Out Now! HCT Newspaper no. 3

This THIRD issue of Health Campaigns Together is officially published today, free to download online, but also available as an 8-page full colour tabloid which can be purchased online to share with local campaigners and political and trade union activists.

Order copies online HERE.

This third issue features a centrespread on Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STPs) which are the new instrument to force through "efficiency savings", cuts and closures – plus articles on how people are fighting back, issues after the Brexit vote, the NHS Reinstatement Bill – and the fight to defend NHS bursaries.

Health Campaigns Together is organising a national conference on STPs, in Birmingham on September 17. More details BELOW and in the newspaper.

Watch this space for updates.

We need YOUR HELP in our efforts to maximise the unity and effectiveness of local campaigns and health unions fighting to defend our NHS against cuts and privatisation as it faces the biggest-ever threat to its future.

JOIN US, subscribe to the newspaper, join us in Birmingham on Sept 17, and help us build local conferences to tease out the implications of every STP plan and the best way to fight back in every one of the 44 "footprints".

National Conference -
Challenging the STPs

Birmingham, Saturday September 17

11-4pm Carrs Lane Conference Centre

(opposite Moor St Station)

Book online now

Since January NHS England has driven through a massive new reorganisation of the NHS. They have carved the country into 44 "footprints" in which commissioners, NHS Trusts and local authorities are required to collaborate on 5-year plans to generate massive savings.

On one level this could be seen as a step forward from the chaos and fragmentation of the competitive market imposed by the 2012 Health & Social Care Act: however the ever-tightening vice of the unprecedented spending squeeze on the NHS makes it unlikely that the collaboration will result in any enhancement of services.

Each Footprint has to submit a "Sustainability and Transformation Plan" (STP) to NHS England by the autumn and be ready to implement the changes quickly to balance the books: only plans which satisfy NHS England will ensure access to £1.8 billion of "transformation funding".

NHS England boss Simon Stevens has made clear he sees the reorganisation as a way to create "combined authorities" which pool their powers - making it possible to override any local "veto" that might prevent controversial cuts or closure of popular local hospitals and services. The little local influence and accountably there is in the NHS will be eliminated. The new system leaves no room for serious consultation before 5-year plans are drawn up behind closed doors and imposed on local communities.

The new system also lacks any legal basis. Stevens' plan simply sidelines the Clinical Commissioning Groups - but leaves them still obliged by the Health & Social Care Act to continue to carve up services into bite sized, fragmented chunks. Services are still being opened up to "any qualified provider" or put out to competitive tender. The whole fragmented, wasteful costly market system remains intact.

So what are the plans that local health bosses are hatching up in secret? How do these new structures work? Who is in charge, and how can campaigners and local communities make them accountable and prevent them cutting and centralising services and worsening access problems for patients needing care? With jobs and services at stake, how can unions collaborate with local campaigners and political parties to maximise the impact of their efforts?

Come and discuss at a conference that seeks to develop policy as a basis to strengthen and unite our efforts.

Open to all. LUNCH provided.
Registration £7.50/£5 in advance, £10/£7 on the door.

Share your thoughts and local plans:
email us at stpwatch@gmail.com

Announcing STP Watch

Health Campaigns Together is establishing STP Watch as a way of examining all 44 NHS Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) in England, and their potential impact on local access to health care, quality of services, and NHS staff. From this we can help build local and wider resistance and campaigning responses that link up campaigners with health unions.

Contact email

STPs - responding to the challenge
Saturday September 17, Birmingham

Read more here

Defend NHS Bursaries

Visit the Facebook page

More details here

Save Chorley A&E

Read more on this, and the fight across England against local cuts and closures as the financial squeeze is tightened on the NHS


Support junior doctors fighting imposition of unsafe, unfair contract


The Junior Doctors and the BMA have agreed a settlement of the dispute over the unsafe, unfair contract being imposed by Jeremy Hunt.

The formula will go to a referendum of BMA junior doctors, but further industrial action is suspended until then.

The agreement is available at http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5737

Defending the NHS conference

Saturday 30 January 2016, London Welsh Centre

For those who missed this successful conference, and for those who enjoyed it and want to remember what was said, click here to read what the key platform speakers said.

Health Campaigns Together

Health Campaigns Together is not just another health campaign.

It is an initiative to enable many of the campaigns that have been formed to liaise together, share experiences and lessons, and where possible work together on issues of common concern.

Our aim is not to recruit individuals, who are encouraged to join one of our supporting campaigns, or other local campaigns and get them to link up with us. So you cannot join HCT as an individual (although donations from individuals who support our objective are very welcome).

We also welcome affiliation from trade union branches (NHS and non-NHS), and political parties opposed to NHS cuts and privatisation.

Individuals who want to help are welcome to send us donations to take forward the work, but are also encouraged join one or more of the many NHS campaigns, a growing number of which are represented on HCT.

On each side of this page we have links to those who have expressed an interest so far, and welcome links to other campaigns who wish to work with us.

Contact us at healthcampaignstogether@gmail.com

Junior Doctors

Health Campaigns Together supports junior doctors in their fight against the imposition of an unfair and unsafe new contract by Jeremy Hunt - a contract that would be a prelude to a major attack on the terms and conditions of all 1 million NHS staff covered by the Agenda for Change pay agreement.

The BMA case is set out on their Junior Doctors page.

Further information:
Veteran campaigner for the NHS Harry Leslie Smith joined Dr David Wrigley (at the back) and junior doctors campaigning in Lancashire on March 9

Copyright © 2016 Health Campaigns Together