Last week saw a flurry of activity in opposition to the planned “reforms” of the NHS in Nottinghamshire. There were protests at the two “listening” events held in the county and a well received stall in the Market Square on Saturday. In Worksop, campaigners dressed as Robin Hood distributed leaflets in the town centre inviting people to the listening exercise there on Friday. Another Notts Uncut action, this time focusing on the NHS, is planned for next weekend.
Upcoming event: Notts Uncut Emergency Operation, Saturday May 28th, 12 noon, outside Boots, Parliament St, Nottingham.
On the newswire: Worksop NHS protest | Notts ‘Save Our NHS’ campaigning stall | Reports on NHS “listening” events in Notts | Picket of NHS ‘Listening Exercise’ evening | Picket of NHS “listening” event
Previous feature: Nottingham Mobilises to Save NHS
Edwinstowe, Tuesday 17th May
There were two “listening” events held in Nottinghamshire, one in the city and the other, for those in the north of the county, in Edwinstone. There was a protest outside organised by the Bassetlaw anti-cuts group who gave out leaflet: Save Our NHS From Lansley (doc) wearing their Robin Hood hats with “Robin Hood says Keep our NHS public” and “Robin Hood says the NHS belongs to the people not big business”.
About 100 people attended the listening event, mainly older people. There was considerable opposition to the Bill proposals particularly to the privatisation of the NHS. It was quite heated and people were keen to ask questions from the floor. The meeting was fronted by Zoe, the PCT Public Involvement Manager who was asked difficult questions and took the flack – apparently no one from the Future Forum had been able to attend.
There was a presentation on what’s happening (with much interupting by questions) and then group work (based on the 4 topics in the Listening exercise) and feedback to the whole group. Responses will be collated and fed into the Department of Health. There were no GPs or MPs present, as far as this reporter was aware. It was round table stuff – but every table reporting back made it quite clear privatisation was not an option and the reorganisation should be shelved.
Note: Bassetlaw is not part of NHS County – it is joining up with Doncaster and Rotherham.
Nottingham, Wednesday 18th May
About 20 of Notts SOS turned out on 18th May to picket the NHS listening event held at the Belgrave Rooms in the city. Placards and notices saying Kill the Bill, Bin the Bill, Hands Off Our NHS, Sickness is Not a Profit Making Industry, made our point clear. Many people arriving for the event stopped to look at our stall, pick up information and newsletters and talk, and passing vehicles hooted their support. The new Notts SOS printed waterproof banner with our name and logo on was ready for the event, and tied to the front of the stall. Some campaigners then went inside to join the exercise when it began at 6pm, but a presence was kept outside throughout and interested members of the public continued to stop and ask what it was all about.
The listening exercise was run jointly by Nottingham City and Nottingham County PCTs (Primary Care Trusts). Present were PCT staff, and Vicky Bailey who is a member of the government’s NHS Future Forum and chief officer of an existing GP consortium (Principia). The chair of the Future Forum, Prof. Steve Field, said earlier this week that the proposed NHS reforms were unworkable. The Nottingham meeting was overwhelmingly opposed to competition in the NHS and the use of private contractors. But the impression gained by the audience of about a hundred, was that the exercise was only concerned with making cosmetic changes to the underlying plan, and leaving the marketisation of the NHS untouched. Those present who left their names and addresses were promised that they would be sent a copy of the summary of opinion that will be forwarded to the Future Forum. No-one who attended could be left in any doubt that the public are overwhelmingly opposed to this government plan.
Nottingham, Saturday 21st May
On Saturday, Notts SOS held a stall in the Market Square to distribute leaflets zbout the government’s plans for the NHS and get people to sign a petition. Some campaigners wore white coats emblazoned with slogans criticising the Health and Social Care Bill.
The stall was well received with people almost universally opposed to the marketisation of the NHS and eager to sign the petition. Aroun 1,000 leaflets were given out in less than two hours.
Worksop, Saturday 21st May
Robin Hood and his band of helpers descended on Bridge Street, Worksop, last Saturday to tell the folk of Worksop that they had been missed out of the Government’s NHS “Listening Exercise”. Meetings had been held in Edwinstowe and Nottingham by NHS Nottinghamshire and the South Yorkshire PCT had held a meeting at Doncaster, last Monday that was attended by three people. Bassetlaw’s MP had not been told about the meeting and Bassetlaw people had not been invited to take part.
The group have asked John Mann to organise Bassetlaw’s own Listening Exercise and the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, and a representative from Future Forum, the group appointed by the Government to Listen to the People, will be invited to speak at a Public Meeting to be held at Worksop Town Hall, on Friday 27th May, at 7.00 pm.
The Bassetlaw Protecting our People and Services Group gave out leaflets and collected 622 signatures, in just over 2 hours, on a petition to Keep our NHS Public. Barry Donlan, a spokesperson for the group said Robin Hood would approve of the group using his name to defend the National Health Service for the people. He said that, “The Government’s proposals include turning the National Health Service into a National health market with profits for private providers funded through taxpayers’ money. Private companies would ‘cherry pick’ the simpler procedures to deliver and leave the more costly procedures for the taxpayer to fund”. Councillor David Potts said that Government advisers had said that future reforms would “show no mercy to the NHS and offer a big opportunity to the for profit sector”.
Robin Hood’s helpers gave out invitations to the Public Meeting and urged everyone to attend.
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