This is a urgent petition to prevent competition regulations irreversibly privatising the NHS. Please could you sign it and pass it on?
PLEASE ACT NOW TO SAVE THE NHS!
Right now, the government is trying to sneak through secondary legislation (under Section 75 of the Health & Social Care Act) to force virtually every part of the NHS to be opened up to *compulsory* competitive markets, open to the private sector. We have just over a month to stop them, and we need to start straight away.
These regulations (SI 257) are likely to be the final straw for many of our NHS hospitals and clinics, already damaged by too much costly marketisation and cuts.
Parliament does not normally even debate or vote on this type of regulation - but it is possible. Even those Lib Dems who supported the Health & Social Care Act should be very concerned as the regulations break the reassurances offered to parliament and to the local Clinical Commissioning Groups, that the Act allowed local choice about when to use competition. For example Andrew Lansley promised doctors that "commissioners, not the Secretary of State and not regulators – should decide when and how competition should be used to serve... patients interests" (see briefing for other examples of the promises that were made). But these new regulations do not allow local freedom to decide when to use competition, at all.
Campaigners may also have heard of the successful Gloucestershire campaign which overturned privatisation of nine hospitals, instead keeping them in the NHS without tendering (in October 2012 - ie, even after the Act). The barrister in that case, David Lock QC, has told me that this option will no longer be possible for anyone else, if these regulations go through.
These regulations were laid down on 13th February and will become law on 1 April unless all MPs who care about the NHS first insist on a debate and vote, and then vote them down. Over the next few days the political parties are going to be considering their next moves.
Please take time now to
a) sign this petition to call for a full debate, vote and defeat
b) urgently email your local MP to ask them to ensure these regulations are debated, voted on and defeated in parliament. Send them the Keep Our NHS Public briefing, attached (or at this link: http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Section%2075%20parliamentary%20briefing%20Feb%202013_0.pdf) & use the bullet points in the briefing to help you explain to your MP why you are so concerned. You can use www.theyworkforyou.com if you don't have your MP's email address.
c) ask others to do the same! please spread this message widely to friends, colleagues, any groups you are in, and write to the newspapers using the points in the attached briefing, along with your own experience.
d) you could also email the clerk of the house of lords committee on statutory instruments which will be examining the regulations shortly, raising concerns about the implications of these regulations and asking them to recommend they get a full debate in the Lords. Their email address is email@example.com. I will let you know when I know more about the way the Commons committees operate.
e) you can also read more background here
http://www.hsj.co.uk/news/policy/government-tendering-rules-will-lead-to-big-shake-up-in-services-lawyers-warn/5055338.article?blocktitle=Latest-News&contentID=7827 (subscriber only)
Save Our Services in Surrey (SOSiS) held our AGM on Saturday 23 Feb.
This was a serious and reflective meeting even though many members and trade unions were unable to attend.
We heard speeches from Paul Couchman (Unison and SOSiS Secretary), Chris Burns-Cox (Keep Our NHS Public) and Kevin O'Brien (Unison, Epsom and St Helier Hospitals).
We agreed that the fight to defend health services from cuts, closures and privatisation would be the priority over the next few months - with 100 jobs set to go at Royal Surrey hospital and threatened closures across South West London and Epsom and St Heliers.
SOSiS will continue to support any local campaigns in defence of public services.
We also agreed to campaign within our respective unions for general strike action against austerity and cuts.
Paul Couchman (Unison) was re-elected as Secretary.
Thelma Snelgrove (PCS) was re-elected as Treasurer.
No other posts were elected. The Steering Committee would remain an open body with a chair to be elected for each meeting.
Kingston Keep Our NHS Public action meeting
7pm Monday 25th February @ JG1001, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, Kingston KT1 2EE.
The Better Services Better Value cuts body is in retreat this week as public pressure grows against the planned closure of A&E, maternity and children's services in South West London's hospitals. It has delayed its recommendations for which hospitals should lose their departments until late March, at the earliest.
Some 1000 people have attended meetings in SW London over the past couple of weeks to oppose the BSBV cuts and closures. In Kingston, over 200 marched against the health cuts. And a few days ago, Sutton parents delivered over 7000 signatures to the BSBV office, demanding the scrapping of the cuts proposals. They delay is a victory for everyone who has attended these angry meetings and protests.
A movement against NHS cuts and closures is emerging in South West London. We need to get organised now to make sure that we break the back of the cuts review, and ensure that their ddisastrous recommendations for A&E and maternity closures at our hospitals are never published. Make sure that you come to the Kingston KONP action meeting to plan our next steps in the campaign to save our hospitals!
Kingston Keep Our NHS Public.
Please remember to put this Saturday 23rd February 2-4pm in your diary.
Save Our Services AGM and Public Meeting
at the HG Wells Centre in Woking.
Paul Couchman - Surrey County Council Trade Unions
Chris Burns-Cox (Consultant) - Keep Our NHS Public
Kevin O'Brien - UNISON at Epsom & St.Helier
See sosis.org.uk events page for more details.
SERTUC Public Services Committee & International Committee conference "Resisting Austerity in Europe and the UK" Saturday 16 March
first session: International crisis, international resistance with CGT Portugal, Marina Prentoulis/Andrew Burgin Greece, Paul Murphy MEP Ireland
second session: Austerity in Britain with John McInally PCS, Rachel Newton People's Charter, Duncan Weldon TUC, Sarah Veale TUC, Owen Jones journalist
third session: How trade unions can fight austerity with Matt Wrack FBU, Joe Simpson POA, Max Hyde NUT, Paul Moffatt CWU, Unison, Unite, UK UnCut
By Paul Couchman
Branch Secretary, Surrey County UNISON (in a personal capacity)
Calls for a general strike of all workers came thick and fast at Saturday's AGM of the UNISON SE Region. Resolutions calling for coordinated 24 hour general strike action came in from Surrey and Portsmouth local government branches and from Bucks Health branch. Only one person spoke against the motions with speaker after speaker pushing for UNISON's leadership to take the lead within the TUC.
In moving the Surrey motion, I argued the need for our union to give a lead to the millions of working class people already struggling in Britain. Food banks are appearing in Surrey County Council offices for the first time in living memory. I also said that the trade union movement needs a general strike to remind the government we exist and that workers hold the real power in society.
Delegates from social workers to admin workers to health workers all spoke of a growing mood of anger and determination amongst UNISON members and the support that could be built across the whole union for a general strike. James Morbin from Oxford Health explained how the tragedies and scandals now unfolding in the NHS are a direct result of the Con Dem government's privatisation and austerity programme. Jane Armitage from Surrey County reminded delegates how many new members joined UNISON when we took coordinated strike action on pensions.
All three motions were passed overwhelmingly by the 100+ delegates present and the meeting agreed to send them as a combined motion to the UNISON national conference in June. Many delegates made it clear that we don't want to wait till June for our national leaders to step up to the mark but agreed that the motion should go to conference just in case we are still waiting.
For more information about the demonstration on 16th February in Kingston to defend our NHS go to:
Public Meeting Organised by Keep Our NHS Public in Kingston. This Monday 4th February at 7pm at Kingston University, Penrhyn Road. See our KONHSP link on links page or go to
This is where we will try to publish anti-cuts news we receive