Minutes of DWHC Meeting 19th July 2010
Gill George, Shirley Franklin, Ian Shacklock, Steve Cook, Rosemary McCartan, Jem Lindon, J.C., Barry Fineberg, Katy Gold
Jeremy Corbyn, Mick Gilgunn, Emma Dixon, Rich Moth
3. Mins of last Meeting
(5th July). 14 people attended last meeting. Main theme was cuts in Mental Health (with guest speaker Jackie Drury)
4. The dreaded White Paper
Guest speaker Gill George provided a summary of the implications of the new White Paper
Three main themes were (a) privatisation (b) cuts (c) less accountability.
Currently the NHS is the biggest employer in the UK and it is publicly accountable. In future it will become loosely regulated with virtually no direct employees. There will be no direct supply of healthcare, since provision will be fragmented and outsourced. £80 billion (80% of the budget) will be controlled by GPs. However, GPs will be far too busy with their mainstream work to be able to spent time scrutinising budgets and suppliers, so it is inevitable that they will resort to private companies such as United Health & KPMG, who will want to “help” them to spend their budgets. Currently there are 150 PCTs; these will cease to exist and will be replaced by 600 GP consortia. Existing health service providers will become trusts and they will be forced to buy their own premises at market rates. Some hospitals will go bust and it will be extremely difficult for them to compete with big businesses, especially in areas with high rents and land value. Andrew Lansley wants to cut costs by £20 billion by 2013/2014 and there will be massive redundancies. It is likely that the costs of reorganisation and redundancies will cancel out any cost savings.
A poignant example of the drawbacks of privatisation is the decline of collaboration. Currently it is quite normal for peers to share ideas between hospitals, etc; but this will be much less common once their peers are working for competitors.
At the end of her summary, Gill supplied some handouts.
5. Action Plans
There was general discussion about how we might fight back against these proposals. Gill suggested campaigns should be local and as broad as possible. Barry stressed the need to be focussed and had some ideas for mobilising communities.
6. Renewed threat to the Whittington
Shirley revealed that a stocktake was in progress, to review current services in NHS North Central London. The meeting was horrified by this news and Shirley agreed to write to Stephen Conroy to advise him of a public protest if no assurances can be given about the Whittington’s future. The meeting agreed a provisional date of 29th July for this event and discussed the contents of the imminent letter to Mr Conroy.
7. New Petition
There was discussion on a new petition and other leaflets. Shirley offered to get these printed in time for the weekend, ready for distribution to the public outside tube stations and in Holloway Road.