Saturday, 30 January 2016

Calls for Jeremy Hunt to meet west London council leaders over controversial health reforms

H&F boss Stephen Cowan says the Secretary of State must discuss plans for future of health care

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been urged to act now over the “spiralling” costs of contentious health care reforms.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council leader Stephen Cowan says the money needed to deliver the controversial Shaping a Healthier Future (SaHF) programme is rising with each day that passes and has called for Conservative cabinet member to meet him and other who oppose the plans.
Reports claim the cost of delivering the programme, which has already led to the closures of A&E departments at Hammersmith and Central Middlesex Hospitals, the maternity unit at Ealing Hospital and concerns over emergency care provided at Charing Cross Hospital, has risen by more than 1,000% - from £112 million in 2012 to £1.3 billion now.
Labour leader Stephen Cowan

Last year, a report led by Michael Mansfield QC and commissioned by five Labour-run councils found SaHF to be “deeply flawed” .
It called for the reopening of the closed A&E units and urged Charing Cross and Ealing to retain full services for the foreseeable future. The Independent Healthcare Commission also suggested legal challenges may be necessary to halt the NHS’ SaHF programme,
But some criticised the findings, claiming a commission set up by five councils opposed to the SaHF was not independent.
Cllr Cowan and the leaders of the four other boroughs who commissioned the report - Hounslow, Ealing, Brent and Harrow - have written to Mr Hunt urging he meet with them to discuss the report and its recommendations.
He said: “Michael Mansfield’s superb independent report drove a coach and horses through the plans to close Charing Cross Hospital, and called for an immediate stop to the process.
“But as each day passes without a halt, we are seeing costs soar to eye-watering levels, with current estimates putting the price of this scheme at £1.3 billion.
“As Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt has the power to call a halt to these dangerous changes before any further damage is done – or any more money wasted.
“I am hopeful that, when confronted with the impact these plans will have and their massive cost, he will see sense and act. That’s why I have called on him to get round the table with me and other local council leaders to hammer out a sensible way forward.”
The Department of Health confirmed a letter had been received with a response due to be sent in due course.


NHS NW London’s ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ (SaHF) Payments to Management Consultants Since 2009/10 Now Exceed £71 Million

​Colin Standfield of ‘Save Our Hospitals’ has assiduously submitted Freedom of Information requests in order to track NHS NW London’s SaHF payments to management consultants. Since 2009/10 to date the payments total £71,640, 908.65. Almost half of this cash has been paid to McKinsey and Company.
One might reasonably ask what measurable benefits have accrued from this massive outpouring of public funds? There has been no discernible improvement in A&E performance. We can all make our own minds up as to whether the closure of two hospital A&E units and the closure of a hospital maternity unit actually count as benefits.​



Friday, 29 January 2016

Support Mansfield's Call to Stop The Cuts & Closures

Recent stalls have been very busy and we're set to run another with a new leaflet (Ta Jim & Patrick)
SOH Stall  Sat 30th Jan 2 - 4pm Lyric Square King St - join us if you can.

H&F Council Public Meeting on Mansfield Report
The new leaflet (attached) advertises this upcoming meeting called by the council and supported by SOH designed to inform & listen to local peoples' views about Michael Mansfield QC's findings and his call to stop the cuts & closure plan known as Shaping a Healthier Future. In the meantime council leader Stephen Cowan has, with 4 neighbouring boroughs, written to Jeremy Hunt urging crisis talks. 
H&F Council Public Meeting on Mansfield Report Tues 23rd Feb 7 for 7.30 Hamm Town Hall 

GP Practices receive more money not to refer
Do you remember the news that H&F Clinical Commissioning Group are paying financial incentives to some Gps not to refer people to hospital? Jim challenged them at the last CCG meeting and got lots of flannel. Since then we've found that this spending has almost doubled in the last year to £87,178. To quote GP leader Dr Maureen Baker " it undermines the doctor-patient relationship and the trust that underpins it." 

H&F NHS losing 10%
GP incentives seems a peculiar spending priority given the CCG's worsening finances. Andy reports on a recent meeting with H&F CCG leaders in which he was told that our local NHS will be losing more than 10% of the budget over the next three years (about £25 million).  He says "H&F is one of only six areas in the country to lose out in this way – so much for beefing up community to make up for the closure of acute services."

Neighbourhood Health Forums
There's a chance to feedback your experiences about this or other local health services (the good as well as the rarer not so good) at the series of Neighbourhood Health Forums set up by the council to improve local care.
Thurs 4th Feb 7 - 9pm St Matthew’s Church, Wandsworth Bridge Road, SW6 2TZ (for Fulham South)

Will the Mayor back Mansfield?
It will be an enormous boost to the campaigners against SAHF if the new London mayor demands a halt to the SAHF closure plan - in particular to keep Charing Cross as an acute hospital. Some of us have suggested questions and got tickets for a mayoral hustings organised by the Evening Standard in Kensington. It's too late to apply for tickets but we plan to give SOH leaflets to audience and candidates as they file in. (We're not party political, we will be asking people to vote for any candidate who supports the local NHS).
Leaflet the Hustings Wed 3rd Feb 5.30 - 6.30pm Royal Geographic Society Exhibition Rd

Ealing Save Our NHS
Over in Ealing local people are also battling for their acute services - facing a SAHF plan to close the childrens' unit at Ealing hospital this summer as part of a run-down strategy. Consultant paediatrician Tony O'Sullivan, local GP Dr Ajai Sandhu and Dr John Lister of London Health Emergency are putting the case against the closure plan and suggesting how campaigners can most effectively block it.
Ealing Save Our NHS Public Meeting Tues 2nd Feb 7.30pm Ealing Town Hall W5 2BY

Report from Imperial NHS Trust Board Meeting
Worsening finances (and vacancies, A&E waits, staff sickness and turnover) were major themes from the board meeting. At the same time it's important to acknowledge the excellent health outcomes delivered by Imperial's front line staff. Attached is a copy of the board papers with most relevant info highlighted. Interestingly we gave away all our copies of the Mansfield Report to board directors so there's obviously an appetite amongst some for an alternative to the current hospital closure plans. 

A&E Staffing Problems Suppressed
Hopefully the board will also read this shelved report from the government's own advisory clinical panel which highlighted the problem of staff shortages and issued guidance on minimum staffing levels (a critical problem for St Mary's and Charing Cross Hospitals). Against a backdrop of a 35% increase in A&E attendances in England since 2003 Dr Mann, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine called for the guidance to be published and considered. Click here to read more.

Regards,
Anne Drinkell (SOH secretary)



Sunday, 24 January 2016

Crisis talks urged as hospital closure costs spiral

Charing Cross Hospital

Hammersmith & Fulham leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan has called on Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to ‘act now’ as the cost of contentious changes to local health services spirals out of control.
The North West London NHS ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ programme has been dogged by controversy since its launch, with a recent Independent Commission chaired by Michael Mansfield QC calling for an immediate halt to the scheme, which would see a majority of services at Charing Cross Hospital axed.
Figures in the report show how costs have soared, ballooning from £112 million in 2012 to £1.3 billion now, a ten-fold increase.
Hammersmith & Fulham leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan, said: “Michael Mansfield’s superb independent report drove a coach and horses through the plans to close Charing Cross Hospital, and called for an immediate stop to the process.
“But as each day passes without a halt, we are seeing costs soar to eye-watering levels, with current estimates putting the price of this scheme at £1.3 billion.
“As Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt has the power to call a halt to these dangerous changes before any further damage is done – or any more money wasted.
“I am hopeful that, when confronted with the impact these plans will have and their massive cost, he will see sense and act. That’s why I have called on him to get round the table with me and other local council leaders to hammer out a sensible way forward.”
H&F leader Cllr Stephen Cowan and the leaders of four neighbouring boroughs have written to Jeremy Hunt to discuss the Independent Healthcare Commission report and recommendations.
Michael Mansfield QC’s landmark report highlighted a catalogue of deficiencies with the North West London NHS ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ programme, including plans to axe a majority of services at Charing Cross Hospital.
The public consultation on SaHF, presented in 2012, estimated the capital costs of the scheme would be £112m.
The latest estimates, as of the end of 2015, project capital costs of £1.3 billion.
» Send us your comments now at Hammersmith and Fulham Council website:





Saturday, 23 January 2016

GE Healthcare: US healthcare giant makes fortune from NHS but pays hardly a penny in tax

GE division makes millions in sales to health service, and is net beneficiary from UK Exchequer

There have been calls to ban NHS providers who are not paying tax Rex

One of the biggest suppliers of equipment and testing services to the NHS pays barely any corporate tax in the UK, despite receiving hundreds of millions of pounds a year from medical sales to British clinics and hospitals.
A study of GE Healthcare’s accounts by The Independent suggests it has received more money back in tax benefits over the past 12 years than it has paid in, with the taxpayer appearing to be missing out on millions of pounds a year in lost revenues.
The company has been headquartered in Buckinghamshire since 2003 when its vast US owner, General Electric, bought the British multinational medical firm Nycomed Amersham. It makes scanners and other equipment used in areas such as oncology and heart disease.
Nycomed Amersham typically used to pay up to £8m in corporation tax to the Exchequer every year, plus £50m to £90m more abroad. But in the 12 years since its takeover by GE, the UK divisions examined by The Independent made a total net gain of £1.6m in benefits from the taxman.
GE is notorious in the US for avoiding taxes. News of its tax situation here will inevitably lead to questions about its success in winning contracts from the publicly funded NHS, which is struggling to find savings of £22bn. 
Gail Cartmail, the assistant general secretary of the union Unite, said: “The NHS is under massive financial strain: the tax contribution we all make is vital to the health of the nation. It’s a national disgrace that private companies which profit from our health service can get away with having tax avoidance structures in place.”
The straitened state of the NHS has clearly not been lost on GE. In its most recent set of accounts, its GE Medical Systems division noted “the general economic and political conditions in the UK continue to make it challenging to increase the present level of trading activity”.
That statement was made alongside accounts which showed the division paid zero corporate tax.
Since buying Nycomed Amersham, GE appears to have put much of the British operation into an interlinked web of UK companies all ultimately owned by a holding company in the low-tax Netherlands. Over the years, big dividends and loans have been paid from one GE Healthcare company to another, which may have reduced its tax bill.
In the most recent accounts, only one of the seven GE Healthcare companies in the UK scrutinised by The Independent paid any corporation tax – a tiny £250,000, or 1.7 per cent of its £14.3m profit.
The full tax affairs of GE Healthcare’s global business since it bought Nycomed Amersham are impossible to gauge due to the way the group’s various companies’ accounts are filed. On 22 January, GE’s full-year accounts showed healthcare profits globally were $2.8bn (£2bn) in 2015. The parent company GE, whose businesses range from lightbulbs to wind turbines, has been widely criticised in the US for its aggressive tax avoidance. One of the world’s biggest companies, it structures itself to maximise the amount of money it makes and holds in lower-tax overseas countries.
It was notorious for tax avoidance long before the spotlight fell on Apple, Starbucks and Amazon. A New York Times investigation in 2011 revealed how, through a mixture of aggressive tax structures and lobbying for tax breaks, GE was paying hardly any tax in the US. That year, far from paying tax on the $5.1bn in profit it made, it received a tax benefit of $3.2bn.
This month it announced it was moving its global HQ from its Connecticut home of more than 40 years to Boston after cash-strapped Connecticut closed corporate tax loopholes in the state. GE said it had been considering the move before the tax rise but the state’s clampdown is reported to have hastened its departure.
Its UK healthcare division carries out large numbers of contracts for the NHS, and in 2012 was criticised after accidentally sending personal medical files on 600,000 patients to the US, in breach of data protection laws.
Dave Prentis, the general secretary of the union Unison, said: “Companies that make healthy profits from selling to the NHS, yet pay minuscule amounts of tax, ought to hang their heads in shame. Nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers struggling to make ends meet would probably like to have years where they could pay zero tax, but that’s not a choice open to them.
“NHS staff are angry at companies that would rather pay profits to shareholders than the right level of taxes.”
He called for NHS providers to be excluded if they appear to be avoiding UK taxes.
In a statement, GE said: “GE Healthcare pays the taxes it owes in every country where we operate.” It added that it had invested more than £500m in research and development in the UK in the past 10 years and had recently opened a multi-million pound “innovation village” in Cardiff to support life sciences businesses. The GE group as a whole employs 22,000 people in the UK.
The Independent was prompted to look at GE’s UK-based healthcare taxes after it announced plans this month to move its global base from Amersham to the US. Although this is not expected to lead to substantial job losses, it will be mourned locally. 
The company has been based in Amersham since the 1940s and was built to process radium confiscated from a German shipment. The lab’s radioactive expertise has made it a world-leader in creating markers used in medical scanning. 
NHS contracts won last year include a £30m deal to supply X-ray archives to medics using cloud computing.In a statement, GE said: “GE Healthcare pays the taxes it owes in every country where we operate.” It added that it had invested more than £500m in research and development in the UK in the past 10 years and had recently opened a multi-million pound “innovation village” in Cardiff to support life sciences businesses. The GE group as a whole employs 22,000 people in the UK.
The Independent was prompted to look at GE’s UK-based healthcare taxes after it announced plans this month to move its global base from Amersham to the US. Although this is not expected to lead to substantial job losses, it will be mourned locally. 
The company has been based in Amersham since the 1940s and was built to process radium confiscated from a German shipment. The lab’s radioactive expertise has made it a world-leader in creating markers used in medical scanning. 
NHS contracts won last year include a £30m deal to supply X-ray archives to medics using cloud computing.

Walk out by Junior Doctors at Charing Cross Hospital

Check the Fulham Chronicle link here:

Thursday, 21 January 2016

NHS funding is falling behind European neighbours' average, research finds

King’s Fund study ranks UK 13th out of 15 original EU members and casts doubt on ministers’ claims they are giving the NHS generous cash settlements.

NHS workers protesting at the Conservative party conference in Manchester last October. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Britain’s spending on its health service is falling by international standards and, by 2020, will be £43bn less a year than the average spent by its European neighbours, according to research by the King’s Fund.
The UK is devoting a diminishing proportion of GDP in health and is now a lowly 13th out of the original 15 EU members in terms of investment, an analysis for the Guardian by the thinktank’s chief economist shows.
Prof John Appleby also found that the government’s decision to increase the NHS’s budget by far less than the anticipated growth in GDP meant the service would miss out on what would have been an extra £16bn by 2020.
Ministers highlight that they are giving the NHS in England an increasing share of overall government spending, ringfencing its budget and handing it annual increases totalling £8.4bn in real terms by 2020-21, despite very tight public finances.
But the King’s Fund figures have cast doubt on ministers’ repeated claims that they are giving the NHS generous cash settlements. Critics argue that Britain is becoming “the sick person of Europe” in terms of health spending because the sector receives one of the lowest levels of investment compared with many European countries, such as France and Germany.
Appleby warns that Britain’s status as an increasingly “low spender” might mean the NHS cannot deliver improvements in the quality of care and outcomes from treatment that patients want.
“No amount of spin from ministers can disguise the fact that this decade is set to be marked by the longest and deepest squeeze on NHS finances in a generation. Our country is increasingly looking like the sick person of Europe, with spending on health falling far behind other neighbouring countries,” said Heidi Alexander, the shadow health secretary.
“This squeeze on health spending is bad for the NHS and it is bad for patients. It is clear that our health service is going to need much more money than this government is prepared to spend.” 
That health spending as a proportion of GDP has been “slipping backwards” means Britain is now behind Finland and Slovenia on that measure, according to a league table of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s 34 member countries, Appleby added.

“This is equivalent to around £7bn in real terms, increasing from £135bn in 2014-15 to £142bn in 2020-21. But if spending kept pace with growth in the economy, by 2020-21 the UK NHS would be spending around £158bn at today’s prices – £16bn more than planned.”
In an article for the King’s Fund detailing his findings, Appleby writes: “UK GDP is forecast to grow in real terms by around 15.2% between 2014-15 and 2020-21. But on current plans, UK NHS spending will grow by much less – 5.2%.
“This is equivalent to around £7bn in real terms, increasing from £135bn in 2014-15 to £142bn in 2020-21. But if spending kept pace with growth in the economy, by 2020-21 the UK NHS would be spending around £158bn at today’s prices – £16bn more than planned.”



The latest OECD data shows that the UK spent 8.5% of its total GDP on healthcare in 2013, though that includes a small amount of private spending, such as private medical insurance. “This placed the UK 13th out of the original 15 countries of the EU and 1.7 percentage points lower than the EU-14’s level,” Appleby said, referring to the EU 15 without the UK.
“If we were to close this gap solely by increasing NHS spending, and assuming that health spending in other UK countries was in line with the 2015 spending review plans for England, by 2020-21 it would take an increase of 30% – £43bn – in real terms to match the EU-14’s level of spend in 2013, taking total NHS spending to £185bn.”
The result of failing to keep pace with international health spending is that the gap has started to widen between Britain and many of its neighbours.
“Whatever the flaws of international comparisons, it’s clear that the UK is currently a relatively low spender on healthcare, with a prospect of sinking further down the international league tables,” Appleby said.
When he was prime minister in 2000, Tony Blair promised to increase health spending to the then EU average of 8.5% of GDP, a pledge Labour fulfilled under Gordon Brown in 2009.
However, given the huge sums thrown up by both Appleby’s calculations, Alexander refused to say whether Labour would commit to increasing health spending to either the EU average, which is now 10.1%, or as a proportionate share of rising GDP.



Norman Lamb, a Liberal Democrat health minister in the coalition until last May, said the Office for Budget Responsibility had recently acknowledged that the NHS in England would receive a falling percentage of national income until 2020.
Lamb said: “These new figure show why we can’t just keep sleepwalking into a disaster. The NHS and care systems will crash if we carry on as we are because the current amount [going into the NHS] is not enough and everyone in the NHS knows it.”

Stephen Dorrell, the ex-Conservative health secretary who is now the chair of the NHS Confederation, said he suspected ministers would give the NHS in England more than the promised £10bn before 2020 and that funding would grow again, by somewhere between £16bn and £43bn, soon after 2020.He called for political parties and others to join in a “national conversation” on how much money the health and social care systems would need in coming years, given the ageing population, and how it should be paid for.
Ministers declined to comment on Appleby’s figures. The Department of Health said it was giving the NHS the extra money that its chief executive, Simon Stevens, had said it needed by 2020 in order to keep providing good care while also changing how services operate.
“Rather than there being a political decision about levels of spending on healthcare, for the first time ever, the NHS said collectively in the Five Year Forward View what it needed for the future to transform services for patients,” a spokesman said.
“We’re meeting our side of the bargain, with £10bn more from a strong economy, raising the NHS budget to the highest level in its history and increasing spending every year. We will also ensure the NHS gives good value for taxpayers.”





Striking for patient safety and 'survival of the NHS'



Check the link here:

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Medics & Mansfield - Fighting to keep us safe

​SOH Supporter and striking junior doctors outside CX. Massive support from public who know this is about patient safety.  Next planned strike days 26th - 28th January.

First SOH stall of the year Sat 16th Jan 2 - 4pm Lyric Square  King St
We'll have a new leaflet updating people on the doctors and nurses' disputes locally and the findings of the  Mansfield  Commission into Shaping a Healthier Future's cuts and closures programme. Join us for an hour or two if you can - hot chocolate afterwards.

Scrutiny of the Mansfield  Report Tues 19th Jan 7pm Courtyard Room Hammersmith Town Hall
The Policy and Accountability Committee may not sound fascinating (& that's the short title) but it's where NHS bosses will be questioned about the closures plans in the light of Mansfield. Public are welcome!

HealthWatch Forum on the Community Independence Service Wed 20th Jan 2 - 4.30pm Monk's Room, St James the Less Church Moreton SW1V 2PS  Register here
SOH Stall outside CX Hospital Thurs 21st Jan 12 - 2 
We'll be leafleting CX with our new leaflet updating patients, staff and visitors on Mansfield and the doctors and nurses disputes. Come if you can.

Mayoral Hustings Wed 3rd Feb 6.30pm Royal Geographic Society Exhibition Rd
The election for London's mayor is a golden opportunity to build support for the campaign to save CX Hospital and push candidates to take a clear policy opposing the closure. We want lots of questions about CX at the hustings in Kensington so please submit some and attend if you can. 
LONDON MAYORAL HUSTINGS - London Evening Standard.

Regards,
Anne Drinkell(SOH secretary)


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

How YOU can support the junior doctors

As the BMA announce the first 'emergency care only' doctors strike in the NHS's history - your junior doctors need YOU.


Image: Flickr/Garry Knight
Junior Doctors across England are set to commence industrial action on Tuesday 12th January. We are opposing this government’s attempt to impose an unsafe new contract on the medical profession. It is our view that the proposed contract represents an existential danger to the NHS as an institution.
You may be aware that the BMA had initially suspended its planned industrial action at the start of December and returned to talks with the Department of Health. That decision was made in good faith. However, over the last few weeks, in the course of negotiations with Government we have encountered only intransigence. It is clear that the government perceives our contract issue as pivotal for its attempt to “reform” the NHS towards a neoliberal, commercialised system.
It is therefore evident to us that we have no choice but to transform our 98% ballot mandate into action.
The developments of the next few months will have consequences stretching far into the future. This government is wilfully putting at risk our patients' safety, the tolerability of our working lives as NHS workers and the very viability of the NHS as a publicly-funded, publicly-provided service.
Why we need YOU 
The coming period will be the ultimate test of the BMA’s resolve as a Union. However, we remain mindful of the fact that the BMA is not an abstract entity operating in isolation from wider political developments. There is no way that we can win this on our own. We need all concerned citizens, activists and trade unionists to stand alongside us in this fight.
Over the last few months we have been in dialogue with many trade unionists throughout the country and we have been enormously grateful for their support both at a local and national level. The public messages of support from our allied health worker colleagues, the firefighters, the teaching unions and the TUC and TUCG unions have galvanised junior doctors.
We are therefore well aware that all eyes are upon us and that the institutions which represent the wider working class stand with us in solidarity.
We are in no doubt that Osborne, Cameron and Hunt will use the proposed doctor’s contract as a tool for achieving the destruction of safe terms and conditions throughout the NHS and throughout the public sector. The Conservative Party is attempting to stretch the NHS into an ostensibly 7-day elective service whilst simultaneously launching the biggest assault on NHS resources in its history. The politics of austerity represents a clear and present danger to the nation’s health.
A victory for the Junior Doctors would signify the first real crack in the entire edifice of austerity in the UK.
Please stand with us. And when you need us, ask us. We will stand by you.
Invitation to attend our pickets
On behalf of the entire BMA we thank you all for your incredible support so far. Many of you will have seen the details with regards to the planned action and I will reiterate them below. We invite you to come out and display your visible support for us on the days of action.
·        The action will begin with an emergency care-only model, which would see junior doctors provide the same level of service that happens in their given specialty, hospital or GP practice on Christmas Day. It will then escalate to full walk-outs. The action as proposed is:
Emergency care only — 24 hrs from 8am Tuesday 12 January to 8am Wednesday 13 January
Emergency care only — 48 hrs from 8am Tuesday 26th January to 8am Thursday 28 January
Full withdrawal of labour — from 8am to 5pm Wednesday 10th February
·        The aim is to picket all major hospitals in England on all three days of proposed action. Pickets will be in the vicinity of the main entrances and will start at 8am, continuing until at least 12.30pm (see map of already planned pickets here). However, many picket sites will continue into the evening, especially at the larger hospitals.
·        Along with the pickets there will be parallel “Meet the Doctors” events at nearby transport stops or public spaces. We will direct you to these events from the picket.
·        Please turn up on the days of action, and give us your support. We will then inform you if other local events are planned on the day. If you are an allied health worker, trade unionist or campaigner please do consider bringing along the banner representing your organisation, your working uniform or similar. We would appreciate it however if banners in explicit endorsement of specific political parties are not displayed and that any selling of campaign literature such as newspapers is relatively discreet.
·        On the days of action, please do debate us, educate us and invite us to address your colleagues in your workplace or trade union branch.
Not just doctors
I would also like to take this opportunity to remind you of another important upcoming date. On Saturday 9th January student nurses, midwives and allied health workers will be marching in opposition to Government plans to scrap the NHS student bursary. The protest will assemble outside St Thomas’s hospital at midday and proceed to Downing St. The BMA will be marching alongside the nursing students and we hope to see you there!
Just as the social democratic consensus in this country began with the inception of the NHS in 1948 so too will the NHS be the site of Britain’s last stand against the all-consuming forces of austerity.
Solidarity is the antidote to the cynicism of those in power. Now is the time to stand together in a common defence of the NHS. If not now, when?
Dr Yiannis Gourtsoyannis is a member of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee Executive, and a doctor of infectious medicine at a major London teaching hospital.
DR YANNIS GOURTSOYANNIS 5 January 2016

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