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Tuesday 23rd April 2019

Ontario health Coalition

  • Ontario: More than 150,000 hospital and health care staff and patient advocates to join in Action Day to warn against health care privatization

    Across Ontario in more than one hundred hospitals and health care facilities, staff and patient advocates are staging an “Health Action Day” today, Tuesday April 23.

    In an unprecedented show of unity, more than 150,000 health professionals and workers and tens of thousands of patient advocates will wear a sticker that says “Stop Health Privatization” and will distribute leaflets warning about the Ford government’s radical health care restructuring plans.

    The Ontario Health Coalition has vowed to fight to protect local health care services from cuts, privatization, and mergers.

    The province's right wing Conservative government led by Doug Ford, which was elected last year, has given itself unprecedented powers to order the privatization of virtually all health care services and leaked documents show that plans are underway to begin privatization of a range of health care services.

    They have rammed a radical health restructuring law through the Legislature in an unprecedented undemocratic process, refusing to hear from thousands who applied for hearings and sent in submissions.

    All amendments prohibiting privatization were voted down by the Conservatives.

    The new law gives Ontario's Minister of Health and the government’s appointees in the new “Super Agency” the ability to force privatization of services as well as to merge, transfer services from town to town and from provider to provider, and close down services including public hospitals, long-term care, home care, community care, mental health, primary care, palliative care, cancer care, eHealth, air ambulance, laboratories and others.

    In addition, the list of health care cuts under the Ford government is mounting:

    ●  Cut OHIP+ (Ontario Health Insurance Plan Plus) forcing families with sick children to pay deductibles and co-payments. (June 2018)

    ●  Cut planned mental health funding by more than $330 million. (July 2018)

    ●  Cancelled all new planned overdose prevention sites. (Autumn 2018)

    ●  Let surge funding for hospitals run out. Surge beds are now closed without replacement, despite overcrowding crisis [Ontario already has the lowest level of beds of any comparable OECD country].

    ●  Cut and restructured autism funding. (Winter 2018/19)

    ●  Set health care funding at less than the rate of inflation and population growth, let alone aging. This means service levels cannot keep up with population need and will force cuts/privatization. (2019 Budget)

    ●  Set public hospital funding at less than the rate of inflation alone. This means real dollar (inflation adjusted dollar) funding cuts and serious service cuts/privatization. (2019 Budget)

    ●  Cut provincial public health funding by 27% and cut public health units from 35 to 10. (2019 Budget)

    ●  Introduced Bill 74 which gives sweeping new powers to the Minister and Super Agency to force privatization and restructuring of the entire health system. (February/March 2019)

    ●  Plan to cut and restructure ambulance services, down from 59 to 10. (April 2019)

    ●  Plan to cut half a billion dollars in OHIP services. (April 2019)

    The Health Coalition is mobilizing for a massive Health Care rally outside the Ontario Legislature next week on Tuesday April 30 at noon.

    The rally is expected to draw thousands concerned about OHIP cuts, hospital cuts, privatization, mergers and centralization of health care services.

    Read more ...

Thursday 28th March 2019

Oxfordshire KONP

  • P.E.T. scanners at the Churchill: NHS England and Oxford Hospital Trust’s statements are not a U-turn

    This is not a U-turn. Far from it. 

    Even if the staff at Oxford University Hospitals continue to run the service, it looks as if it will be handed over to InHealth.

    The proposed partnership with a private company, outlined in a paper to the county’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) to consider on April 4, will be a cuckoo in the nest - with far reaching implications for our NHS.

    The local leadership of OUH has not challenged this ‘in principle’ agreement for a private company to own our precious PET scanning service.

    InHealth, it is proposed, will use OUH as their subcontractor.

    KONP see the so-called ‘partnership’ as pulling the wool over our eyes.

    The detail of the contract with InHealth - and of InHealth with the OUH must be revealed before we can even consult on it. 

    We want HOSC to refer the whole sorry procurement process for our world class PET scanner service to the Secretary of State on the grounds that it was a flawed process, with no proper consultation.

    We believe that the current proposed ‘deal’ will lead to a worsening of service across the region.

    The statement that there will be ’no impact’ for the people of Oxford is not true - there will be serious repercussions.

    This is not ‘outsourcing’ like the Carillion contract. This is direct privatisation of a part of our NHS. We demand a halt to the process.

    Read more ...

Wednesday 6th March 2019

Pete Gillard

  • NHS Improvement scraps plans to whitewash Shropshire inquiry findings

    NHS Improvement have reversed their decision and scrapped the review panel they had set up to “review the findings” of Donna Ockenden’s independent investigation into maternity deaths at Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH).

    The review panel was to involve people who had previously given SaTH a clean bill of health and could have been used to bury the results of the Ockenden review. The reversal was a direct result of pressure from campaigning parents who have been fighting for the truth for over a decade.


    Donna Ockenden is investigating cases of death and serious harm to babies in SaTH’s maternity service going back well over a decade. We understand that the review is looking at over 250 cases and in “many” there will be evidence of avoidable death or avoidable serious harm.

    If so, this is likely be a much bigger scandal than the Morecambe Bay one, where there were 11 avoidable deaths.

    We had been told that the general problem had been known about for some time but that a senior official in NHSE had helped a cover-up in the past. The suspicion was that this new panel to review the review before publication was part of this same cover up.

    SaTH has continually claimed that there have only been a few cases, and these were aberrations. Apologies were only forthcoming after massive pressure. This article details some of the cases featuring some of those who have been leading the campaign for the truth and a safe maternity service.

    The cover up would be continuing if it were not for campaigners like these.

    It’s not about history. There was a case last year where a mother died during childbirth. The inquest has not yet been held, so we do not have the full facts, but from what we do know, the death may have been avoidable.

    This scandal cannot be blamed on individual staff. Some may have made mistakes, but the problem is systemic.

    The 2018 Staff Survey shows that in 2015, 82.2% of SaTH midwives were satisfied with the quality of care they gave. That has fallen year on year – down to only 56.7% in 2018.

    The maternity service chaos is NOT the fault of midwives, who don’t go to work to provide poor care. “My organisation encourages us to report errors, near misses or incidents”. In 2016, 87.7% of staff agreed. In 2017, 84.3% of staff agreed. By 2018, only 81.2% of staff agreed. This was the WORST result in the country for an acute trust.

    The Trust leadership were directly attacked in a CQC report last year for failing to provide good leadership.

    SaTH was then put into special measures on safety grounds by NHSI.

    But chickens are coming home to roost. Immediately after the CQC report, the Medical Director was downgraded to a less sensitive post.

    In the last couple of weeks, the Directory of Nursing, Midwifery & Quality and the Head of Midwifery have announced they are leaving to take up unspecified posts elsewhere. We are still waiting for an announcement on the future of the Chief Executive.

    This was a team that were more interested in balancing the books that patient safety.

    It is sometimes difficult to talk about failures in the NHS when we are campaigning to save it. But if we don’t others will.

    And these others will blame the NHS as an institution. That’s why we in Shropshire support HCT’s ‘Safe for All’ campaign. Safe for patients, but also importantly for the staff who are usually the one’s to get scapegoated.

    Richard and Rhiannon tweeted this when the news broke last week about the review panel:

    "Kate your daddy & I’ve fought 4 10yrs 2 ensure learning from your avoidable death is embedded in NHS. Unforgivably many don’t want babies to live cos that’s ALL this comes down 2. Evidenced today by NHSI. Love from mummy."

    But their campaigning strength, and that of other parents, has now halted this attempted cover up.

    Read more ...

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