It's our NHS: Don't Slash, Trash and Privatise

12 November 2016

Dear councillors in England - the NHS needs you

The government wants local areas to deliver plans that will Slash, Trash and Privatise our NHS (and to deal with the crisis that follows). But if councils refuse to sign up to the plans, we have a chance of stopping them.

Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) sound nice. In reality, 'sustainability' is code for cuts and 'transformation' is code for privatisation. Indeed, the NHS England director of strategy Michael Macdonnell said STPs offered private sector an “enormous opportunity”.

There are 44 plans for 'footprint' areas across England. The plans - which are supposed to be signed off by Christmas - had been developed in secret until pressure from the public forced them into the open. As a result of this pressure, all 44 STPs have now been published, but many lack vital information to enable the public and councillors to see what is really going on. What we do know is that they deliver deep cuts to NHS services and plenty of encouragement to the private sector to get involved.

Councils have to sign off these plans before they can be delivered. Councillors - please say no, don't sign up to Slash, Trash and Privatise the NHS.

Don't put lives at risk

The government wants councils to sign up to plans now and commit to drastic cuts that will put people's lives at risk. The plans are expected to slash the number of A&Es in England: a third of health leaders are considering closing A&E departments. Staffordshire has announced that it will close an A&E department as a result of its STP. A 38 Degrees investigation showed that the plans include huge shortfalls of millions of pounds – patients just can't be cared for properly without more funding.

Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing and Sutton councils have refused to sign up to the plans. What does the plan look like for your area? Will it put lives at risk?

“We condemn the Tory government for drawing up these plans. This is about closing hospitals and getting capital receipts. It’s a cynical rehash of earlier plans and is about the breaking up and selling off of the NHS. It will lead to a loss of vital services and will put lives at risk. Our job is to protect the NHS and this plan is about dismantling it. This document is an affront to the sensibilities of the people of north-west London.” Steve Cowan, leader of Hammersmith & Fulham council

“We refused to sign up to the STP plans because we do not support the closure of Ealing and Charing Cross acute hospitals … We have made it abundantly clear that we will campaign until our last breath to save Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals. We do support some of the proposals for more integrated health and social care but we feel we will be punished for not signing up to these plans.” Julian Bell, leader of Ealing council

Warning bells are ringing

Thankfully, all 44 of the STPs have now been published. But often they don't include important financial information and evidence. Julia Simon, the former head of NHS England commissioning, has denounced the STP process as 'shameful', 'mad', 'ridiculous' and the plans as full of lies. Only 16% of NHS finance directors believe sustainable STPs are achievable by 2021. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has said "These plans that are emerging via different routes, if true, are potentially catastrophic and will put lives at risk" as almost a third of CCG leaders are considering closing emergency departments. How would your area deliver its plan? Is it realistic?

Defend our public NHS

Privatisation of our NHS is happening. Recently, Virgin won contracts for 200 NHS services in Bath. STPs will increase the pressure to privatise, both by running down the NHS with cuts (so the private sector can swoop in to provide the solution) and through guidance that encourages a key role for private companies in planning and delivering services. An NHS England director has said STPs offer private companies 'an enormous amount of opportunity'. Is that what people want in your area?

Privatisation wastes public money that could be spent on patient care. We already spend at least £4.5 billion on the NHS market. Private Finance Initiative deals have wasted £250 billion. We need to stop privatisation, not waste more money on it.

84% of the public support the NHS being publicly owned. The government knows privatising the NHS is hugely unpopular. That's why they're trying to devolve the decision making to local areas, taking the 'N' out of the NHS.

You're on the frontline

This is it now - you're on the frontline of saving our NHS. NHS England health plans assume partnership with local authorities and they imply shared responsibility for the (potentially very serious) consequences. That means councillors, council leaders and mayors can play a vital role by refusing to sign up to these plans. This is about local democracy. Please stand up for our NHS.

Don't sign up to the plans - thank you!

Ask your councillors not to sign up to the plans to Slash, Trash and Privatise our NHS.

Read more on OurNHS: 'Councillors must look before they leap into secret NHS cuts plans'.

Do you believe in public services for people not profit?

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Lynda Harvey replied on Permalink

This government has no right to go ahead with these plans. We pay through our National Insurance contributions for the NHS to privatise this is to GIVE our money to Richard Branson.

Belinda Lowis replied on Permalink

Where can I find the plan for Durham which has been released

Cat replied on Permalink

Belinda - is it this one?

Ian Winkworth replied on Permalink - which also has a facility for asking questions. I am waiting for responses about privatisation and why the option of more funding is not discussed.

Keith replied on Permalink

A lot of hospitals as in MOD now rely on contractors to provide food and cleaning and this is not as is repeatedly stated free enterprise it is replacing one monopoly; NHS with another; Compass, Sodexo, ISS, Capita. Local managers have contracting out taken out of their hands and purchase, recruitment is run centrally by these companies and ultimately shareholders. If proposals adopted it will not be very long before as in military establishments which now operate a system called pay as you dine, food for patients will be paid for by them at end of treatment because they already have IT systems in place which NHS has not. Contractor will totally ignore local suppliers because of preferred supplier rules drawn up miles away and try and get any information of any of these contracts; just bang your head against the wall for any reply under commercial confidentiality rules! Staff with poorer t&cs than NHS cannot be blamed for high turnover; just look at recruitment website for Compass who name their medical division Medirest and is full of vacancies.

Jim Jones replied on Permalink

This vital campaign needs to be run in conjunction with a campaign of opposition to CETA and TTIP which also threaten privatisation and enshrine the result in law.

Karen Renshaw replied on Permalink

The NHS is a public golden assert . I am strongly opposed to dismantling of the vital services we deliver via this service. I strongly object to the NHS being starved of cash required and demand that this Government inject the amount promised I recent elections

Elizabeth Holland replied on Permalink

I'm really concerned about the STPs there has been no public consultation, and people are being misled about what is really happening.

George Talbot replied on Permalink

I tried to prevent the NHS being privatised after the Coalition government introduced Lansley's Health and Social Care Bill. But since Parliament made this law in 2012, privatisation has proceeded.

The Sustainability and Transformation Plans are about keeping within the tight budgets set by government and finding better ways of achieving health. Their areas usefully bring independent providers together. But Simon Stevens has been asking for more funding. Thus in mid October he told the Commons Health Select Committee: “The original modelling suggested a funding requirement in five years’ time of between £8bn and £21bn, depending on the level of efficiency which could be produced, the continuing availability of social care relative to rising need, the availability of capital investment to lubricate new service models – ... –, the availability of preventative services through local authorities, and the role the NHS itself has to play.” More at

The economy could provide adequate funding for the NHS for a Parliament or two if it grew normally and if the budget deficits were eliminated by correcting the structural faults in global deregulation. But as the NHS Support Federation noted in its December email: “By 2020 – after all the announced funding has gone in, we will be spending the same on our healthcare – per head of our population – as we were in 2010.” Charts show the low OECD ranking of UK health spending in 2013 and how its share of GDP would fall by 2021 (despite more people). See

Lesleyjane Clifford replied on Permalink

I've received a reply from one of my local councillors, thought you'd like to see it. Which email address can I forward it to?

Cat replied on Permalink

Hi Lesleyjane, you can send it to - thank you!

Gloria Tanner replied on Permalink

I support this campaign & urge all Councillors in England to support it also. The NHS is not for sale!

Pat Hetherington replied on Permalink

Please vote against this and keep our NHS public, free and and one of our greatest achievements. If your government destroys it they will never be forgiven. We all need and depend on its care.

alan shepherdson replied on Permalink

Please don't sign away our health and lifeline from our NHS,we have the best doctors, specialists surgeon's and nurses in the world,if you let this privatistion through the back door it will be the end of the NHS,privatisation is about making money not about giving first class health services,reject the minister of money grabbing health,say no,no, no,if you let this happen the first day they will sell the land the second day sell off the good building's the third day reduce wages, fourth day find cheap doctors and nurses to replace the one's that left because of cut in salary,5th day Chaos,please, please, please,don't let them in,this minister of health is determined to the privatisation of the whole of the NHS,you and Councils like you can stop this dead,refuse to accept the offer.

hopefully yours,

alan s

Helen Ritchie replied on Permalink

I agree wholeheartedly with Alan but I think we need to gather opinions on what the NHS should fund! It ll be difficult for those who have a vested interest but there are some provided services/ care that only a few benefit from.

Helen Ritchie replied on Permalink

I agree wholeheartedly with Alan but I think we need to gather opinions on what the NHS should fund! It ll be difficult for those who have a vested interest but there are some provided services/ care that only a few benefit from.

Joan Lilly replied on Permalink

We need to keep our NHS not privatise it! It should not be for sale nor should private companies profit from it!

Edna Palmer replied on Permalink

Southport and Formby CCG have just given our Community Nursing over to a Company called Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust who has only one registered entity Red Rose Corporate Services LLP who in turn have two registered entities Lancashire NHS Foundation Trust and Ryhurst ( Lancashire Step) Limited, I have it on good authority that no Directors are listed which makes it look suspicious, comments anyone, who has the fingers in the till in this one

Save Good Hope'... replied on Permalink

Wish our local representatives would stand up and fight the STP's here in Birmingham! Silence.

Roderick Franci... replied on Permalink

It doesn't surprise. Because the Tories have always been against the NHS from day one. I do think the first chance they get they will privatise the NHS. The media is playing a part also. All they are giving you is the negative news of the NHS, and never giving the good things that happening in the NHS.

Irene Henson replied on Permalink

The NHS is ours, it's not yours to sell ... I do not agree with the STP's as these are the forerunners to total privatisation ... HANDS OFF OUR NHS!!!

John murphy replied on Permalink

Stand up for our NHS,stop giving our hard earned money which we glady give to support our Health Services to private providers who se main concern is profit for their shareholders.

F.Mather replied on Permalink

The NHS must not be privatised. Don't believe the lies about it being 'broken' . This is not democracy.

Rachel Wallace replied on Permalink

It's vital we keep our NHS public. Look at the state of insurance led health services in countries like America where a vast number of people do not/cannot have insurance. Private companies will not touch the likes of me. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Not my fault I've had asthma all my life, not my fault I had a brain haemorrhage in my teens. With a system of private healthcare I would be left to die or spend my entire life trying to pay back money I have no means or ability of finding. Keeping it national makes everyone's health everyone's problem.

Cllr. T . Milns replied on Permalink

You could sort all the NHS problems in 1 min , get rid of a couple of tiers of management !

Roger replied on Permalink

In terms of health care only, It would appear that the late Fidel Castro would be much preferable to Jeremy Hunt! Which one's the dictator?

Gerry and Brend... replied on Permalink

Like all the rest of the Tory governments privatisations it will be a TOTAL DISASTER.People REMEMBER this when next they plead for tour vote.

David Cole replied on Permalink

Even with the additional pressures underfunding has placed on the shoulders of the NHS I have not yet heard anything but praise for the staff. Doctors,nurses, all front line staff have worked tirelessly to maintain the well being of people in their care. NHS you,ll do for me, Branson can stick his money where he likes but not here.

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