The NHS urgently needs our support!
NHS workers are under the worst pressure ever, with beds at full capacity, huge waiting lists, staff shortages, and an insulting 3% pay offer for workers facing 7.1% inflation (and rising) has added to the demoralisation.
However, despite all the pressure and lack of resources NHS workers are still doing a fantastic job caring for us on the Covid wards and stepping up to help ensure that the booster vaccines get out to as many people as possible.
But coupled with the sheer exhaustion of 2 years of caring for Covid patients, it is no surprise that over 27,000 NHS staff left the service just in the last 3 months of 2021.
Hard as it will be, we need to make the Government urgently fund the NHS and that is why ‘Keep Our NHS Public’ and ‘Health Campaigns Together’ have launched a new campaign called ‘SOS NHS’.
If you want to get more involved in campaigning to save our NHS please support the new campaign and come to our AGM on Tuesday 18th January.
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SOS NHS is a new coalition of campaign groups and trade unions which are demanding emergency funding for the NHS to support services and staff and not the private sector.
This is the hardest winter ever in health and social care for a generation and that’s why SOS NHS believes we must act now to save staff morale, avoid a mental health crisis among health and care staff and safeguard services for patients and service users.
It’s three demands are –
  • Approve emergency funding of £20 billion to save lives this winter
  • Invest in a fully publicly owned NHS & guarantee free healthcare for future generations
  • Pay staff properly: without fair pay, staffing shortages will cost lives
Please join the Online Rally 7.00pm, Wednesday 19th January
Speakers from Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together, People’s Assembly Against Austerity, Unite the Union, GMB, We Own It, NHS Support Federation, NHS Workers Say No, NHS Staff Voices, Doctors in Unite, Doctors for the NHS, personalities, politicians and more.
You can read more about SOS NHS here –
There will also be a SOS NHS National Day of Action on Saturday 26th February which aims to have local actions across the country. ESON will be supporting the SOS NHS campaign and discussing ideas for a local action at our AGM next week.
Please put the date in your diaries and watch out for our update.
ESON AGM & Meeting – Tuesday 18th January:
It’s AGM time, so we will be looking back over the last year and reviewing what we have done and discussing our campaigning priorities for 2022. It’s a good opportunity to find out more about what we have been doing and help us plan our campaigning for the next few months. You will be very welcome.
Our AGM kicks off with Lewis Baker, new Campaigns Officer with ‘Keep Our NHS Public (KONP), who will be talking to us about his work which includes liaising with local groups like us, and updating us on KONP’s national campaigning.
We will also be electing our Officers & Committee. If you are interested in getting involved please get in touch for more information – very happy to chat.
Join the meeting on Tuesday 18th January, 7.30pm here –
The Agenda will follow on Monday, so if you would like to attend, please email us.
Health & Care Bill
The Health & Care Bill which is now being debated in the House of Lords is a major threat to the NHS as a comprehensive, publically funded and publically provided service.
Some of the threats include:
  • Breaking up the NHS into 42 new Integrated Care Systems with huge budgets and the power to decide which services to provide – so a postcode lottery;
  • No requirement to provide an emergency services for everyone present in an area i.e. those not on a GP list.
  • Private sector companies allowed to sit on Integrated Care Boards and Committees and make decisions on how public money is spent – more profits for them!
  • Removing any requirement to assess patients care needs before they are discharged from hospital.
  • Loss of public accountability with no requirement for meetings of Integrated Care Boards to be held in public, publish papers or allow public questions in public.
  • Gives power to NHS Digital to share patient data with third parties including the private sector.
  • Giving the Secretary of State greater powers to intervene locally.
Although Health campaigners want to see the Bill thrown out we’re also hoping to persuade members of the Lords to amend some of the worst aspects as mentioned above.
You can read more about the Bill here
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Peoples Covid Inquiry writes to Met Police concerning ‘criminal matters’
In December the Peoples Covid Inquiry which was chaired by Michael Mansfield QC published its findings on the handling of the Covid Pandemic and concluded the Government was guilty of misconduct in office.
Keep Our NHS Public who conceived and organised the Inquiry have, following legal advice, written to Cressida Dick, Metropolitan Police Commissioner setting out the case that the Government has committed two criminal offences namely corporate manslaughter (excessive Covid deaths) and misconduct in public office.
We look forward to seeing her response!
You can read the letter (it’s short) here
BREAKING NEWS – Government PPE ‘VIP’ lane for political friends declared ‘unlawful’
Congratulations to the Good Law Project and EveryDoctor who successfully challenged the Governments secretive fast-track VIP lane for PPE contracts, worth billions of pounds, to those with political (i.e. Tory) connections. On Wednesday 12th January the High Court ruled this had been unlawful. The Court found in favour of the claimants and said:
“The Claimants have established that operation of the High Priority Lane was in breach of the obligation of equal treatment… the illegality is marked by this judgment.” (§512)
The Judge agreed the VIP lane conferred preferential treatment on bids: it sped up the process, which meant offers were considered sooner in a process where timing was critical, and VIPs’ hands were held through the process. Some justice at last!!
You can read more here
Stop the Vaccine Manufacturing Centre Sell Off!!
Three days after the World Health Organisation placed Omicron on its Covid “variants of concern” list, news slipped out that the UK government was planning to sell off the publicly funded Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) in Oxford. While other countries have been scrambling to build vaccine capacity, Britain has chosen this precise moment to sell, to the highest bidder, what was to be its first strategic vaccine development and manufacturing centre.
According to the Government source, who leaked it to the Financial Times, since the private sector has stepped up so marvellously during the pandemic, producing huge quantities of vaccines there was simply no need for the Government to take part in making them itself!!
VMIC, when finished in 2023, is expected to be able to produce 70 million doses in six months. But rapid production is only one of the reasons to fund and build VMIC. The others include providing critical support to vaccine manufacturers at various stages in the process, from development through to taking a new vaccine into public use.
Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public has been working together with We Own It to oppose this scandalous sell off – Please Sign the Petition
You can read more on this story from the excellent John Lister in ‘The Lowdown’
‘Vaccinate but let infection spread strategy’ is wrong’
A nice bit of analysis of the Government’s Covid Strategy from ‘John Puntis, Co – Chair of Keep Our NHS Public.
Sunak: from “Whatever NHS Needs” to “Booster Jabs Will Mean Cuts”
John Lister writing in the Lowdown reveals that Chancellor Rishi Sunak has shifted policy from giving the NHS “what it needs” to fight Covid to reportedly warning Health Secretary Sajid Javid that additional spending on will have to be paid for, either by cutting spending elsewhere or by raising taxes. Definitely worth reading.


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