Public gather to learn more about ‘privatisation of the NHS’

More than 40 members of the public and IW councillors attended a lively public meeting last night, called by concerned residents in the light of the IW NHS Trust announcement of the Joint Venture Partnership with private company Ryhurst.

Save our NHS - 38 Degrees

Thanks to Vix for this report from last night’s NHS privatisation meeting. Ed


Most chairs were taken, as those who attended watched the Peter Bach documentary Sell Off which emphasised that corporate interests rather than patient care is driving reform in today’s NHS.

What this means for the Island
Green Party Parliamentary Candidate, Vix Lowthion, delivered a short presentation on how the national picture relates to developments on the Isle of Wight.

Based on IW NHS Trust Chief Executive Karen Baker’s recent letter to Trust members, she highlighted how the 50:50 partnership on estates would be addressing the future of all the older, red brick buildings at the south end of the hospital – including the old Newport Workhouse.

The aim of the partnership appears to be seeking expert advice to move the NHS Trust closer to a ‘care closer to home’ delivery of services – including using private businesses, telemonitoring and home based staff.

Semantics
Vix challenged the Trust’s insistence that ‘this is not privatisation’ as semantics; that private companies taking tax payer’s money to deliver services at a profit for themselves is inefficient at best.

Her presentation was followed by Labour Parliamentary Candidate Stewart Blackmore, who stressed the wider political issues surrounding the NHS, and that the Labour Party would pledge to address these directly.

Expert comment
Professor Allyson Pollock, Professor of Public Health Research and Policy at Queen Mary’s, University of London, joined the meeting via Skype and answered many questions put forward by the concerned attendees – including what NHS staff could do to overcome the culture of intimidation in speaking out over these changes.

Lively discussion
The meeting concluded with a lively discussion concerning how Isle of Wight residents could take their campaign forward. A Keep Our NHS Public IW branch will be established in the next week, and the Health and Scrutiny Committee would be meeting with NHS Chief Executive Karen Baker next month.

Labour councillor Geoff Lumley insisted that the assembled residents must organise en mass and not rely on the council to put pressure on the NHS Trust, but to demonstrate the strong feelings of ordinary residents against privatisation of our NHS.

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Image: 38 Degrees under CC BY 2.0

Thursday, 4th December, 2014 9:15am

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Filed under: Health, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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68 Comments on "Public gather to learn more about ‘privatisation of the NHS’"

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Robert Jones
Geoff Lumley got a bit frustrated by the end of the meeting that – in short, I think – there was a fair amount of arguing round the houses: and he was probably right, but it’s fair to note that not everyone is going to be as well-informed as he is. The film itself, and the answers from Professor Pollack via Skype – a real challenge for… Read more »
Jeff
“…some talk about FOI requests to the local Trust; there is very rarely any need to go through that sort of convoluted rigmarole, with the expense it entails.” Hi Robert, Not sure why you experienced ‘convoluted rigmarole’ or ‘expense’ regarding FOI requests. Anyone can submit a FOI request for free at the website WhatDoTheyKnow.com. The online submission guides one through the process with plenty of information as… Read more »
Robert Jones
The expense is for the organization to which the request is submitted – which is best avoided if there’s an alternative. The rigmarole is the time it can take, whereas again, a straight question will USUALLY bring forth a straight answer. I wouldn’t bother with FOI unless I had to; when you DO have to, of course – well then you do; but anyone wanting the details… Read more »
davidwalter
Robert, Mark is correct on this – at least he’s correct when asking questions of an organisation the size of the NHS or IWC. Parish councils might struggle the first time round more out of lack of experience than the actual workload. The benefit to all in using whatdotheyknow.com is a standard format and an automatic diary reminding both parties when they need to do something. Another… Read more »
Robert Jones
Yes, he is correct and I slurred over things as I sometimes do when talking too much. My point is that you don’t need FOI just to ask a question – I got the impression from one or two at the meeting that they felt they wouldn’t get an answer if they didn’t put it in FOI form, and that just isn’t the case. I prefer to… Read more »
Caconym

Nice to see two of the Parliamentary candidates there. I guess Turner wasn’t there as he’s have to defend his party’s record on the NHS (not good) and, since we know the ‘kippers want to get rid of the NHS completely, McKie probably kept clear for pure self preservation.

mat

To those residents organising the meeting and establishing an IW Branch of the “Keep Our NHS Public campaign” – Well done and good luck to you all.

Robert Jones

Ah, UKIP – yes; well… what an opportunity missed for Mr McKie to promote his winning idea of building 13 (was it?) Cottage Hospitals on the island.

Seriously, though – maybe he had an alternative engagement as well, but all the political parties need to engage with the public on the future of the NHS, and it’s to be hoped that he will attend a future meeting.

davidwalter
I was there. I’d add that Cllr Dave Stewart, Leader of the Conservative Group in the IWC, was also there. Dave told the meeting that he’d just seen Andrew Turner an hour before, by the Red Jet Ferry, on his way to the House of Commons. Vix said she’d had no alternative timing for the show. Since Andrew Turner had to go to work – the job… Read more »
Vix Lowthion
I agree that the film was produced to put forward an alternative message to that which the mainstream media portrays – that private companies in our NHS is just progress in modern world. I aimed in my address to question whether people do think it is privatisation to enter into such 50:50 partnerships, or whether it is not. I put forward Mr Rees-Mogg’s position that he believes… Read more »
Impartial

@Davidwalter: say no more david, a nods as good as a wink.

Think we can let people, sorry Leader of Conservatives, speak for themselves if they feel the need to or not as the case maybe, eh?

just an observation mind you….

Cynic
Perhaps Dave Stewart would like to comment on Tory MP (and recent Chairman of the Commons’ Health Select Committee)- Stephen Dorrell- leaving politics to work for KPMG who are considering bidding for a £1 billion deal to manage the patient’s medical records. News reports say that Dorrell wil not step down from Parliament until May 2015 although his KPMG job starts next week and so he will… Read more »
Steve Goodman

The Dorrell outrage has resulted in a petition on the 38Degrees site. Link to follow.

Steve Goodman
davidwalter

Dave Stewart did speak for himself but Vix’s report failed to mention it, or Andrew Turner’s need to be in Westminster.

Cynic

…. What about the Dorrell affair- heard anything from DS, AW or AT, David?

peaceful_life

@David.

Anyone is free to check the IOW radio site for the ‘NHS public meeting’ and look at the ‘live updates’, where Matt White reports…

‘DS: I’m not thinking I should jump on the band wagon against the privatisation of the NHS’

Do you expect Vix to organise, speak at *and* transcribe the meeting verbatim?

Vix Lowthion
I didn’t mention Andrew Turner at all because this was just a record of the main addresses. Dave Stewart asked questions from the back like many other audience members did. Geoff Lumley stood at the front to address listeners in the same way that Stewart Blackmore did. Hopefully another time, people from the Trust or from the government can explain their policies, rather than my research attempting… Read more »
davidwalter

Vix, I don’t see why Cllr Stewart’s contribution was any less valuable because he spoke from the rear..there were only 40 present. In any case he was sitting at the rear whereas Geoff was in the front row and Stewart one row back.

What you didn’t mention is that Cllr Stewart was handed a defective microphone, unlike Geoff Lumley and Stuart Blackmore.

Vix Lowthion

David, I can assure you there is no ulterior motive in not mentioning what Dave Stewart said. I didn’t mention all the contributions from the Unions either or the ex NHS staff who spoke. And as soon as Mr Stewart’s microphone failed we promptly gave him a new one with fully charged batteries. I welcomed everyone’s contribution. I just couldn’t list them all.

sam salt
Vix, did you not consider it prudent to cancel or delay this meeting until after you had chance to attend the launch of the NHS initiative with Ryhurst that took place yesterday? Did you even attend the launch? All you are doing is putting your own spin on things and getting it wrong. It appears that you organised this meeting purely for your own political aims, and… Read more »
Vix Lowthion
Gosh. Where to start. Firstly, I did not instigate the meeting at all. The Green Party on the Island was informed about the meeting and asked if we wanted to help out. I did not attend the 930am launch as I have a day job. I met Stewart Blackmore and Geoff Lumley for the very first time at the meeting. I was pleased that it was not… Read more »
Sally Perry

@ Enough – what launch?

Vix Lowthion

Sally – there was a Trust meeting open to the public at 930am on Wednesday morning. Am unsure if the Ryhurst deal was timetabled for discussion.

Sally Perry

Ah thanks, when Enough said ‘yesterday’ I thought she was referring to Thursday not the Wednesday Trust board meeting.

sam salt

Sally, there was a launch yesterday (Thursday) concerning the JV. The meeting Vix is referring to is the normal monthly Board Meeting, entirely different.

sam salt

Thanks for replying Vix. I liked what you said and look forward to watching you and your campaign develop.
We might not agree but I am beginning to respect you.
Praise indeed from me.

Sally Perry

Thanks Enough – very strange that the Comms office didn’t invite press to the launch

sam salt

Sally, she’s a he! It appeared the launch was more information giving to interested parties (councillors and health groups),

Vix Lowthion

Thank you, Enough. Praise indeed!

Like David and Sally, I didn’t know about any launch yesterday. Hopefully there will be some way for the parties who were invited to be able to feed back?

retired Hack

When Dave Stewart’s heard the other side of the story, perhaps he’ll let us know what it is. As I understand it, this meeting was arranged in response to an announcement from the NHS Trust which came out of the blue and was full of gobbledegook. Well done to the meeting organisers for unravelling it as far as they were able.

davidwalter

Sally, not half so strange as holding a public launch meeting without inviting the public? Enough said?

sam salt

David, pleas see my comment to Sally. Whoever said this was a Public launch?

davidwalter
Enough “David, pleas see my comment to Sally. Whoever said this was a Public launch?” You did. You wrote today at 4.25 the following… “Vix, did you not consider it prudent to cancel or delay this meeting until after you had chance to attend the launch of the NHS initiative with Ryhurst that took place yesterday? Did you even attend the launch? All you are doing is… Read more »
Robert Jones
Yes, fair do’s – we did have Dave Stewart there, which I was pleased to see, and Andrew Turner did have a Parliamentary engagement. Wouldn’t it be good though if we could get the Keep the NHS Private group off the ground before the General Election, and invite all candidates to a public meeting to explain their approach to the service? I’ve heard Andrew Turner speak highly… Read more »
Robert Jones

What a typo! Thank goodness I’ve noticed it before anyone else seems to have done – I meant Keep the NHS PUBLIC, not Private…. Dear oh Lor’, I must be getting old…. (Well of course you are, you silly old fool…)

It’s been rather a long week for a little old chap, and I’ve not been getting my much-needed beauty sleep, that’s the trouble.

matt

Is it right Robert Jones you are on the NHS Trust?

Robert Jones

Matt Trust Board, you mean? – No. Formerly CHC, then PPI Forum, then LINk, presently Patients Council. I’m a member of the Trust, but that of course confers no powers.

milly

Freudian slip?

Robert Jones

Milly – I don’t think it was a Freudian slip: just senility.

Ken.
The two “prospective” parliamentary candidates used this meeting as a “platform” for their election campaign. Concerns over the privatisation of OUR NHS is a real threat. Both Vix + Stuart stood up + criticised the current government for out-sourcing services, that were instigated by Tony Blair in the Labour government. Remarks were made about our MP not being present, giving the impression that he wasn’t bothered. The… Read more »
davidwalter
40 out of 138,000. Yes, looks poor but I wonder how many of the 138,000 even knew about it? And of those who had heard about it, how many thought it was relevant to them (i.e. that the NHS is really under threat)? And of those, how many could reasonably get there …. transport, perceived parking, looking after family, working, sick, etc. Suppose the advertising for the… Read more »
Robert Jones
Ken – as I remember, Cllr Stewart mentioned that the South Block itself was not used to treat patients – which is true so far as it goes, although I’m not entirely sure what the point was that he was making – presumably that if the buildings were disposed of, it wouldn’t necessarily damage patient care; and even then, the meaning was a bit opaque, because a)… Read more »
Cynic
Mmmm yes- the South Block- ex-Workhouse now virtually in the hands of a private company (once the details become known). Given the austerity measure planned for the next five years, there will be an increase in the poor. The Victorians solved this by providing the workhouses and thus cheap labour. Now link this with the Tory zeal to privatise anything. Could it be in the future that… Read more »
Robert Jones
Cicero – the South Block/Workhouse is owned by the Trust, not by Ryhurst. That company will in time make recommendations which the Trust can accept or reject. The choice is theirs. Today, a report was presented to Jeremy Hunt which if implemented would mean the wholesale privatization of the NHS, with private companies owning whole groups of hospitals – this would be a disaster for England generally… Read more »
Cynic
@RJ “owned by the Trust”…. at the moment but watch this space! Remember back in the day when we Community Tax payers owned (through the Council) Ventnor Botanic Garden, Ventnor Winter Gardens, sundry schools, libraries etc? Now all gone into private or volunteer hands. Such faith in government organisations is tantamount to believing the hoary old political lie “There are no plans to…” Wake up and smell… Read more »
Cynic
@RJ The JV is just another salami-slice towards privatisation. Take a look at Interserve plc that proclaims itself : Our innovative approach explores new ways of commissioning services and managing facilities to: Ensure hospital estates are fit for current and future needs Deliver high-quality patient experiences Remain competitive in an era of patient choice Reduce in-patient numbers Drive down operating costs while improving clinical care. Our experienced… Read more »
davidwalter
Enough — I missed that. Would have gone had I known. Shame nobody from the Trust dropped into the Riverside on the Wednesday evening to tell us it was on, knowing that a lot of interested folk would be present. “Vix’s” meeting was certainly advertised On The Wight. Do you happen to know where to find the information from that launch? Maybe it was filmed?
Vix Lowthion

David – if I’d known about that meeting I would have let people know at the Riverside. One of my biggest concerns is the lack of knowledge.

Ken.

As I predicted, more comments on here than attendees at the meeting.
Island Apathy At Its Best! THAT IS ALL.

Vix Lowthion
Not strictly true. In numbers, yes. But I met a spirited lady – a fellow geography teacher – at the meeting who had children in their 50s and 60s and had felt the meeting was important enough to walk with a crutch through Newport to get there (I gave her a lift back). She was not apathetic. Others attended for the short time their busy lives allowed… Read more »
peaceful_life

@Ken.

It’s about awareness.

davidwalter
Vix “We could do with more numbers absolutely. But I find that the people on the island who do care and have the time to show it, really *do* care. And that is encouraging. ” There are loads of us who care very deeply indeed. We don’t need to belong to single-issue political parties such as the Greens or UKIP to have strong views and care. Certainly… Read more »
Vix Lowthion

I agree, David, that no person or party owns the NHS. And was pleased to see a broad spectrum turn out. I disagree that the Green party is single issue though! But will save elaboration for another time ;)

Wednesday night was only the start of hopefully a cross island response to broad brush changes in our NHS.

derek

Vix, It maybe wise for the group to take the campaign to the street and ask the General Public the question of IW NHS Privatisation.Signatures etc.

peaceful_life

@Enough.

Regarding your comment from-5.Dec.2014 4:25pm.

That’s a fairly convoluted list of incorrect assumptions you’ve levelled at vix there, but that aside….is it fair to assume that you yourself attended the *launch* and can now convey the details of the contract to folk in order that they can “understand what this partnership is about”?

Thanks.

jay_bird
Dear All, My name is Alison Logan, I live in Niton, where I am a parish councillor (my details are on line, should you feel the need to contact me direct) & I organised this meeting! It was a direct response to discussions on this, & other forums reference to the privatisation of the NHS! I really wanted the public to start talking about these potential threats… Read more »
Robert Jones

Alison – you did a good job, your motives are beyond reproach, and although your views and mine diverge here and there I should like to thank you publicly, as I have privately, for organizing the meeting.

darrenbishop98

privatisation of the nhs should be happening fast. look at our modern friends across the sea, they have privatised healthcare! time we had it.

Darren Bishop – 16 – recently found a passion for local politics

Robert Jones
Which modern friends across the sea have you in mind – the USA? I can’t tell if you’re being serious or ironic, but if it’s the latter, irony has a hard time of it on the web: you tend to get taken literally. If I were to take you literally, ie were I to assume that you think privatization is a good thing and works well for… Read more »
Cynic
RJ is right. On the Island “Irony is wot comes after washery” as Baldrick once said. However taking the comment as being serious- which I think it was- people should be aware of opinions like: “The market-based health insurance system in the United States has caused a human rights crisis that deprives a large number of people of the health care they need. The most visible problem… Read more »
Caconym

There is a need to understand the difference between “privatising” the NHS (which is the government plan) and abolishing it altogether, which is what UKIP want to do. UKIP want us to move to a system like the US where healthcare is NOT free at the point of use. If you can’t pay, you can’t get treatment.

peaceful_life

@Suruk.

Can you explain the difference please?

davidwalter
I think STS had explained what they see as the difference in the penultimate sentence? But actually it hasn’t been free at the point of use since I’ve been aware…circa late 1960s. There have been charges for medicines and medical devices, dentistry has been charged for (dentistry is a vital part of healthcare seen increasingly part of the whole). Some ‘free’ services have been so pants ‘everyone’… Read more »
Robert Jones
Quick note on the launch of the partnership – this was held on Thursday December 4th, Isle of Wight Radio and the County Press were in attendance, as were Cllrs Stubbings and Peacey-Willcox (and possibly others)- I have some of the papers from that meeting which I should be happy to share, and better still, ask the Trust for them; it’s unfortunate if OTW weren’t invited, but… Read more »
matt

Robert Jones,You are involved with the IW NHS Trust.

Robert Jones
Your point being what? I am a member of the Trust, with thousands of other people; I’m also a member of the Southampton University Hospital trust; I am a member of the Patients Council. I do not make any secret of that – how do you suppose I know anything about the Trust? I made it my business to find out. If you’re suggesting there’s anything sinister… Read more »
matt

It would be the right thing now, to let Alison Logan get on and organise.