999 Call for the NHS speech at #CrashCallfortheNHS day of action in London

Steve Carne from national 999 Call for the NHS has just been speaking at the Crash Call for the NHS day of action at Shepherds Bush, London.

Here is what he said.

Hello. My name is Steven. As an NHS Consultant it is really fantastic to see so many NHS Stakeholders, partners and colleagues here today in a robust partnership, participating and engaging in this Crash Call for the NHS Community event.

As an NHS Campaign World Thought Leader I know how important it is to allow people to take part in discussing the design, structure, function and governance of the NHS Campaign World. This is the place to watch and take part and consider how the NHS Campaign World can truly realign the mindset of campaigners to be resilient, sustainable and effective.
(rip paper up, take top off)

Let’s start again. Hello my name is Steven and I’m from 999 Call for the NHS. If you listened to that first introduction and wondered what on earth is that fat bloke wobbling on about – that’s a good sign. If you listened to that first introduction and thought “that fat bloke is talking sense” – that’s a worry.

Because one of the biggest and scariest weapons right now that is being used against the NHS, the public and us as campaigners is the constant and growing misuse of community development buzzwords. You’ll all have come across them:

You’ll find these buzzwords all over the NHS England websites and I’m sure, as workers inside the NHS, you’ll be able to tell me many more from the documents being distributed at staff meetings and in memos handed down from top level management.

The trouble is NHS England, the government, the think tanks and the corporate lobbying groups that are waging war against the health service have cleverly combined these with corporate business related terms to give them some weight and make us feel like the NHS is in trusted hands, people who know what they are talking about –

realign the mindset of stakeholders…

This use of manipulative language, endless focus groups, petitions and surveys – they’re all designed to fool us all into thinking we are helping to save a struggling failing NHS in a difficult changing 21st Century world with many many challenges facing us. Caring compassionate language is thrown in to make us believe that NHS England, its Thought Leaders, its Community Champions, its Board of Directors actually give a toss about keeping the NHS alive for the people of this country.

Have I got news for you…

What this buzzword bingo is all about is hiding the fact that behind the blue square NHS Logo, behind that trusted blue logo that represents a health service that has led the world in public health, international medical research, that has been the envy of the world for seventy years – behind that blue logo now lies

the corruption,
the deceit,
the manipulation of self-serving politicians and huge corporate enterprises who frankly HATE the NHS.
The NHS that is a £100bn industry sitting at the heart of our nation and they HATE IT.

Because it’s not theirs and they are not in control of profit.

At 999 Call for the NHS we want to see hospitals that have been taken over by the privateers, we want to see private company logos displayed clearly so public and staff are fully aware of WHO is PROVIDING the NHS Service and WHO is cutting services and destroying staff morale.

Public and staff should be able to see NHS VIRGIN, NHS SERCO, NHS UNITED HEALTH, NHS CARE UK, NHS CAPITA, NHS OPTUM… the list goes on…

After all as Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer says on the NHS England website – talking about publication of data:

“The data is seen by hospital boards, commissioners and regulators. This move establishes the NHS as a global leader in openness and transparency and is a major breakthrough in the level of information we have about our local services.”

Well Jane Cummings – Chief Nursing Officer, Simon Stevens CEO and Sir Bruce Keogh – National Medical Director and the whole board of NHS England:

How about some REAL global leadership?
How about some REAL openness and transparency?
How about a REAL breakthrough in the information we have about our local services?
HOW ABOUT THE TRUTH? You want the NHS to fail. You want it Privatised!

When I joined 999 Call for the NHS in February last year I signed up to help a group of mums in Darlington march 300 miles from Jarrow to London. A Peoples March. None of us had any idea of the dark murky world of NHS Politics we were entering. But we have. And although it’s been tough, incredibly tough, we are here to stay.

And we know, without a shadow of doubt – The NHS, OUR NHS is, and has been for the last 20yrs, is being unstitched, ripped apart by greedy bankers, grabbing politicians and their corporate outsourcing consultancy advisors. It is being fragmented, restructured, redesigned with one aim – by 2020 the NHS will be an American style insurance based, profit driven Health Industry.


Campaigning is hard. We’ve learnt that. New campaign groups are popping up all the time claiming to be the answer, they are the ones who will finally win the day. But I want to say to all of us, every campaigner here today.

Don’t fall for what I call the Saviour Factor! The belief that you can lead the way, that you can shine the light of hope and transform the campaign world for all of us. It won’t work. All that does is split the campaign community. And we all now how much we need our community to be resilient, robust and sustainable!

One thing I am very proud of, working with 999 Call, is the privilege of meeting people from all over the country, from all walks of life who have been fighting this fight for years. They deserve our respect and admiration because these people have put their lives on hold to protect their services. And this determination is exactly what should inspire us.

This is from The Next Steps for Hartlepool Hospital.

“On a daily basis we hear ‘the NHS is in crisis’. This may be partially true, however it is not beyond repair. The communities in Hartlepool are outraged that ‘we’ have lost the hospital services we had, outraged that ‘we’ have lost staff to other trusts as there is no work for them here and outraged that ‘we’ have had so many instances of neglect, human error, and occasions of family suffering and dying because of these changes. We thank all NHS staff for their continued contributions to a fantastic public service and we urge you all to continue to work for this service. We can reassure you that we will always fight against further cuts, further changes and against any privatisation.”

And in Redditch the Save the Alex Campaign has been fighting since 2006! Neal Stote and his team are amazing. He says:

“In June 2012 We gathered 55,500 signatures on a petition against the closure of A&E and Maternity. The NHS “public consultation” was derisory – we spoke to more people in one evening at our local theatre than the Trust spoke to in three months of consultation. Our consultation cost about £500 and some volunteer time, their consultation cost over £1.5 million.

The closure decision was to have been made in about 6 months…3 years later, we have saved adult A&E, but it looks as if maternity and paediatrics are lost. Services are now disappearing on “safety grounds”. Gynaecology services were supposedly moved for one week while 2 doctors were on holiday, now it seems they are gone for 6 months.”

And one group that has become dear to my heart because they have been the biggest victims of scandalous political and media lies all the in the name of privatisation and restructuring of services for profit and personal gain. Stafford. Yes. Mention Stafford, Mid Staffs and the myth of vases, the media lies of 1200 deaths comes straight into the mind. Well this is from Jan one of the elderly campers who set up home on the hospital grounds for over a year.

“Centralisation of services is causing financial hardship to families, isolation for patients, longer journeys for high risk pregnant women, chronically ill children and Cancer patients, longer waits for vital appointments. The journey to Stoke from Stafford can take up to an hour and a half depending on traffic, M6 and A34 often blocked, Stafford gridlocked whenever there is an accident on the M6 which is regular, the all important Golden Hour is lost.

Elderly patients refuse to call for ambulances after 10pm for fear of being taken to Stoke, they don’t want to be alone in a place where visitors especially partners can’t get to. If patients without transport are discharged during the early hours a taxi can cost a weeks food money.”

It’s groups like these – like Charing X and Hammersmith, like Lewisham, like Morecambe, the team at Barts. We have to take inspiration from these brave souls. And we need to take action. Turn up and make a noise at CCG meetings. Ask questions about the Vanguard schemes. Demand answers from the Board of NHS England. Disrupt the procurement meetings. Show the public the logos of the private companies stealing our NHS.

We have to be brave. We need to be confident in each others’ support because the arrogance of the American Health firms, their arrogance is growing and they’re moving in with frightening speed.

We have to fight it with every morsel of our being and we have to believe that if a group of people and politicians with integrity in 1948, faced with a war-torn bankrupt nation, faced with a political system that was diametrically opposed to welfare of any sort, if Bevan and Attlee and Ellen Wilkinson could fight to create a Welfare State from the ruins of war then we, the people as a whole nation, we can save the NHS from the hands of a corrupt political system.

So for us at 999 Call for the NHS, the vocabulary we are using is very simple and it is full of hope. The one and only way to successfully save the NHS from the attack of privatisation is found in Three simple phrases. Public Management. Public Funding. Public Ownership.

We have to restore the NHS to a fully nationalised public service. If it is not a 100% Public Service then TTIP, the TransAtlantic Trade Investment Partnership and EU Trading Laws can attack it.

I’m going to test you know to see if you’ve been listening.
What sort of Management do we need?
What sort of Funding?
What sort of Ownership?

We have to understand that this is not an intellectual exercise, this is not a debate on the best way to run a health system. This is a fight. To save Our NHS, the institution that sets us apart from other nations, that provides our society with a sense of human decency, human respect and the ability to live in a society where people care for one another, not tear each other apart for profit.

I’ve learnt to ask people one simple thing.

“Look at your children, your grandchildren.What sort of country do you want them to grow up in? A world where your health is seen as a basic human right or a world where your health is seen as an opportunity for greed and profit”?

Because unless we stop them that is what the Tories want by 2020.

We are at the finale of thirty years of privatisation by stealth and in this last stage the Tories and their friends the fat cats of KPMG, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Ernst & Young, McKinsey, Deloitte they are out to destroy everything that our grandparents fought for.

And I think I can say this on behalf of all my 999 colleagues. If they want our NHS, it will be OVER MY DEAD BODY!

We know from nurses and doctors involved with us just how difficult it is for NHS Staff to speak out. So thank you for coming here to talk and hopefully find support amongst colleagues.

Remember. Public Management. Public funding. Public ownership. And returning the Duty to Provide fairly and squarely back into the hands of the Secretary of State!

This afternoon you’ll find like minded friends and colleagues and you can build your very own resilient, robust, efficient and sustainable NHS CHAMPIONS OF RESISTANCE!

Thank you!

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