BARTS TRUST SIGNS DEAL WITH AMERICAN COMPANY

Did you know that Barts. Hospital Trust are using taxpayers’ money to fund an American private company for consultation on “quality Improvement” ? With talk of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit opening up the possibility of trade deals with the US including the NHS and with record numbers of outsourced contracts with private companies on the previous Government’s watch we need to be very wary.
Earlier this year in response to a question from Newham save Our NHS regarding the deal struck up with IHI ( International Health Improvement) we were told that a 3 year contract ( with the possibility of renewal for a further two years ) would cost Barts ( which already has a massive deficit ) £1.6m. Earlier, in December of 2018 Tony Halton, Managing Director of Newham Hospital, had tweeted “Brilliant to have IHI join us at Newham Hospital this morning as we step up our Quality improvement journey”.
The 3 year contract entitled “Quality Improvement partner ” is between Barts Trust, the East London Foundation Trust and IHI. This was awarded to IHI despite the existence of substantial resources and experience within the NHS itself. This was a very shady deal. We repeatedly asked for the cost of the deal. On 7th. November 2018 we tabled a question to which we eventually got the verbal response ” we will tell you later” At the January 2019 Board meeting ( the Board now only meets once every two months) the written response was that we would be told “in due course” and that “details of contracts were commercial in confidence”.
On 23rd January we repeated our request for the costs of the contract to be revealed. Thankfully, Barts decided in the end to accede to our request and detailed the terms of the contract, though in rather vague terms. Apparently, IHI offered Barts Trust a “WeImprove Hub” which involved a two day visit by IHI followed by a Barts Trust seminar. This was what Tony Halton had tweeted about in glowing terms.Later on IHI will provide “coaching” and will work “virtually” with Barts to improve ‘Quality performance’. One wonders what could be so “brilliant” about a private company offering advice based in a country which doesn’t even provide healthcare for its own citizens except in return for Healthcare Insurance at exorbitant rates for profit.

Meeting Declares proposed MSG Sphere in Newham to be Threat to the Environment and to Public Health.

Everyone knows that the environment in which we live is a major factor in determining the health of our community. Public concerns in Newham over the proposed MSG sphere, a massive 25 000 capacity advertising hoard and entertainment venue , were expressed at a consultation meeting in Stratford last night.

Attended by the Stop the MSG Sphere campaign and over 70 people, the meeting was addressed by a facilitator and by Daniel Davis of the LLDC ( London Legacy Development Corporation ) . From the outset the campaign group expressed unconditional opposition to the project and their concerns were taken up also by local residents.

Questions were raised about the impact of noise and light pollution on the local community, the impact on existing transport infrastructure and the absence of any benefits for the residents living nearby or in adjoining communities who would be subject to massive flashing light adverts and tens of thousands of people converging on the venue from other locations.

According to the local campaign, 90% of residents oppose this and many they spoke to on the doorstep were not even aware of its existence. Instead, MSG have restricted their ‘consultation ‘ process to Westfield Shopping centre ( with people who on the whole don’t even come from the local community ) and to those living only metres from the proposed site. In fact, the impact on student accommodation has been downplayed because they are only temporary residents ! Occupants of the new Legacy Tower are mortified that having invested in living there they will now be on the doorstep of probably the biggest music and entertainment venue in Europe.

The two planning applications for building work and for advertising will be decided by a Board with only a few elected councillors from Newham and the other two boroughs affected and other ‘Independent’ members. The site originally bought by Westfield for £9m was sold to MSG, an entertainment conglomerate based in Manhattan, for a phenomenal £60m two years later. Instead of considering other options and with no consideration for any beneficial “heritage” in consultation with the local community, the site has instead been earmarked for “leisure”, by which they mean profiteering activities which many in the local community won’t even be able to afford. This fits neatly into the so-called “nighttime economy” and appears to have the backing of Sadiq Khan, London mayor.

MSG have evaded restrictions to lighting levels by redefining the purpose of the structure , so putting people’s health at risk and also acting as a distraction for car, bus and even train drivers. The lighting on the screens on the dome, on the ‘podium’ supporting the structure and on surrounding hoardings, according to a lighting expert at the meeting, will be 7 times the acceptable safe limit. This for a venue open at least 300 days in the year with hours from 11.00am till 4.00 am with the possibility of licensing till 5.00am. The LLDC have four times rejected applications for much smaller advertising hoards on the basis of public health and Safety and yet seem intent on supporting this one. They argue that they can’t take a position on it. Many at the meeting feel that whatever the legal position is, the Council should be seeking grounds to oppose it.

Even though the structure is supposed to be soundproofed, the sound of 20 500 people at such an venue will be heard by residents in those poorer communities close to it. Over the next 10 years the population of north east London is due to increase by 17% and yet we have no infrastructure in place to deal with this, not even a new hospital, and the pressures of such large numbers of temporary visitors to the venue on policing and on health and safety will be enormous. There could be as many as three events daily with many people driving to the venue and with large numbers of Uber drivers clogging up traffic as they do at current football and music events. The similar sphere in New York is surrounded by car parks and is sited completely separate from residential areas.

Newham Council recently declared a ‘climate emergency’ but seems to be acquiescing in a proposal which will see massive increases in plastic pollution and demand for waste disposal strategies as well as sound pollution and light pollution. The screen inside the dome will be 15 000 sq.metres in size! It was pointed out that research has established links between high levels of light pollution and women’s breast cancer. Air pollution with the increased traffic will rocket!

When the ‘facilitator’ began illustrating the decision making structures there was uproar when MSG were placed top of the tree. Such was the resentment when we were told this was private land and it could be used for any purposes associated with ‘leaisure’ there were shouts of ” It’s our land” and interjections about why as a local community we could not have a proper legacy following the Olympic Park promises which would be of real benefit to the local community. When they say that as a town centre we need an entertainment venue, they ignore that fact that this ‘town centre’ is also a residential area whose needs were not being addressed.

Clearly those people present were fiercely opposed not just to the proposal itself and the implications for public health and the environment all in the name of “sustainable development” , but were outraged by the process by which this land had been purchased and effectively appropriated by an unaccountable profiteering international corporation. The London Mayor, following two sets of recommendations from the LLDC and the Board , will make the final decision. The consultation period is ending on 28th. June. The MSG campaign are hoping to put questions to the local council when it next meets. Please send your objections to planningenquiries@londonlegacy.co.uk and copy in mayor@london.gov.uk using references 19/00097/FUL and 19/00098/ADV. Also contact the campaign group if you want to help out by emailing stopMSGLondon@gmail.com or find them at facebook.com/groups/StopMSGSphere

A and E or not A and E ?

Residents of Newham may be relieved to know that the original proposal in 2011 by BHRUT ( Barking , Havering, Redbridge University Trust ) to transfer patients redirected as a result of closure of King George’s Accident and Emergency Unit to Newham General and Whips Cross has apparently been scrapped. Unfortunately, it appears that the truth of the matter is not quite so simple and there are lessons for all of us here. In fact, the plan detailed in 2016 and revealed in a document made available in April 2019 reveals what in essence is a transformation of the A and E into…..an A and E , but not as we know it! NHSE have redefined A and E so we are battling here with a game of semantics. Type 1 A and E is what we all understand by the acronym as a unit offering 24 hour blue light emergency services ( ie. ambulances) and resuscitation etc. Type 2 A and E offers only specialist services such as ophthalmology with no 24 hour ambulance services. Type 3 are what are now boasted to be Urgent Care Centres. Again, they do not take blue light calls. So what is happening at King George is that the current A and E is to be transformed into an urgent care centre specialising in care for the elderly. So it is NOT an A and E service as we commonly understand the term and we are having the wool pulled over our eyes when told it is not closing.

The other game being played is to lump together 4 hour wait times between Type 1 and Type 2 patients currently attending King George’s. Ultimately the blue light service will be transferred to Queen’s hospital where the effects of a huge increase in intake will detrimentally affect health outcomes. In February 2019 the 4 hour waiting times looked good but when you separate out the Type 1 intake it transpires that only 69% of patients were seen inside the 4 hours. Be warned. Look closely at figures presented by any Trust in this way and don’t take it for granted that you are being given the whole picture when told that an A and E is not closing.

Positive Step Forward in Fight Against the ‘Hostile Environment’ in the NHS

NEWSON ( Newham Save Our NHS ) issued a Press release at the end of last month attacking the hostile environment policy at Newham General University hospital. We congratulated Newham Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Commission for recommending their Draft Report on Newham University Hospital Improvement, which is confirmed by the Council Scrutiny Officer, Robert Brown, as now being in the public domain. The Newham draft report confirms ( para 28) that Barts NHS Trust “continue to use the Home Office Immigration Enforcement Checking and Advice Service.” .” Also highlighted in the Newham Council report , however, (para 29) is the recommendation by the national doctors’ organisation, The Royal College of Physicians, that these regulations about charging some people for NHS care is a “barrier to care.” The doctors in The Faculty for Public Health agree, since denying some people free NHS care has “potential implications for public Health.”

Rosamund Mykura from NEWSON said that sending patients names to the Home Office along with other information such as passport numbers, debt status etc. is detrimental to public health. The Home Office has helped deny free care to patients based on mistaken data. Barts should desist from passing on information about migrants to the Home Office . Even the House of Commons committee for Public accounts has said that the Home office is “ making life-changing decisions on people’s rights , based on incorrect data which is not fit for purpose.” Some patients have been charged thousands of pounds, including for a child birth at Newham hospital.

Newham Save our NHS says to Newham Council, in its Press Release “We urge Newham Council to go further and to join with Barts NHS Trust to warn the government that using NHS staff for immigration control, is damaging to the NHS. Newham patients may delay or avoid treatment through fear, or be targetted by debt collectors or by government immigration control who run a Home Office system that is complex, which makes mistakes and which is unfit for purpose.”Stephen Timms MP shared our concerns with the hostile environment and Lynn Brown MP has consistently asked questions on this during PM’s question time following a meeting with our campaign group. The draft report having been approved by the Chair is to be formally presented at the next full Council meeting in July.

A local campaign group, Magpie, have taken their concerns about the Hostile Environment to the “Guardian”. In the article they express concerns over the fact that some children in Newham have been denied access to local council services and free health care because of their parents’ immigration status. NEWSON will be taking these and other concerns to a private meeting with CCG managers from Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest who collectively manage NHS issues under the umbrella of the WEL in the near future .

Our campaign against migrant charging is now over a year old. It is of concern that Barts has refused to take up this issue with the Home Office. They argue that as a Trust it is not in their remit to protest to Government departments. Nevertheless, the draft report by Scrutiny and its endorsement by Newham Council, assuming they abide by the Chair’s endorsement, represents a significant step in the right direction .

Downgrading of Referral procedures for GP’s


Under current practice GP’s can refer patients to a large number of surgical procedures. NHSE ( NHS England ) have now given CCG’s( Clinical Commissioning Groups) two lists of procedures which will now not automatically be referred to consultants. Thus, to seek private healthcare for things like haemorrhoids, cataracts, breast reduction and others, patients will have to face a hurdle of restrictions placed on GP’s by the NHSE.
It has been argued that this is a rationalisation process but this is at odds with NHSE’s claims that regional variations in demand are at the root of the process. If so, why the catch all bureaucratic response which threatens to take away the decision making powers of local GP’s in consultation with patients who have their own unique needs. NHSE point out that this initiative is also there to “maximise value” . So at the heart of it this is actually about making cuts. Between 2013 and 2018 the number of people waiting over 18 weeks for elective care surgery grew from 153 000 to 528 000. The NHS is straining to deal with these pressures with inadequate resources.

The Category 2 interventions on their list of procedures which may face the axe is taken directly from McKinsey’s 2009 presentation to the Dept of Health. Remember it was McKinsey which produced the two documents following the 2012 WEF ( World Economic Forum ) conference in Davos, citing model transformations for privatising the NHS. Many CCG’s are already restricting access to treatments of proven value, such as cataracts, and hip and knee surgery. There is also some confusion among GP’s themselves about what treatments are still available. This is value-based rationing.

Primary care networks and long term transformation initiatives threaten NHS model


“GP at Hand”, the digital GP platform run by private company, Babylon, proposes to set up a stand alone primary care network. Under the new five year contract for GPs, all practices in England and Wales are obliged to join primary care networks for 30-50 000 registered patients. GP at hand currently has 50 000 on its books. Recently growing pressures on GPs to limit waiting times by taking on extra overtime have met with refusal of many GPs to take on the extra work because they are being charged inordinate taxes for the extra hours . But “GP at Hand ” has patients from a wide geographical area bringing into question their capacity to become a PCN. On that basis as the GPC chair, Richard Vautrey has said, a PCN not geographically based is “ completely at variance with “ the place-based model of care promulgated by the NHS.
Londonwide LMC chief exec. Dr Michelle Drage said that plans for GP at Hand to form a PCN could “disrupt the system to the point of destruction….destabilising all current NHS services in London”. She further asked the Health secretary who is a registered patient and public advocate for GP at Hand, “ will all GP practices and networks be governed by the same rule book? “


Warning from the Horse’s Mouth


In a recent lecture to the Royal Society of Medicine NHS chief exec Simon Stephens ( one time lobbyist in the US for private healthcare ) expressed concerns that poorer communities perceived their health services to be at risk of erosion! Thanks for telling us Simon. The concentration of specialist equipment concentrated in certain areas was, he said, eroding the traditional General hospital model. This trend, he continued, “ shows up as protests, political activity and a sense of the tide going out from these Communities” ( reported in HSJ, professional health managers journal 21st May 2019) . Continued erosion would propogate “ third order effects in terms of economic impact and social cohesion”.

A Conversation at InHealth in Stratford

I recently took advantage of a free abdominal scan. When you reach a certain age the NHS offers you a free scan. Of course, this has been contracted out and in this case the company sited in Stratford near to the Unex Tower which houses our local CCG and is the venue for the joint CCG’s to meet, is “InHealth.” Next door to that is “Lantern Health “with its Carpenter’s Practice. In conversation with the health worker at InHealth I learned that his contract had been moved over to InHealth and for the moment, at least, his contractual terms of employment were unchanged. Complimenting me on my KONP badge , however, he was keen to warn me about the dangers of Brexit and US companies. Like many other young healthworkers he had , he said, no option but to work for a private health company, given financial pressures.

Victory Against Circle Company in NHS Procurement Battle

Circle group lost its bid in Nottingham to procure a £320m contract to the Nottingham University Trust. Following precedents by Richard Branson’s Virgin which sued the NHS for failing to obtain similar bids, Circle prevented the CCG for commissioning for services in Nottingham last year. This year however the High court quashed their attempt to reverse the decision but Circle still intends to sue the CCG for damages for ‘unfair procurement’ . Whenever private companies sue for damages, whether in the railways industry or the NHS, it is public funds which compensate these vultures.

Post-Brexit Threat to the NHS

President Trump in a visit from today which is being boycotted by the Labour Party and faces a protest march tomorrow,has said that he intends for the NHS to be “on the table” in negotiations with the US following Brexit. Boris Johnson has also said, following Trump’s endorsement of him that he thinks that private US firms should be allowed in to the NHS along with chlorinated chicken and other US agricultural products. Nigel Farage, who also receives endorsement from Trump has also expressed a desire to set up insurance schemes to replace the free health care model of the NHS. Among the list of talentless candidates for Tory leader and unelected PM are Matt Hancock, who as Health Secretary oversaw the setting up of the foundations for ICP’s ( Integrated Care Partnerships, explained in some detail in a leaflet produced jointly by KONP ( Keep Our NHS Public), HCT (Health Campaigns Together) and ‘We Own It’), Boris Johnson, who supports opening the NHS up to private US companies and Dominic Raab, failed Brexit negotiator and a supporter of privatising the NHS by offering tax breaks or premiums to incentivise private companies to offer healthcare provision for profit as indicated in documents he produced in 2013 and 2014. Jonathan Ashworth, Labour MP and Shadow Health secretary has said “Campaigners are right to oppose the “’Integrated Care Contracts’ “. In the absence of a General Election , Health campaigners in the coming year will face renewed attacks on the NHS from every quarter.

The DSEI Arms Fair facing local oppostition

Newham Against the Arms Fair is a new group of activists campaigning locally about the upcoming DSEI Arms fair at the ExCeL centre in September.
We spoke to one of the organisers and local activist, Andy Perkins.

What is DSEI?

DSEI is one of the worlds biggest arms fairs and is held every two years in London Docklands in the borough of Newham. The letters stand for Defence and Security Equipment International, and is pronounced Dicey.

At the ExCeL exhibition centre from Sept 9th -13th International arms companies will meet up with military delegations from around the globe to show off the latest war technology. They are selling everything from bombs, drones, guns, warplanes, tanks, grenades as well as riot and restraint equipment and cyber warfare software.

These weapons are sold at great profit to countries in conflict, authoritarian regimes and countries carrying out serious and well documented human rights offences. Many of these weapons will be used against civilians in non combat areas.

Haven’t there have been lots of protests in the past about this?

Yes …at the last DSEI arms fair in 2017 over 100 people were arrested and the start of the arms fair was delayed. Hundreds of protesters came from around the country co-ordinated by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) under the organisational banner of “Stop the Arms Fair”

This year the protests look set to be even larger. In the week leading up to the start of the Arms Fair (2nd – 8th Sept), protesters will block the entrances to ExCeL, locking themselves onto vehicles, and causing as much disruption as possible to stop the weapons and equipment from getting into the exhibition centre.

As in 2017, “Stop the Arms Fair and CAAT are having different themes on each day of the protests.

Monday 2nd September: Stop Arming Israel
Tuesday 3rd September: No Faith in War
Wednesday 4th September: No Nuclear
Thursday 5th September: Conference at the Gates
Friday 6th September: Climate Justice
Saturday 7th September: Festival of Resistance
Sunday 8th September: Borders & Migration

The resistance involves not just blocking roads , but a peace camp along with music and art and theatre groups. To find out more go to https://www.stopthearmsfair.org.uk

How are Newham Against the Arms Fair taking action?

Newham Against the Arms Fair was set up earlier this year by Momentum activists in the area around the ExCeL exhibition centre. working alongside, and with help from, CAAT.

The campaign’s main aim is to raise awarenes amongst people living and working in the area of the arms fair, and to build local opposition, and to put pressure on local elected representatives to take action against the arms fair.

We have won support from the mayor of Newham, Rokhsana Fiaz. The local MP, Lyn Brown and local councillors are involved in the campaign. The local labour party and Unions have been passing motions of support and contributing financially. Local community groups and faith groups are also starting to get involved.

We have regular music protests outside the ExCeL exhibition centre, informing visitors to the various exhibitions there, of the coming arms fair.

We are also setting up street stalls and leafletting in local estates and high streets and looking to hold meetings and events leading up to September.
We have just started a petition on 38 degrees which we use in our campaigning , and you can sign at
https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-arms-fair-in-newham

Upcoming activities including leafletting ,stalls, film showing , and a protest outside the next Royal Docks development zone meeting are being announced announced regularly on our website https://newhamagainstthearmsfair.org
and you can also follow us on facebook and twitter. You are all welcome whether from Newham or not!