in theory). However, as GPs not used to manging these sums of money, will probably be handled by a small number of private sector fund managers such as BUPA. These are likely to focus on cost reduction by job cuts, outsourcing and restructuring. £20 billion to be cut from health budget by 2014-2015. Hillingdon Hospital is feared to be under threat of closure with patients redirected to Northwick Park in Harrow or to Ealing.
  • Education - Education Maintenance Allowance that provides funds of £10 to £30 per week to low income families for 16 to 18 year olds to stay in education has been abolished. Funding for University tutors to be slashed leading to job losses and higher tuition fees. Estimated yearly cost of a student going to a local university (such as Brunel) to rise from £3,000 to £7,000.
  • Unemployment - Currently at 2.5 million. Public sector job losses of 500,000 to follow. Each public sector job loss can lead to up to 4 further job losses. Hillingdon council not releasing figures on job cuts, but one estimate is around 400 jobs to go. Under 25 year olds with very poor employment prospects - which they cannot improve except by building up massive debts by going to university.
  • Union rights - Government considering 2 systems of making it harder for workers to strike. First is insisting on 50% return on ballots for strike to be legal (most ballots have a turnout of below 50%) and secondly by making it illegal to strike in certain industrial sectors (such as transport). Proposals from business sector to make it harder to apply to an Employment Tribunal by making it a requirement that the employee has 2 years service and/or that employee has to pay a fee up front (which could be up to £500).

John McDonnell is one of the most active MPs in Westminster and has been an enormous help to the HLC since we were formed in 2007. His website can be found at

20th January 2011

Coalition breaks more election promises with cuts to Education and NHS

Following on from the Lib Dems breaking of their election promises to protect education and not to raise fees for students, the coalition has now voted to scrap the Education Maintenance Allowance - a funding system that was introduced to help children from low income families to continue in education beyond the age of 16. This can only have the effect of reducing social mobility, protecting the class system and keeping the divisions between rich and poor. Despite Labour's attempts and protests by teachers and students outside parliament today, the vote to abolish the fund succeeded by 56 votes.

On the issue of health - the coalition has published its Health and Social Care Bill, which would create the biggest change to the way the NHS is funded in England since it was founded. Prior to the election the Conservatives made a number of promises to protect the NHS and its funding in which it clearly indicated that there would not be a major restructuring. In fact, the coalition has demanded that the NHS save £20 billion by 2014-2015. Some estimates of the job losses that are likely to result from this shake up are in the region of 50,000 in the Greater London area alone. Groups representing unions, GPs and nurses are among those who have criticised the Bill and surgeons have indicated that lives will be lost from the pressure to cancel operations to cut down on costs. 

Read Unite's response to the NHS proposals below -

19th January 2011

Unite, Unison and GMB make joint New Year statement

Wednesday 29th December 2010


Landmark New Year message pledges UK's biggest three unions to mobilise in 2011

Working people in the UK can help stop the Conservative-led coalition from taking a wrecking ball to the fabric of daily life.

That is the New Year's message to some 3.5 million workers across both the public and private sectors from their unions,GMB, Unison and Unite, who say that the government's dangerous prescription of economic deflation and historically high cuts will not revive the economy but will instead bring it to its knees.

The landmark joint message sees the three unions - the biggest in the UK - pledge that in 2011 they will inspire and support resistance to the cuts across the UK. They also vow to make the Spring elections the first referendum on the government's austerity programme. For full text of the statement see pdf at foot of this release

Such is the level of concern about the real intent behind the cuts - recasting the state so that the private sector can sweep in, allied to the fear that harsh cuts will cause endemic inequality across society and plunge a new generation into unemployment - that the unions have vowed to work tirelessly together throughout 2011 to pursue a sound economic alternative.

The unions are furious that the government is using the cover of coalition and a whipped-up fear over the deficit to terrify people into acceptance of what is little more than the rolling back of social provision. Pointing to the mounting dissent among economic experts over the government's approach, they say there is no programme for growth but only polices which will lead to a devastating contraction in the UK economy at a time when the global economy is still exhibiting deeply worrying signs of recession.

The unions say it is high time that the truth was told about the government's reckless policies. January will see the three embark on a programme of promoting an economic alternative to their members urging them to get active in both opposing cuts and making their voices heard at the May election, the first chance for large parts of country to vote on the government's cuts programme.

Central to the unions' message will be the push for an economic policy based on:

· Growth - and a clear programme for job creation

· Investment to get the unemployed back to work

· Maintaining universal, quality public services - and safeguarding them from costly private providers

· A fair taxation policy, including closing tax avoidance loopholes and a transaction tax which will generate billions for the economy

· Abandonment of welfare upheaval which will plunge families and communities into poverty

· Regulation of the economy to restore trust and confidence

Paul Kenny General Secretary of GMB said:"The deficit is not Labour's deficit, it's the bankers' deficit. The Labour Government had to borrow to save the UKeconomy from collapse due to the irresponsible actions of the bankers, a policy supported by the Conservatives in opposition.

"The banks' actions in pouring billions of pounds into risky and complex investments came unstuck and left tax payers and elected governments with a mess to clear up. This cost the UK£850 billion, a recession where we lost 6% of national output, two and half million unemployed, pay freezes, inflation rising and where taxation revenues fell suddenly.

"Unions had warned of the dangers of under-regulated financial sector and the banks now need regulating so it doesn't happen again. This is also the view of Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England."

Dave Prentis General Secretary of UNISON said:"It's clear that the Government is ideologically driven to massacre public services and bring the misery of unemployment and poverty to millions. This is a recipe for social turmoil on a scale not seen since the 80's. A whole generation of young people betrayed, facing a bleak future.

"Local Government is particularly hard hit by the cuts. 70,000 jobs have gone in the last months of 2010 and hundreds of thousands more will follow in 2011. This spells disaster for local communities and for people who need those services. The Big Society spin won't pick up the pieces of broken Britain's lost jobs and dashed hopes.

"We need a Government that will keep Britainworking by investing in our economy, our services and our future."

Len McCluskey, General Secretary-designate of Unite said: "It is possible to pull the UKeconomy out of recession without the misery of mass unemployment. This government is ripping a huge hole in the economy by contracting spending and throwing one and a half million people on the dole. But where is the Plan B? Where will the new jobs come from? Certainly not from a private sector which is reeling from the global downturn.

"We know all too well how this government can swing the axe; what we need to see more of is can they actually step up to the job of creating employment. Strategic investments can reap rewards far beyond the original outlay - for instance, a £6bn investment in affordable social housing would build 100,000 new homes and create 750,000 new jobs in construction and the manufacturing supply chain. This makes more economic sense than paying people to sit on the dole.

"Economic activism means not sitting on your hands. It is the duty of our government to actively support job creation. Roll your sleeves up, support investment, unlock the capital funds held in the banks and start creating the jobs needed to replace the million or so you have destroyed."

The three unions will be taking the message about the truth about the deficit and the Conservative-led government's approach to its members in the coming weeks, focusing on:

A fair economy:
· Fair taxes must be part of any solution. Systematically, companies and rich individuals have been avoiding more and more tax which means government squeezes greater amounts from working people.

· End to indirect taxes like VAT which hit the low paid proportionally harder.
· Regulation of the banking system to bring transparency; Government to use its controlling stake in UK banks to stop job cuts, excess pay and bonuses

· A transaction tax on City dealings, including trade in stocks, shares, currencies and derivatives
· A just welfare state which does not force people further into poverty and social exclusion
Saving the NHS:
· The massive top-down £80 billion re-organisation of the NHS in England to break it into small local commissioning units tasked with employing private companies to find other private health providers to submit the cheapest bid for public health services.

· The down-grading of NICE will also see drug price rise and access to them severely curtailed.
· GP consortia will see the return of the postcode lottery.
· The scrapping of waiting lists will cause undoubted misery for countless people in need of treatment.
· These policies are all designed to ensure the private sector and overseas private health companies exert control over access to health services - however the service is still being funded by the UK taxpayer.

Good education for all:
· Free Schools and Academies in England will force schools to compete in a local market. In some areas, e.g. Wandsworth, they are prepared to spend tens of millions of pounds to promote this vision even when there are surplus places in some schools and existing schools in need of repair.

· The English student tuition fee hike to a maximum of £9,000 a year is not being introduced to deal with the current deficit, as it will bite after 2014 by which point the Chancellor claims the deficit will have been aid down, but to create a financial market place for colleges, courses and students.

· The end result will be students from wealthy families going to elite universities and, if not deterred by the debts, other students seeking out cheaper courses at cheaper colleges in cheaper locations. Social mobility will be thrown into reverse.

Economic activism
· Investment to put UK manufacturing at the forefront of economic development,
· Support to expand low carbon sustainable industries.
· Reversal of the decision to block a £80m loan to Sheffield Forgemasters.
· The urgent establishment of a Strategic Investment Fund, alongside the promised Green Investment Bank.
· Energy pricing policies which recognise the needs of industry.
· Public procurement processes to ensure maximum benefit for UK manufacturing.


For further information, please contact

Steve Pryle, GMB press office, on 07921 289 880

Anne Mitchell, Unison press office, on 07887 945307

Pauline Doyle, Unite press office, on 07976 832 861

Notes to Editors

Cuts are not the cure - Joint union statement for 2011

Save the NHS - Day of Action announced

The first day of direct protest action against David Cameron's complete overhaul and privvatisation of the NHS has been annouhced. Protestors will assemble on the 7th of March at Liverpool Street station in London for an event that will last betwwen 16.00 and 18.00. This is likely to be the first of many events across the country that doctors, nurses and concerned members of the public will take part in to ensure the future of health services in Britain.