This page contains a photo gallery, a collection of campaign updates and media articles and an archive of previous events……


20th November 2018 – Minutes of  Joint Health Scrutiny Committee posted on Council website

Monday, 24 September 2018
This north east health scrutiny committee comprises three councillor representatives from each of the seven local councils, and focuses soley on the STP in the NE. It meets every two months at Gateshead Civic Centre.
Extract from the minutes of the September 2018 meeting:
“Mary Bewley, Head of Communications and Engagement, North East Commissioning Support provided the Joint Committee with information on the proposed approach to workforce communications and sought views.
Mr Whalley (Keep Our NHS Public) queried how ideas in relation to communications for ICS fit with the current national consultation on contracting arrangements for Integrated Care Providers given the controversy around ICPs equating to Accountable Care Organisations.
Mary advised that she was only involved in developing a communications strategy regarding the developing ICS in the NE and Cumbria and the workstreams and plans going forward.
Mr Whalley (Keep Our NHS Public) considered that there was a danger that this work was heading towards the development of Accountable Care Organisations as some of the areas highlighted had some resonance with that.
Mary advised that she would consider the comments made.”


The full minutes from 24th September 2018 are here:
(Click on Minutes in item 3)
In our view, if it walks like an ACO, and talks like an ACO, then it is an ACO – rebadging as an “Integrated Care Programme” certainly doesn’t paper over the cracks, and it is positive that the Councillors present at the September meeting seemed very aware of this.
The next Joint STP Health Scrutiny meeting is scheduled for 2pm on Monday 26th November 2018 at Gateshead Civic Centre – see you there?  KONPNE will be presenting our petition and the comments made on the large scale card provided by NE residents at the time of the NHS 70th birthday.

18th October 2018 – KONPNE meeting


Another busy meeting – lots of campaign items to feedback, discuss and plan….
…..and also even making time for a 40 minute discussion slot, which seemed well-received!!
The agenda is here:  18.10.18 – KONPNE agenda
and the notes from the meeting are here: 18.10.18 – KONPNE notes
Our next meeting takes place on Thursday 29th November 2018, at 7pm, at Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle upon Tyne. All welcome!! This is an open meeting for all who care about the NHS. Further details are here

24th September 2018 – A tale of two speakers in Gateshead…..

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Joint STP Health Scrutiny meeting today at Gateshead Civic Centre – three councillor reps from each of the local councils. The meeting included a presentation from Mary Bewley (the new head of communication and engagement for the STP) about the “Integrated Care Programme” workforce and communications issues – the content of the presentation, however, had much resonance with discredited Accountable Care Organisations (the presentation appeared to centre around staffing issues within large scale health and social care macro organisations) and this similarity was certainly not lost on the councillors present. Health campaigners also highlighted the fact that there is currently a national consultation on Integrated Care Programmes – and the proposals from the Comms Lead as set out at the meeting may well be a case of putting the cart before the horse….
This inauspicious presentation at this meeting was more than balanced by the contributions of Professor Allyson Pollock (Director of the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University) in her timely presentation to the same Committee at a follow-on meeting the same afternoon.
In our view, if it walks like an ACO, and talks like an ACO, then it is an ACO – rebadging as an “Integrated Care Programme” certainly doesn’t paper over the cracks, and it is positive that the Councillors present seemed very aware of this.
The next Joint STP Health Scrutiny meeting is scheduled for 2pm on Monday 26th November 2018 at Gateshead Civic Centre

6th September 2018 – KONPNE speaks

Another lively KONPNE meeting, this evening in the meeting rooms at Brunswick Methodist Church. It is good to meet with everyone to share ideas and also formulate plans for the future – there is always a great strength in this joint decision-making, and the ideas generated at this (and other) meetings are bolstered by everyones input…the whole is greater than the individual parts….
Also great to welcome and meet new members – all are very welcome.
The agenda for this meeting is here:  6.9.18 – KONPNE agenda    and the notes from the meeting are here: 6.9.18 – KONPNE notes of meeting
Our next meeting will take place on 18th October 2018.  Please see here for details

1st September 2018 – Newcastle Unites

Great to be with our friends from Newcastle Unites at the Newcastle Unity Carnival – KONPNE stands for and celebrates our multicultural society here in the North East.
We fight against the institutional racism involved in denial of or reduced access to healthcare. We need to challenge the government and media statements which blame migrants for NHS pressures – so diverting attention from the underfunding of the NHS by central government.
We fight against the problems in accessing visas by overseas healthcare workers, any unequal treatment and discrimination experienced by NHS staff, and any racist abuse encountered by NHS staff. There is a lack of recognition of the role of migrants in running the NHS, and this perception must be changed.
In the case of NHS charges, discrimination against those not entitled to free NHS care also provides a justification and cover for the introduction of new systems – there is no doubt that these will be used in the future to support wider charges affecting everyone and these will herald a two-tier insurance-based healthcare.
We celebrate and stand for a multicultural Newcastle upon Tyne and we fight to KEEP OUR NHS PUBLIC. It is a honour to take part today and we thank all of the team at Newcastle Unites for an excellent event.

20th July 2018 – And still nil response from STP lead and NewcastleGateshead CCG 

The distinct lack of response from NewcastleGateshead CCG / STP Lead Alan Foster / North East Commissioning Service has been picked up and details published nationally by the editors of this months health campaigns paper “Health Campaigns Together”.
Since January 2018, North East health campaign groups have repeatedly asked for a clarification of two specific points relating to the local draft STP – but, as yet, to no avail. Emails have been sent on 17th January, 17th February, 24th March and 6th May. It is fair to say that we did receive an email from Alan Foster (STP Lead for Cumbria and the North East) in April 2018…but it didn’t answer the questions asked…and there has been nil response from Mr Foster following our email of 6th May 2018.
We believe our questions are CLEAR, RELEVANT and DESERVE A FULL WRITTEN RESPONSE – but Alan Foster, NewcastleGateshead CCG, and North East Commissioning Service have decided to go incommunicado…
Lets get this straight – when users of health services ask for information, it is their right to get a respectful answer to the questions asked. Hiccups occur, and that is fine – but when there is a continued disregard, then this surely raises questions about transparency, accountability, collaboration and signifies a failure in public duty.
And lets not get started on any aspirations to “public engagement”…..

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19th July 2018 – Newcastle Health and Wellbeing Board speak loud and clear

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Mark Adams (Chief Officer, NewcastleGateshead CCG) presented “An Integrated Care System for North East and North Cumbria” together with an invitation to “Join Our Journey”, to Newcastle Health and Wellbeing Board on 10th July 2018.
Board members were, however, not queuing up for this particular CCG trip – and instead identified a large number of concerns, as listed in the following Council minutes:
“The Board resolved:
That the presentation on the current direction of travel towards an Integrated Care System for the North East and Cumbria be received and Board member comments and concerns on this process be noted, including:-
– The need for proper, meaningful engagement with partners and the public;
– The lack of a clearly defined role for Health and Wellbeing Boards within the process;
– The potential requirement for legislative change to deliver the proposals;
– The implications for delivery of the prevention agenda and public health outcomes;
– The need for resource to be made available to support delivery of services at a local community level;
– Concerns that proposed Governance arrangements may be at odds with delivery of local solutions;
– The need to ensure agility and flexibility within the system to enable organisations to be responsive over time;
– That the proposals were being centrally driven to meet prescribed national objectives rather than reflecting local priorities.”
Go to
Scroll down the page to item 4.
The powerpoint presentation is also available at item 4, as a pdf.
(This document was presented at the meeting by Mark Adams, and not by Eugene Milne, as suggested in the minutes)

19th July 2018 – NE celebrations @ 70 + continuing the campaign to ensure another 70 years….

MANY THANKS to all who joined in with the hectic activity over the past month!! We can safely say that 70 years was well and truly celebrated in Newcastle upon Tyne…. WHILST ALSO continuing the campaign to ensure another 70….
>>> 23rd June for three weeks: hundreds of people viewed the hard-hitting Marion Macalpine photographic exhibition on NHS privatisation, plus local panels about NHS privatisation in the NE prepared by KONPNE – plus promotion through leafletting, social media, BBC Radio Newcastle and the Chronicle
>>> 26th June: our open discussion night “What the NHS means to Me”….We heard from a nurse of the early days of the NHS, and from a current GP; from someone treated shortly after birth and from a person currently undergoing treatment; from people who work in support services to the NHS – and much more…an inspiring evening
>>> 30th June: an amazing day in London – thousands of people out on the streets in the scorching heat to demonstrate and celebrate
>>> 5th July: A very happy 70th birthday to our NHS and (hopefully) many happy returns – KONPNE out in celebratory mood in Newcastle upon Tyne city centre – baking hot sunshine, birthday cake, a GINORMOUS birthday card, guitar sets, community choir and an open mic for birthday messages!! What more do we need (apart from a fully reinstated NHS)??!!
>>> 10th July: KONPNE and Tyneside Cinema in collaboration – a screening of “Spirit of 45” (Ken Loach film) plus expert panel discussion – an empowering evening, highlighting the dangers inherent in “Accountable Care Organisations” (an American private health model) and its recent re-badge as “Integrated Care Systems”…and the fact that, as in 1945, we CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
>>> 14th July: 134th Durham Miners Gala!!! Great to march with Durham KONP, meet up with other NE health campaigners, and assist on the Durham KONP campaign stall alongside the Health Campaigns Together stall
Definitely making change happen.
A very clear message has been sent to the North East CCGs and central Government: “Integrated Care Systems” (aka “Accountable Care Organisations”) = privatisation = Not In Our Name
We need to ensure another 70 years – and more.

14th July 2018 – 134th Durham Miners Gala – proud to be here

134th Durham Miners Gala!!! Great to march with Durham KONP, meet up with other NE health campaigners, and assist on the Durham KONP campaign stall alongside the Health Campaigns Together stall – what a fantastic day

10th July 2018 – A bad trip at Newcastle Civic Centre

Integrated Care Partnerships? We don’t think so…
At a meeting of the Newcastle Wellbeing for Life Board (the local Health and Wellbeing Board) meeting today, Mark Adams, Chief Officer, Newcastle Gateshead CCG, spoke to the agenda item “NHS Funding, Organisation and Forward Plan”, the notes for which were circulated THE SAME DAY….so much for the timely sharing of information and engagement…
Anyway, leaving that important issue aside, we heard Adams outline the “NHS Direction of Travel” for the North of England – which he proposes will comprise one “Integrated Care System” covering North Cumbria and all of the North East from Berwick to parts of Cleveland and North Yorkshire, and he went on to describe how this macro organisation will be subdivided into four “Integrated Care Partnerships” – the paper is linked below – and all to be in place by April 2019….?
Members of the Wellbeing for Life Board were, to put it mildly, not convinced.
The strapline for Adams’ CCG paper invites people to “Join Our Journey”…and, in doing so, he gives away one of the key drivers. It is clearly a bus owned and driven by NHS England and the local CCG, with little or no involvement from would-be “partners”. Sound familiar? Seems resonant of the draft STP fracas back in October 2016?
Feedback to Mark Adams from the Board:
Sally Young (Chief Executive, Newcastle Council for Voluntary Service) specified that “telling people about what is happening is not involvement or engagement”.
Steph Edusei (Chief Executive, Healthwatch Newcastle) pointed out that “engagement means involving people – and nothing has happened for the past two years”
Prof Allyson Pollock (Director, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University) challenged Adams that his proposal is moving in advance of the Parliamentary consultation on ACO’s (/ACS’s) – and asked why this is so?
Councillor Nick Forbes (Leader of Newcastle City Council) asked for clarification as to how the identified and much-needed health promotion will take place with little money in the pot – at this point Adams handed over to Dr Guy Pilkington (Assistant Clinical Chair, Newcastle CCG) who responded how “we will need to be bold, as money is tight”.
>> What was outlined by NewcastleGateshead CCG is a very significant proposal – and we trust that this proposal will go out to full public engagement and consultation….surprisingly, no mention was made of the timetable for this….
>> And one final thought….and forgive us if we have got this wrong…Adams repeatedly referred to “industrialising” health promotion and, by this, we think he is suggesting a large-scale development. Whilst we applaud all of the hard-won health promotion work carried out by our dedicated NHS clinicians, and recognise that increased attention to health promotion in the future is crucial, we urge members of the CCG to move away from the language of the market place, industrialisation, and care “packages”. Rest assured that nothing about our health needs to be “industrialised” – we require a person centred approach and true human engagement.
Join our Journey? We don’t see any queues.
The CCG document is here – go to supplemental agenda 2:

10th July 2018 – KONPNE and Tyneside Cinema

An empowering evening tonight – collaboration between KONPNE and Tyneside Cinema – showing “Spirit of 45” (Ken Loach, 2013) and then an expert panel discussion which highlighted the increased NHS privatisation by stealth, and the dangers inherent in “Accountable Care Organisations” (an American private health model) and its recent re-badge as “Integrated Care Systems”…and the fact that, as in 1945, we CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
Many thanks to the panel:
Andrew Simpson, Director of Film Programming, Tyneside Cinema (chair)
Dr Gerard Reissmann, local GP and member of Keep Our NHS Public North East
Linda Hobson, Unison Deputy Regional Convenor and Unison National Health Executive
Graham Kirkwood, Senior Research Associate, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University
and to the very engaged audience
Lets all keep in touch

7th July 2018 – Cello surroundsound @ St.Toms

Wonderful, unexpected surprise this morning – the fantastic Cellodees playing in the midst of the Marion Macalpine NHS Privatisation Exhibition at St.Thomas church, Haymarket, Newcastle upon Tyne. 
Many visitors today – learning about the sad reality of NHS privatisation. This under-the-radar privatisation needs to be stopped.
Many pages of comments in the Exhibition visitors book, and OVER 500 messages on the NE Birthday Card for the NHS.
Come along….view…read…comment….join in. 
The Exhibition is open for ONE FINAL WEEK – Monday 9th to Saturday 14th JULY, 10.30am to 4pm, free entry – if you care about the future of healthcare in England, make sure that you don’t miss it….
North East councillors and CCG staff – it would be good to see you there.

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6th July 2018 – The Exhibition which keeps on growing…

The Exhibition which keeps on growing!!
One week left!!
Come along to view the Marion Macalpine Photographic Exhibition “How Come We Didn’t Know? Privatisation: the corporate takeover of our NHS”
NHS Privatisation in the North East – panels prepared by Keep Our NHS Public North East
Now also showing the North East’s NHS 70 Birthday Card – with 500 messages…and growing (add your own)
All at St.Thomas Church, Haymarket, Newcastle upon Tyne, open Saturday 7th July then Mon – Sat until Saturday 14th July, 
10.30am to 4pm, free entry
See you soon…..

6th July 2018 – Chronicle



5th July 2018 – A very happy 70th birthday to our NHS and (hopefully) many happy returns

KONPNE in celebratory mood out and about in Newcastle upon Tyne city centre – baking hot sunshine, birthday cake, a GINORMOUS birthday card, guitar sets, community choir and an open mic for birthday messages!! What more do we need??!!
Yes to celebration – and YES also to *a publicly owned NHS that is free for all  *proper funding and proper staffing  *support for our wonderful NHS workers  *world class services for every community
Many thanks to Martha and the team at Pink Lane Bakery for donating the bespoke NHS 70th Birthday cake, to Gill at Wideopen Co-op and Pam at Market street Co-op also for donating cakes, to John Aspinall (Elephant Memoirs) and Making Waves (Cullercoats Community Choir) for music, and to Unite the Union (NEYH) for printing, Peoples Assembly and Newcastle Unites for the PA….to members of the KONPNE group for a fantastic turn out….and to members of the public for the heartfelt messages on the card. …Team effort!!
The card is available for viewing (and for further messages!) at St.Thomas’Church, Haymarket, until 14th July….
….and a great report and video from Newcastle Chronicle is here:

2nd July 2018 – first thing Monday morning…

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….and EXHIBITION ALL SORTED, RESTOCKED AND READY FOR WEEK 2….Come along, view the exhibition and tell us what you think.
The Marion Macalpine Photography Exhibition “How Come We Didn’t Know; Privatisation: the corporate takeover of our NHS” is open Monday – Saturday*, 10.30 – 4, until Saturday 14th July at St.Thomas Church, Haymarket, Newcastle upon Tyne – the church next to Newcastle Civic Centre (*excluding Thursday 5th July). Free entry. Hosted by KONPNE.
The Photographic Exhibition comments book is filling fast! Here is a sample of half a dozen reviews from the first week.
>> “Very informative. Can’t believe so much privatisation has happened so covertly”
>> “Very informative and well-organised Exhibition”
>> “Such an impressive exhibition detailing how the corporate sector exploits the NHS”
>> “Very informative, with excellent explanations”
>> “Very harrowing and distressing. It makes me want to take more action. Hopefully others will fell the same and realise that it is OUR NHS”
>> “Informative and eye-opening. We all benefit from a publicly owned NHS, so lets all keep it public”
>> “Fantastic exposition of the frightening levels of privatisation of our beloved NHS, with great suggestions for getting involved. You’re right – people aren’t aware. Thanks for bringing the Exhibition to Newcastle”

30th June 2018 – NHS birthday celebrated in style AND giving the crystal clear message: WE NEED TO PROTECT FOR THE FUTURE

Keep Our NHS Public North East in London today. Fantastic day with group members, and members of other NE campaign groups, plus making many new friends – but, most importantly, a very clear message to the North East CCGs and central Government: ICSs (aka ACOs) = privatisation = Not In Our Name
Arriving in London…

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and the party starts in style…
From Health Campaigns Together:
What an AMAZING day!!
50,000+ people came out in the scorching heat to demonstrate against privatisation of #ourNHS
And celebrate her 70th birthday
You are making change happen



26th June 2018 – NHS is central to our society and the way we live

What the NHS means to me

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Praise and gratitude to our fantastic NHS staff in the North East – and much celebration for all the good work over the last 70 years.
We heard from a nurse of the early days of the NHS, and from a current GP; from someone treated shortly after birth and from a person currently undergoing treatment; from people who work in support services to the NHS – and much more. 
All surrounded by the hard-hitting Marion Macalpine photography exhibition on NHS Privatisation “How Come We Didn’t Know?” Please come in and view the exhibition, read the exhibition comments book to find out What the NHS means to us, the people of the North East…and also please add your own thoughts and reflections.
The Marion Macalpine Photography Exhibition is open Monday – Saturday*, 10.30 – 4, until Saturday 14th July at St.Thomas Church, Haymarket, Newcastle upon Tyne (*excluding 5th July). Free entry.

26th June 2018 – Screening details now released for Tuesday 10th July 2018 – “SPIRIT OF 45”

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*****KONPNE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TYNESIDE CINEMA***** To mark the 70th birthday of the NHS, tickets are on sale now for a screening of “Spirit of 45” (Director Ken Loach, 2013) and expert panel discussion: TUESDAY 10th JULY at 6pm.
Click here for tickets – £6 :
From Tyneside Cinema:
As part of Frontline, Tyneside Cinema’s monthly series of discussions tackling the big issues, engaging local partners and talking about the vital questions of our time, we mark the 70th birthday of the NHS by bringing together doctors, campaigners and policy experts to discuss the struggle to keep the NHS free at the point of use, in an era of grave threat to public services.
This event will feature a screening of Ken Loach’s The Spirit Of ’45, tracing how British society evolved during the post-war Labour party years of 1945-51, during which time a fairer society was forged for the working class and will include a discussion with Dr Gerard Reissmann, local GP and member of Keep Our NHS Public North East, Linda Hobson, Unison Deputy Regional Convenor and Unison National Health Executive and Graham Kirkwood, Senior Research Associate, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University.
Presented in partnership with Keep Our NHS Public North East

25th June 2018 – Privatisation on the agenda??


Hot sunshine in Gateshead today – but more sombre in the Civic Centre for the two-monthly Joint STP Health Scrutiny Meeting – comprising Councillor representatives from the seven councils in the NE STP. 
Intriguing to hear Alan Foster, STP Lead for North Cumbria and North East, give the presentation “Towards an Integrated Care System for the North East and North Cumbria” and then try to convince Councillors that the ICS was in no way related to the tainted Accountable Care system / privatisation in any way….
Insightful questions from a number of Councillors.
Agenda is here:
Meetings are open to the public, and meetings are scheduled for 16th July (1.30pm), 24th September (2pm) and 26th November (2pm), all at Gateshead Civic Centre.

23rd June 2018 – THE Great Exhibition of the North

“How come we didn’t know? Privatisation – the corporate takeover of our NHS” by Marion Macalpine.
THE photographic exhibition that does the exposing.
The Exhibition itself is looking great, with lots of space and light, and a fantastic warm welcome from the team at St.Thomas’ – we had a great opening day, with many visitors. The exhibition content is, however, disturbing to say the least, graphically demonstrating the growing corporate takeover of the NHS and shows how privatisation is promoted by the latest health service reorganisation. Never one to hold back, at the same time KONPNE are also presenting our very own complementary exhibition, focusing on NHS privatisation in the NE.
A double event – not to be missed.
Now open to view for the next three weeks (Monday – Saturday, 10.30am – 4pm, free entry). Definitely a must see exhibition for all who care about the NHS – and for all who wonder what on earth is happening….
Come along to St.Thomas (the Church next to Newcastle Civic Centre, at the Haymarket).

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London-based campaigner and photographer Marion Macalpine meets Dr Helen Groom, founding member of KONPNE  (top right photo) and Revd Catherine Lack, St.Thomas’ Church (middle right photo)
The exhibition explores the diverse forms that privatisation takes, including PFI contracts; private health companies masquerading as NHS including many GP clinics and diagnostic centres;  private hospitals which cherry-pick ‘low risk’ patients;  lucrative contracts for highly specialist treatment;  healthcare corporations with a history of fraud or tax avoidance;  scandalously poor care practice that is no barrier to winning new contracts;  private corporations driving government policy and involved in negotiations such as the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership….and now including new panels on the shocking impact of government plans for so-called ‘Transformation’. The exhibition highlights critical links between politicians at all levels and private healthcare corporations.
EXHIBITION ON TOUR!! The exhibition has previously been displayed in Ascot, Birkenhead Art Gallery, Brighton (3 times), Cambridge, Chichester,  Cheltenham, Deal, Hackney (twice), Hammersmith, Haringey, Lambeth, Liverpool Central Library and the Unite building, The Wirral, Norwich,  Sheffield, Southampton, Stroud, Tower Hamlets, Whitstable and Health Campaigns Together 2017 conference.
Marion Macalpine, Photographer:  “Congratulations to KONP North East for exhibiting ‘How Come We Didn’t Know?’ , also their own exhibition about privatisation of the NHS locally. Groups around the country having been exposing the hidden and shocking government plans for privatisation for some time, and displaying ‘How Come We Didn’t Know?’ since 2014. It is great that it is up so centrally in Newcastle”
Reverend Jonathan Adams, St.Thomas’:     “St.Thomas’ is right in the centre of the city, in front of the Civic Centre, by the Haymarket Metro, inbetween the two Universities. It is a place where people come to explore ideas about things they care about. Clearly the NHS is central to what we believe is valuable – about caring for one another. We are very glad to support the Macalpine exhibition – 23rd June for three weeks, Monday to Saturday, 10.30am to 4pm, free of charge. We’ll be delighted if people come, look at it, and consider what we really want for the future of our NHS”
John Whalley, Co-ordinator of Keep Our NHS Public North East:     “July 2018 see’s the 70th Birthday of our NHS, and we are fortunate that Newcastle is hosting the Marion Macalpine exhibition at this important time. The exhibition graphically highlights the dangers of NHS privatisation and it plays a key part in the range of public events planned by health campaign groups in the North East. We need to be very clear: yes – we are celebrating the 70th birthday in July, but we will also be stepping up our demonstration against cuts, cash driven closures of our health services and NHS privatisation. In addition to celebrating, we need to ensure that we protect for the future”
Marion Macalpine, Rev Jonathan Adams, John Whalley

16th June 2018 – National KONP AGM

Good to be at the national KONP AGM in London today – great to catch up with people, important motions passed, and excellent speakers including Professor David McCoy (Professor of Health Policy, Queen Mary University, London), who spoke on the NHS in the context of European health systems. 

15th June 2018 – Clarification is STILL required


WE HAVE REPEATEDLY asked the STP lead / Newcastle Gateshead CCG / North East Commissioning Service for a clarification of information relating to three specific areas – but, sadly, to no avail.
Emails sent out
17th January 2018
17th February 2018
24th March 2018
6th May 2018
We also wrote to the Freedom of Information Team at the CCG – but apparently there are no answers to our queries in written records.
It is fair to say that we did get the attached communication from Alan Foster (STP Lead for Cumbria and the North East) in April 2018 – but it STILL didn’t answer two of the three questions…and there has been nil response from Mr Foster following our email of 6th May 2018.
We have updated all of the Healthwatch teams in the NE, and have now written to the chair of the Joint STP Scrutiny Committee.
We believe our questions are CLEAR, RELEVANT and DESERVE A FULL WRITTEN RESPONSE – What do you think?????
Please click here Alan Foster April and NE Campaign Groups May 2018 for Alan Fosters communication and our more recent email dated 6th May 2018

31st May 2018 – Marion Macalpine exhibition coming to Tyneside 

Marion Macalpine photo exhibition on NHS Privatisation coming to TYNESIDE – opens 23rd June 2018 for three weeks*.
Hosted by “Keep Our NHS Public North East”, and taking place at St.Thomas’ Church at the Haymarket, Newcastle upon Tyne city centre, this exhibition will demonstrate the growing corporate takeover and privatisation of our NHS. (*NB No exhibition on Thursday 5th July)
Reverend Jonathan Adams said 
“St.Thomas’ is right in the centre of the city, in front of the Civic Centre, by the Haymarket Metro, inbetween the two Universities. It is a place where people come to explore ideas about things they care about. Clearly the NHS is central to what we believe is valuable – about caring for one another. We are very glad to support the Macalpine exhibition – 23rd June for three weeks, Monday to Saturday, 10.30am to 4pm, free of charge. We’ll be delighted if people come, look at it, and consider what we really want for the future of our NHS”
John Whalley, Co-ordinator of Keep Our NHS Public North East said:
“July 2018 see’s the 70th Birthday of our NHS, and we are fortunate that Newcastle will be hosting the Marion Macalpine exhibition at this important time. The exhibition graphically highlights the dangers of NHS privatisation and it plays a key part in the range of public events planned by health campaign groups in the North East. We need to be very clear: yes – we are celebrating the 70th birthday in July, but we will also be stepping up our demonstration against cuts, cash driven closures of our health services and NHS privatisation. In addition to celebrating, we need to ensure that we protect for the future”
More information at
Photo: Rev Jonathan Adams and St.Thomas’, Newcastle.

29th May 2018 – Advance notice!!! NHS 70th Birthday events in the North East

OUR NHS: Celebrate and Protect for the Future
1) PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION ON TOUR – about NHS privatisation: “How Come We Didn’t Know?”, Marion Macalpine
This runs from Saturday 23rd June to Saturday 14th July 2018*, 10.30am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday, free entry, at St.Thomas Church, Haymarket, Newcastle (the church next to the Civic Centre). *NB No exhibition on Thursday 5th July.
We will need help in leafleting for this, once the exhibition starts – more info later….
2) NE ARM OF EXHIBITION – this will be a complementary arm to the Macalpine exhibition, presented by KONPNE, focusing on NHS privatisation in the NE…..same exhibition dates and times as above
3) KONPNE MEETING AT ST.THOMAS’ – “WHAT THE NHS MEANS TO ME” – this will replace the usual KONPNE meeting and will now take place on Tuesday 26th June 2018, 6.30pm for tea and coffee, and 7pm to start, finishing at 8.30pm, at St.Thomas’ Church, Haymarket – the church next to the Civic Centre. (The original meeting planned for Thursday 28th June at Brunswick Hall has now been cancelled). For this “special edition” KONPNE meeting, we will be putting aside the usual campaign and business agenda, and we invite everyone present to comment on “What the NHS means to me”….maybe a sentence or two, or a poem, or prose…or to sit back, say nothing and reflect…plus a time to meet other NHS supporters, and an opportunity to view the exhibition, of course…
4) LONDON NHS MARCH and RALLY – Saturday 30th June – KONPNE and NE Peoples Assembly are co-organising coaches for the big London NHS event – £30 waged and £15 unwaged – book your place at …stopping at Newcastle, Washington services and Durham.
……plus we will be arranging a meet up venue in London for all wishing to walk with the KONPNE banner
We will need assistance in leafleting to promote the London march throughout June – more info soon about leafleting times
5) 70th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS IN NEWCASTLE – Thursday 5th July, 11am to 2pm – cake, card, bunting, music and an open mic for speeches – come and join in the birthday celebrations – details re venue soon – we have applied for the Monument. Co-hosted by KONPNE and NE Peoples Assembly
6) DURHAM MINERS GALA – Saturday 14th July – march alongside Durham KONP, plus stall.
More details at     please book these into your diary now!!

24th May 2018 – Update from Judicial Review team

A message from the JR4NHS Team
Dearest supporters,
A quick email to let you know that the hearing of the judicial review finished this afternoon.
After hearing our argument that the ACO policy is unlawful – and NHS England’s and the Secretary of State’s arguments that there’s no policy outside the proposed contract which is just another contract, that there’s no duty of transparency in these circumstances, and that the judicial review challenge is both too early and too late – Mr Justice Green reserved judgment.
Jenni Richards QC for the claimants made clear that the case raises fundamental questions about the future of the NHS, rather than being about the technical issues emphasised by the defendants, and the judge said he wouldn’t be rushing to put out a judgment, so it’ll be a while yet before we know his decision.
Thanks to the claimants’ lawyers – Jenni, Peter Mant and solicitor Kate Harrison – for a fantastic job preparing and advocating the case, to the dozens who turned up at the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday and today to show their support, and many thanks again to everybody whose donations made this legal challenge possible.



20th May 2018 – A response regarding A&E, Urgent Care, closure and privatisation….

At the end of March 2018, Mr Bas Sen (Consultant in Emergency Medicine, and Associate Medical Director at the RVI) sat alongside members of NewcastleGateshead CCG at a Council STP Scrutiny Committee focusing on Urgent Care (Gateshead, 20th March 2018). 
Following the meeting, KONPNE posed two important questions: 1) about the closure and centralisation of A&Es, and 2) about the privatisation of Urgent Care Centres in the NE region.
Please find our email questions and Mr Sen’s email response here Email to Mr Bas Sen, with response April 2018
He “accepts the argument regarding accessibility to local A&E Departments” but then downplays this in relation to other factors and, with regard to the private Vocare organisation which run much of our Urgent Care in the NE, he is “comfortable with the quality provided in local contracts”…..despite the poor performance of Vocare in other parts of the country…..
Your thoughts???



17th May 2018 – KONPNE meeting

Interesting presentation and discussion this evening – our new format for the meeting allowing more time for an in-depth consideration of one issue. Many thanks to Malcolm for preparing the presentation and speaking, and to all who attended and contributed in many different ways. The agenda for the meeting is here 17.5.18 – KONPNE agenda and the notes from the meeting are here 17.5.18 – KONPNE notes of meeting.
Our next meeting is scheduled for late June – date tbc – hopefully at the same venue as the NHS Privatisation photo exhibition. As always…..ALL ARE WELCOME!!

24th April 2018 – #Justice4NHS Judicial Review at Leeds High Court

The first of the two national Judicial Reviews took place today in Leeds High Court – much respect and very well done to the “999 Call for the NHS” Team for all your commitment and hard work regarding this initiative. KONPNE stands alongside 999 Call for the NHS in supporting
Click 999JR court report for a brief court update from the 999 Call for the NHS Team.

23rd April 2018 – Parliament debates e-petition on NHS privatisation

Stop the privatisation of NHS services
We call for a ban on the outsourcing (privatisation) of NHS services, and stop the renewal of any outsourcing contracts already signed. Companies should not be profiteering from NHS contracts, when every pound of NHS budgets is desperately needed for more doctors and nurses, and to pay them more.
Research by Bain & Company published by the Financial Times in January 2017, found that private-sector companies had been invited to bid for 14 per cent more NHS contracts in the 12 months to August 2016 than just a year previously. In March 2017 the Financial Times also reported of the extra £2bn given to the NHS in 2014 to try and bolster NHS services, according to data analysis carried out by the Health Foundation, an independent charity, only about half this extra money was spent in the NHS.
Watch the debate:
Read the transcript:
The petition:

11th April 2018 – Fact (and Tory Party fantasy) at Gosforth Civic Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne

FACT (AND TORY PARTY FANTASY) AT GOSFORTH CIVIC THEATRE tonight, at the Mental Health Hustings organised and hosted by Newcastle Launchpad.
An interesting range of responses from Green, Labour and Tory candidates standing in Newcastle – Lib Dems were not present….
Keep Our NHS Public North East asked the final question of the night:
“KONPNE is made up of members of the public, all fighting against NHS cuts and privatisation. Accountable Care Organisations (renamed “Integrated Care Systems”) are an American import, characterised by privatised services, services underpinned by insurance schemes, piece-meal services, inequality and insecurity – none of which we need in our NHS. We ask the candidates: 1)Would you agree that ACO / ICS, as proposed by the Government, are underpinned by a privatisation agenda? 2)As a prospective Councillor in Newcastle, what will you do to stop the ACO / ICS privatisation rot?”
Green Party candidate ANDREW GRAY spoke of the “real dangers” brought about by ACO – whilst agreeing to the principle of integrating health and social care services, he also spoke of the dangers of integration for the main purpose of contracting out to private business. He highlighted the need for closer Council scrutiny and the real importance of supporting the NHS Reinstatement Bill as the way to a fully funded and publicly provided NHS.
Labour Party candidate MICK BOWMAN also agreed that ACO undoubtedly pave the way for large-scale privatisation of health services, and he spoke of the importance of councillors using the mechanisms inherent in the council health scrutiny process as a vehicle for challenging such moves. He also spoke of councillors building closer links with KONPNE – and KONPNE welcomes this development.
And as for Tory Party offering from candidate DUNCAN CRUTE – well, it did feel a somewhat bizarre fantasy denial of the threats brought about by ACO and privatisation. The Tory stance was, of course, graphically corrected by all in last nights audience. KONPNE recommends perhaps more attention to your research next time, Duncan – check out the Virgin Care takeovers, the increased numbers and amount spent on privatised services year on year (nearly £10 billion of NHS clinical contracts are now being run by private companies, a growing trend since 2010), and Hunts statement to the Parliamentary Select Committee in May 2016 that he is “looking to find a way forward to the kind of budgetary arrangements you would have in….Kaiser Permanente” – please see this nine minute video, which shows excerpts from the Parliamentary Select Committee and Michael Moores “Sicko”:
Many thanks to Alisdair Cameron and Newcastle Launchpad for organising this excellent event, which enabled a spotlight on a wide range of important mental health-related issues.
Facebook post 12th April:
Twitter post 12th April:

9th April 2018 – Ken Loach and “Spirit of 45” at Darlington

Fantastic evening last night in Darlington, meeting up with many people who support a publicly owned and publicly provided NHS. “The Spirit of 45” was screened, with Ken Loach present and engaging in a Q&A after the film. 
The evening was superbly organised by Louise and the team in Darlo, plus Waking Up To Climate Change, Food for Thought Darlington and The Forum Music Centre. 
*****If you live in the area: There are plans to further develop NHS campaigning activity in Darlington…watch this space for news, or get in touch at, and we will put you in touch with Louise*****

5th April 2018 – Planning now started for NHS@70 celebrations in NE

Another busy KONPNE meeting this evening…..and whilst we develop the campaign for a publicly owned and publicly provided NHS, we also took time this evening to commence the planning for the KONPNE NHS@70 birthday celebrations here in the NE. Please contact us at if you wish to be part of the planning group for events in July.

70th 1

The notes from this evenings meeting will be posted here when completed – many thanks Rachael. Our next KONPNE meeting will take place on Thursday 17th May – all welcome – full details here
Notes from the meeting are now available here:  5.4.18 – KONPNE notes of meeting

4th April 2018 – Agenda now available for tomorrow night Thursday 5th April

Everyone is welcome at the next KONPNE meeting tomorrow night – Thursday 5th April.  Details are on the events page here, and please click here for the  5.4.18 – KONPNE agenda
….Come along – you are guaranteed a warm welcome!!

25th March 2018  ….still waiting for a response from STP / NewcastleGateshead CCG / NECSU

                                                                             But, then again,

Not responding 2

24th March 2018
From: NE Health Campaigns
To: Newcastlegateshead CCG FOI team
Dear NewcastleGateshead CCG FOI team,
Further to the two emails ​(​attached)​, to which there has been nil reply, I would be grateful if you would please supply the following information​ in line with the Freedom of Information Act (2000​):
1) The initial draft NTWND STP went to public consultation in November 2016. Please clarify when you envisage an updated draft STP being made public for further engagement, consultation and agreement. 
This process is described in the attached document from Joe Corrigan (CCG) dated 14th February 2017 at point 7:3
2) Please clarify as to why the CCG has taken the decision for Workstreams / Boards to carry a definitive STP title, when an updated draft STP plan has yet to be made public and agreed. There is record, for example, of the “STP Prevention Workstream” and the “STP Prevention Board” – but, in point of fact, the “STP” for NTWND has yet to be decided.
Please also provide information as to how these committees can continue to carry out business in a credible manner without further formal engagement, consultation and agreement with members of the public – it is now almost seventeen months since the first draft appeared.
3) At two Joint STP Scrutiny meetings (13th November 2017 and 15th January 2018)​, there have been aside references by CCG staff to what seems a consideration of amalgamating the NTWND STP “footprint” with other areas south of the region and in Cumbria; please provide information and your rationale for this possible development.
4) The above information was initially requested on 17th January 2018, with ​an immediate email re​ply​ from Caroline Latta (NECS) indicating that the email has been received​ and that a response would be provided​.​ Regrettably, no response received from STP, CCG, or NECS staff.​
Our request for information was repeated four weeks later to the same people​, again with nil response. 
Both emails are attached.
NewcastleGateshead CCG mission statement (on website) states: “As a CCG, we are determined to hear the voices of patients and ensure that members of the public are involved in the design, delivery, improvement and monitoring of the services we commission”. 
Please provide details as to why in this instance there has been no response to our repeated request for information and, also, please comment on how you feel this fits with your declared mission statement regarding engagement with members of the public.
This email (as with our other communications regarding this request) is copied onto our social media and website, so that all members of our groups across the North East region​ and also other members of the public are updated and are aware of the situation; your response to this F​O​I request will also be shared in the same way.
We thank you for your attention​ to this matter
John Whalley, Co-ordinator, Keep Our NHS Public North East
Pauline McDonnell, Gateshead Keep Our NHS Public
Roger Nettleship, Chair, Save South Tyneside hospital Campaign
Carole Reeves, Co-ordinator, Durham Keep Our NHS Public
Click here to see the earlier emails  Email NGCCG NECSU 24th March 2018

22nd March 2018 – Two unanswered questions…..

Gateshead 1

Dear Councillor
I am forwarding this email to all Councillors who sit on the NTWND STP Joint OSC / representatives.   Further to the most recent meeting on Monday 20th March 2018, it was regrettable that observers were not afforded an opportunity to comment or question – although I do, of course, wholly recognise the demands on time and the work of the Chair in looking at ways to enable more detailed discussion.
For your information, I wished to put two questions to the invited speakers regarding Urgent Care and A&E, and I provide the following related information to you now, for your information.
1) We concur with the important and key remarks at the meeting from Councillor John Robinson (Durham County Council) regarding the need to retain physical accessibility to A&E Departments – indeed, Mr Bas Sen,the speaker at the meeting also appeared to agree with this. We are, however, aware that across the country there are currently attempts to close local A&E departments and establish centralised resources.
The question to the speaker: Do you feel that the argument for centralising A&E services at one location in a city environment can be applied equally to the situation in a borough or rural community, where the availability of ambulances, response times, travel time and physical geography must also be factored in?
2) We concur with the remarks and concern at the meeting from Councillor Ann Schofield (Newcastle City Council) and other Councillors about dangers of privatisation in the NHS. It was, however, noted that no reference to the privatisation of “Urgent Care Centres” and “GP out of hours” services was made in the presentation by Mr Sen or by the CCG staff present. 
This “Vocare” document in the public domain:
gives financial details and informs that the “Northern Doctors” organisation which provided out of hours responses was converted into a private limited company in 2015, changed its name to “Vocare” in 2016, and provided a range of NHS 111, GP out of hours and Urgent Care services in the North East and in other regions across the country. The head office is based just outside Newcastle upon Tyne. “Vocare”, in turn, was very recently bought out by the privately-owned “Totally Ltd” – please follow this link which outlines some of the issues associated with this private business:      The questions to the speaker: What is your view of “Totally Ltd” declaration that their purchase of Vocare “provides the company with a strong and commercially attractive opportunity” (see Vocare document, page 6) and, given local contracts with this company, what are your views on the CQC inspections regarding the quality of services provided by the company elsewhere in the country (see Vocare document, page 12)
We are aware that Councillors sitting on the NTWND STP Joint OSC share our concerns about these issues.
Further to the meeting on Monday, we have now written to Mr Bas Sen to seek his response.
Yours sincerely
John Whalley
Keep Our NHS Public North East
KONPNE have also contacted the speaker at the meeting, Mr Bas Sen (Associate Medical Director RVI, also working into the Trauma Centre), for his comments on these questions, and have copied in Mark Adams (NewcastleGateshead CCG) and Caroline Latta (NECSU) who were also at the meeting.
Information, agenda and minutes of this Committee are located here:
The Committee meets every two months in Gateshead and is open to all to observe. Dates and times will be posted on the konpne website at

22nd March 2018 – Council unanimous vote – NO ACO / NO ICS in North Tyneside


TONIGHT: NORTH TYNESIDE COUNCIL: UNANIMOUS CROSS-PARTY VOTE IN FAVOUR OF THE MOTION: “This council agrees that there is a growing body of evidence questioning the wisdom of ….Accountable Care Organisations / Integrated Care Systems (ACO/ICS)….This council agrees to oppose any proposal to implement the delivery of healthcare in North Tyneside via an ACO/ICS, a project which in the North Tyneside CCG’s own report was stated to be high risk”.
Well done Councillors Lesley Spillard, Sarah Day and Wendy Lott who brought the motion to the council, and to Councillors Leslie Miller, Kenneth Barrie, Margaret Hall, Gary Bell and Alison Wagott-Fairley who all spoke in favour of the motion.
In her introductory speech at tonights full Council meeting, Cllr Lesley Spillard identified how the current stance of the Government and NHSE is to take the spotlight off the concept of ACOs – this is currently the subject of judicial review – and instead paint a benign and voluntary partnership, and a pragmatic “workaround” to the barriers of the Health and Social Care Act in moving forward change.
Cllr Spillard went on to state: “There are huge concerns and objections to the “elephant-in-the-room” which is not being widely promoted. It is not benign. The NHS England policy is to move STPs through “systems” (whether these be called “Integrated Care” or “Accountable Care”) en route to Accountable Care Organisations, with plans to put ACOs to tender inviting bids from the private sector. This is in conflict with current legislation, and will lead to the large scale privatisation of our NHS”.
All Councillors spoke with great commitment and knowledge about the matter in hand, being clear about what is at stake. Absolutely no-one opposed the motion, and no abstentions – the vote was carried unanimously by North Tyneside Councillors….an example of excellent cross-party work by North Tyneside Councillors.
The agenda, motion and minutes from the meeting are here:
The Council video is also linked at this webpage – starts at 20 minutes and ends at 44 minutes.

17th March 2018 – Caroline Lucas supports KONPNE

DSCN2753 (2)
Meeting John Whalley (Co-ordinator, Keep Our NHS Public North East) in Newcastle upon Tyne this afternoon, Caroline Lucas MP and Co-Leader of The Green Party sends her very best wishes to all at KONPNE and to all other health campaigns in the North East of England.
Caroline was very interested to hear about health campaign work across the region.
“ACO’s recognise the inefficiencies in the internal market, and the need for integrated health and social care – but the ACO proposals are driven by the ideology of private healthcare provision. They could hand over health and social care services for whole areas to the private sector. Greens are committed to a publicly funded, publicly provided health service which is free at the point of use”.

10th March 2018 – North East March and Rally for the NHS; a loud and clear message to North East CCGs and NHSE

Photo album and report is below.
Superb video of the March in full is here 
and the Rally in full, including all speeches, is here ,
both on KONPNE youtube channel – many thanks to Andy Parkes for all assistance with this – much appreciated.
A great video is also here featuring an interview with actor Stephen Tompkinson post-Rally at the Monument – many thanks to Daniel Wilkinson of DW Media….and Stephen and co-star Denis Lawson, of course! It is great to have your support.
The Newcastle Chronicle report and video is here
and please click North East March for the NHS for the KONPNE facebook archive.
EIGHT North East health campaign groups plus North East Peoples Assembly joined together to call for
>> a cash injection to restore the NHS budget, commitment to increased funding each year, and an end to the cap on NHS pay
>> abandonment of any plans for further cuts or cash-driven closures of NHS hospitals and services
>> a halt to the imposition of “new models of care” and “accountable care”
>> repeal of the 2012 Health & Social Care Act and reinstatement of the NHS as a public service, publicly accountable, publicly owned and publicly funded 
Many thanks to all for the fantastic teamwork from individuals and organisations in the North East in making the day such a huge success. 
>>>> THE MARCH >>>>
The day was a bit damp…but definitely not dreary!! The March from Fram Place to Monument was lively, ultra long, and with sound from Blyth Valley Samba Band and DrumDin = the North East definitely heard loud and clear that it is definitely OUR NHS.
Huge thanks to our homegrown thespian trio (plus interpretation placards and banner) for leading the procession with a one off  interactive Tyneside street performance!!! That’s what we’re calling it, anyway!! “The future contracting disaster zone”. Do you recognise anyone – see pix above and judge for yourself!!
A video of the March is here.
>>>> THE RALLY >>>>
Impromptu percussive jammimg at the Monument,  and then Speeches from….
Keith Venables (national secretary of “Health Campaigns Together”) , Emma Lewell-Buck MP (South Shields), Sarah Carpenter (National Officer, Unite Health), Clare Williams (Regional Secretary, Unison), Michael Appleby (Chair of the Royal College of Nursing Northern Region Board), message from Gail Ward (Disabled People Against Cuts), Geoff Abbott (Stand Up to Racism), Jon Bryan (UCU Northern Region), Emma Brittain (North East Peoples Assembly), Nigel Speight (Durham KONP), Roger Nettleship (Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign), William Jarrett (Save North Tyneside NHS). message from Gail Ward (Defend Tynedale NHS Services), Dr Pam Wortley (KONP Sunderland and District), David Mckechnie (Save Rothbury Hospital Campaign), Rachael Sage (KONPNE) and Chi Onwurah MP (Newcastle Central).
All speeches have been videod in their entirety – please click here.
MANY THANKS BETHANY AND RON!!! The Rally echoed with the voice of Bethany Elen Coyle, who has now recorded her wonderful SONG FOR THE NHS, with all proceeds to Keep Our NHS Public North East, and Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign.


Great speeches from (L to R) Emma Lewell-Buck MP (South Shields), Keith Venables (national secretary, Health Campaigns Together) and Chi Onwurah MP (Newcastle Central).
….and messages of support for the Rally were read out from Shirley Ford (Co-ordinator, North East Green Party), Catherine Mckinnell MP (Newcastle North), Sharon Hodgson MP (Washington and Sunderland South), Helen Goodman MP (Bishop Auckland), Mary Glindon MP (North Tyneside) and Cllr Wendy Taylor (Newcastle City Council). A message of support was also received from Liz Twist MP (Blaydon). These seven messages are here: Messages of Support 2018
We are also grateful for the thoughtful and encouraging messages from local Councillors from across the region.
ACTOR STEPHEN TOMPKINSON (Drop the Dead Donkey, Ballykissangel, DCI Banks) and co-star DENIS LAWSON (Star Wars trilogy, plus many stage, film and TV roles) spoke out at the Rally as follows:
Stephen Tompkinson – 
“The underfunding of the NHS is a political decision that has resulted in huge pressures being placed on all NHS staff who are desparately trying to keep services going. And for patients there are longer waits for GP appointments, hours spent lying on trolleys in hospital corridors, rationing of treatments and avoidable deaths. Our NHS staff work hard – the problem is underfunding and cuts. The Sustainability and Transformation Plans, which the government and local clinical commissioning groups are trying to introduce, will lead to further cuts, closures and privatisation” 
Denis Lawson –
“There is no public mandate for the plans that the Tories are pursuing. No one voted for Accountable Care Organisations, and they are NOT accountable.They will lead to privatisation. It is really great news that the crowdfunder, initiated by Professor Allyson Pollock of Newcastle and backed by Stephen Hawking, has enough support to go ahead with a legal challenge – we hope that this goes well and we support it. That challenge makes it clear to the government that the plans do not reflect public opinion where the NHS is concerned. They are NOT doing this in our name” 

DSC_0154_preview (4)

>>>> THE Q&A >>>>
Keith Venables, national secretary of “Health Campaigns Together”, in action at the inspiring post Rally Q&A session at Brunswick Methodist Church Hall and, afterwards, meeting up with Laura Murrell and Dr Pam Wortley of the newly formed “Keep Our NHS Public Sunderland”. 
>>>> THANK YOU >>>>
THIS EVENT WAS PEOPLE POWERED!! HUGE THANKS to Unite the Union (NEYH) for assistance with printing flyers and placards, Logobear Newcastle for support with printing teeshirts, Newcastle Wood Recycling CIC (Welbeck Road) for donating placard wood, Andy and Daniel for video, Iain, John and Marj for photography, Northumbria Police for escorts, Matthew and our stewarding team, Metro Radio and Newcastle Chronicle for pre and live reports, all wonderful people for posting on social media team, the pre-Rally publicity team, leafleteers on the day and, of course, a big cheer to Blyth Valley Samba, Drumdin and Bethany Elen Coyle and Ron Brown. You are all stars.
AND…..LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST ……. thanks to all North East individuals, families, groups and organisations for being there, and to those individuals who couldn’t be with us but sent the very many messages of support. The NORTH EAST MARCH AND RALLY FOR THE NHS was called by Keep Our NHS Public North East, North East Peoples Assembly, Keep Our NHS Public Sunderland and District, Durham Keep Our NHS Public, Save Rothbury Community Hospital Campaign, Save North Tyneside NHS, Gateshead Keep Our NHS Public, Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign and Defend Tynedale NHS Services. It was supported by Unite the Union (NEYH), Unison (Northern), North East Green Party, Gateshead Constituency Labour Party, Young Greens Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle University Labour Society, Disabled People Against Cuts, Unison (Gateshead Health), Newcastle upon Tyne Trades Union Council, Stand Up to Racism NE, Newcastle University UCU, Migration and Asylum Justice Forum and other North East groups and organisations. Many other local groups and organisations were, of course, present on Saturday and, together, we make an exceptionally strong team .
“ACCOUNTABLE CARE ORGANISATIONS?…..certainly not accountable nor caring….
We call for the full re-instatement of a comprehensive, universal, publicly funded, publicly owned, publicly provided and publicly accountable, national health service which is free at the point of use and has the resources needed to provide excellent health care for all on a long term, sustainable basis.
and the papers describe “an impressive turnout”….



7th March 2018 – KONPNE and UCU

Newcastle University UCU have passed a motion to support the North East March and Rally for the NHS on Saturday and, likewise, it was important to support Newcastle University UCU at their picket line this morning. Flyers for the March and Rally given out at Kingsgate and outside the Medical School at Newcastle University – Good wishes to the UCU.



1st March 2018 – Stars shine for NHS!!

Appearing in the comedy “Art” at Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne….and now also appearing at the North East Rally for the NHS on 10th March, we welcome Stockton-born actor Stephen Tompkinson (Ballykissangel, DCI Banks), and co-stars Denis Lawson (Star Wars) and Nigel Havers (Chariots of Fire) who say NO to NHS cuts, NO to NHS closures.
Join us at the Rally on SATURDAY 10th MARCH: Up-to-date event details are here and the facebook event page is at

B S Tompkinson et al-page0001


25th February – Bethany Elen Coyle records “SONG FOR THE NHS”

First performed at the North East NHS march and rally in February 2017 – Bethany Elen Coyle has now recorded her wonderful SONG FOR THE NHS, with all proceeds to Keep Our NHS Public North East, and Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign. Bethany and Ron are with us again on the NE March and Rally for the NHS on 10th March in Newcastle – hear this track LIVE!!! (but buy it as well!!)
Latest Info about the March and Rally is here: and the facebook event page is at


Bethany Elen Coyle


22nd February 2018 – Lively discussions

Great to meet up with people again, and also to welcome many new faces to our KONPNE meeting this evening – we appreciated your participation, and hope that you felt welcomed.
Feedback from the last (very busy) month, and then much discussion around forthcoming events -including the March and Rally, liaison with councillors and contact with MPs. Lots done and lots to do.
The notes from the meeting will be posted here when completed – many thanks Rachael.
Our next KONPNE meeting will take place on Thursday 5th April – all welcome – full details here
The notes of the meeting are now available here: 22.2.18 – KONPNE notes of meeting

21st February 2018 – agenda for the KONPNE meeting to be held on THURSDAY 22nd February 

This is here 22.2.18 – KONPNE agenda
Full details are here Upcoming Events
See you on THURSDAY at 6.30pm for tea / coffee, and meeting starts at 7pm

20th February 2018 – Logobear for the NHS

Many thanks to Phil at Logobear Newcastle for the very generous discount to KONP supporters, family and friends – click KONPNE and LOGOBEAR to find out how to get your KONP teeshirt in superquick time next time you are in Newcastle!! Just right for the March and Rally in two weeks time!!



17th February 2018 – No response from NewcastleGateshead CCG….

Not responding

17th Feb 2018
From: NE Health Campaigns
To: Alan Foster, Mark Adams NewcastleGateshead CCG, Dr Guy Pilkington NewcastleGateshead CCG, Caroline Latta North East Commissioning Support Unit
Further to our request for information made over four weeks ago and your initial response, both emails copied below, it is disappointing that there has been nil further response. As stated in our email, there is a certain irony in this continued paucity of information, given that your presentation at the Joint STP Scrutiny Committee meeting on 15th January 2018 spoke about the importance of collaboration and, indeed, two of the councillors present highlighted the need for accessible information and greater public involvement.
Our groups do require a response to the three questions listed below. We have agreed to wait for one further week, and will then submit a FoI request for this information and supporting documentation.
Yours sincerely
John Whalley
Keep Our NHS Public North East
17th January 2018
From Caroline Latta, NECSU
Just to confirm that I have received your information and requests on behalf of Alan, and I will come back to you once I have had a chance to speak to Alan.
Best wishes
Caroline Latta
Senior communications and engagement locality manager
17th January 2018
From: NE Health Campaigns
To: Alan Foster
cc Mark Adams NewcastleGateshead CCG
cc Dr Guy Pilkington NewcastleGateshead CCG
cc Caroline Latta North East Commissioning Support Unit
Dear Mr Foster
Further to the Joint STP Health Scrutiny Committee held on Monday 15th January 2018 at Gateshead Civic Centre, members of the health campaign groups present were surprised to hear your response to one of the questions raised.
When asked a pertinent and very reasonable question about the process and timescale for the CCG providing the next draft or version of the NTWND STP, the response provided by yourself was “the STP will be published when we have developed it”. There was no or minimal attempt from yourself to qualify or explain this statement.
The wording of your response and the lack of clarification is, of course, ironic given the lengthy prior discourse at the meeting around the importance of collaboration.
Your response was also provided in the context of the previous agenda item about the “STP Prevention Workstream”, and we heard of regional progress with the “STP Prevention Board” but, apparently, you state that there is no STP – an updated draft NTWND STP has yet to be completed.
All of the above is a good example of paucity of information compounding confusion and suspicion.
I would be grateful if you would please arrange to provide the following information:
1) The draft NTWND STP went to public consultation in November 2016. Please clarify when you envisage an updated draft STP being made public for further engagement and consultation. This process is described in the attached document from Joe Corrigan (CCG) dated 14th February 2017 at point 7:3
2) Please clarify as to why the CCG has taken the decision for Workstreams / Boards to carry a definitive STP title, when an updated draft STP plan has yet to be made public and agreed
3) At the two Joint STP Scrutiny meetings, there have been aside references by CCG staff to what seems a consideration of amalgamating the NTWND STP “footprint” with other areas south of the region and in Cumbria; information and your rationale for this possible development would be appreciated.
Your early written response is appreciated, and this will be forwarded to members via social media and website
John Whalley, Co-ordinator, Keep Our NHS Public North East
Pauline McDonnell, Gateshead Keep Our NHS Public
Roger Nettleship, Chair, Save South Tyneside hospital Campaign
Carole Reeves, Co-ordinator, Durham Keep Our NHS Public

16th February 2018 – South Tyneside protest builds in momentum

Powerful lunchtime protest today, organised by The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign to highlight the continued opposition to the downgrading of Children’s 24 hours Consultant Led A&E, downgrading of Consultant Led Maternity Services, the loss of inpatient Gynaecology and all hospital stroke services. 
Speeches from the campaign chair (pic), two local MPs (pic), Councillors, and Unions – plus much support from the people of South Shields (pic), hospital staff on their lunch-time break ….and passing traffic!
There is NO DOUBT – SSTHC has the support of the public. KONP North East were present, and it was good to meet up with members of KONP Sunderland (pic).
Next in the busy South Tyneside diary is a protest lobby of the South Tyneside and Sunderland CCG on Wednesday, 21st February 2018 at Hebburn Central/Hub, starting at 1pm outside Hebburn Central/Hub. IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE THERE.
Please click on individual images to enlarge

15th February 2018 – Newcastle Uni Labour Soc hosts KONPNE

NHS WORKSHOP – On Wednesday 15th of February, Newcastle University Labour Society hosted a talk with two representatives from KONPNE. Diane Jones and Julie Armstrong shared details of the continuing push towards privatisation. A very thorough account of the ongoing crisis was given, drawing attention to a range of issues. For example, the case of ACO’s and the judicial review against them. Furthermore, local issues were raised, including the continuing struggle to save South Tyneside maternity services.
Another key topic discussed was mental health. Lack of funding for NHS services and long waiting lists are some of the key concerns. A campaigner from North Tyneside who volunteers for Samaritans highlighted a rapid increase in calls over the winter period. This is something which is pertinent within the student community, and some people at the talk play a role within the university “mind the gap” mental health society.
Whilst the talk revealed the extent of a bitter crisis, there were also positives moving forward. In particular, spreading awareness amongst the student community to help encourage activism. Plans were shared about the upcoming march and rally on the 10th of March, and some people were interested in stewarding. The event was well attended, with around 10 students. Hopefully, this has helped foster links between students and local campaigns, spreading the movement and message to defend the NHS.
Henry Holborn
Campaigns Officer
Newcastle University Labour Society

Labour Soc


13th February 2018 – The March and Rally begin to take shape

Great planning meeting for the NE March and Rally for the NHS – many thanks to all who took part – all is beginning to take shape….MORE NEWS TO FOLLOW BUT WE CAN CONFIRM ***rally opened by Keith Venables, (co chair, “Health Campaigns Together”) ***speech by MP ***Unions ***update from health campaigns ***PLUS live music from Bethany Elen Coyle, Ron Brown and Blyth Valey Samba Band….. MORE TO FOLLOW!!! Keep the date free:::::Saturday 10th March 2018, 10.45 am, Newcastle – go to facebook event for details  or click here for website info


The planning meeting meeting tonight was open to all – the notes from the meeting are Feb 13 2018 Planning for 2018 March and Rally – many thanks Rachael! 

9th February 2018 – Please assist….

Please help us to develop our campaign activity further over the coming months. 
If you are in a position to help financially with a monthly standing order, then this would be a huge help. All contributions are very gratefully received, however small. 
Our bank details are:
Bank – Co-op 
Sort code – 08 92 99 
Account – 65517907
Many thanks to all who kindly donate money. This is greatly appreciated, and every penny is used wisely in our campaign to Keep Our NHS Public.
It is fantastic to know that we have a committed group of supporters.



8th February 2018 – NT Councillors speak in support of NHS

Members of KONPNE attended North Tyneside Council “Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing Sub-Committee this evening – item 7) on the agenda being “A Presentation on the Northumberland Accountable Care Organisation”.
The presentation was made by Birju Bartoli (Exec Director of Systems, Strategy and Transformation, Northumbria Healthcate NHS Trust). Assured by the Chair that this was a fact-finding agenda item, Councillor Lesley Spillard and Councillor Alison Waggott-Fairley made important pro-NHS statements about the privatisation agenda which clearly underpins ACO’s, and Councillor Tommy Mulvenna and Jenny McAteer (NT Healthwatch) highlighted the need for increased public involvement and consultation. We watch this space very closely and will rigorously oppose any attempt to further develop the Northumberland ACO approach in the NE.
Agenda / minutes / powerpoint from Birju Bartoli about ACOs:

7th February 2018 – Newcastle TUC AGM

A BIG THANKYOU to Newcastle TUC for inviting KONPNE to address the Newcastle TUC Annual General Meeting, held earlier tonight. Much discussion around regional and national developments – including the NTWND “Sustainability and Transformation Partnership” and around “Accountable Care Systems / Organisations”….or “Integrated Care Systems” as they are now known…..same proposed cuts, same proposed privatisation…..
Much to be aware of – and much to guard against.

3rd February 2018 – National Day of Action for the NHS

MANY THANKS from KONPNE and North East Peoples Assembly to all who assisted at todays city centre campaign information stall and to all members of the public for your support – great to join together across the country with NHS supporters at the mega march in London and in 50 plus towns and cities. We join together in demanding
* an end to the winter crisis with a cash injection to restore the NHS budget
* commitment to increased funding each year
* end the cap on NHS pay
* no cuts, no closures, no privatisation
The campaign stall at the Monument attracted much information – information about privatisation and ACO’s, leaflets about Branson and Virgin, contact information for campaigns groups across the NE, advance information about the North East March and Rally for the NHS (click here) and our campaign petition – a loud and clear message to all NewcastleGateshead CCG:
Thanks also to MetroRadio for reports every hour, and to the Chronicle for extensive reporting and videowork – click here


People queueing to sign the petition at the Monument – an average of one person every thirty seconds. A LOUD AND CLEAR MESSAGE TO NEWCASTLEGATESHEAD CCG: We believe in a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS. We do not accept the underfunding of the NHS and social care, with the subsequent cuts to services in the North East.
ACO’s? Not in our name.



20th January 2018 – Lively HCT conference at Leeds

Proud to be representing North East campaigners at the “Health Campaigns Together” conference in Leeds on 20.1.18 are speakers Gemma Taylor (Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign), William Jarrett (Save North Tyneside NHS), Katie Scott (Save Rothbury Community Hospital), Liz Greener (Durham Keep Our NHS Public), John Whalley (Keep Our NHS Public North East) plus twenty more people who travelled down from the North East to Leeds in the minibus, cars and public transport. Great to spend time together and also link up with other health campaigns across the whole northern region – a sense of solidarity and inspiration – and many thanks to HCT and Leeds KONP for superb organisation.
A KONPNE video of images from the event is on the youtube channel here

19th January 2018 – Standing room only at Sunderland!

for the inaugural meeting of “Sunderland and District Keep Our NHS Public”. Pam Wortley, Chair, welcomed speakers Sharon Hodgson (MP, Washington and Sunderland West), Gemma Taylor (Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign) and John Whalley (Keep Our NHS Public North East), and then invited questions from the floor. Much energy in the room tonight – the Sunderland KONP will go from strength to strength….no doubt about that! Many congratulations, and very best wishes.
Watch the LAUNCH EVENT for Sunderland and District Keep Our NHS Public.
Video A: Introductory speech from Pam Wortley (Sunderland KONP) and speech from Gemma Taylor (Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign)
Video B: Speech from John Whalley (Keep Our NHS Public North East)
Video C: Speech from Sharon Hodgson MP
Video D: Questions from supporters of the event part i
Video E: Questions from supporters of the event part ii
This was a hugely successful evening, and we all wish Sunderland and District KONP all the very best in the campaign to KEEP OUR NHS PUBLIC.

18th January 2018 – Packed agenda for KONPNE meeting

is here 18-1-18 -konpne-agenda and the notes from the meeting (thanks Rachael!) are posted here 18-1-18 Notes from KONP Meeting . Much discussion and campaign planning – about links and campaign work with MPs, councillors, university, and about our street event with Peoples Assembly in February, and about the NE March and Rally for the NHS in March 2018. Lots happening….
Please also see information here about our next meeting. All of our meetings are open – and you are assured a warm welcome.

15th January 2018 – A poor show from North East CCG

Todays “Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and North Durham STP Health Scrutiny Committee”, held at Gateshead Civic Centre, comprised three councillors from each of the seven local councils (some apologies were given), plus observers from health campaign groups and other members of the public.
We were pleased to hear local councillors speaking out about the dangers of ACO’s and further privatisation in the NHS.  However, the CCG contributed “Item 5: Role of Accountable Care Organisations: Mark Adams, Joint Lead for Combined Cumbria and North East STP will provide the Joint Committee with a verbal update on the above” and this proved to be a wholly inadequate explanation of the concept of ACO’s as advocated by NHSE. Whilst Mark Adams commented that there is, as yet, no model for ACO’s in the North East, he took time to emphasise the benefits of collaboration within an ACO model but, in our view, minimised the fact that the ACO model operates within a business framework and, thereby, runs a significant risk of large scale privatisation. We felt his “update” and responses to questions to be evasive and, indeed, felt such to be misleading about the reality of the situation. We have written to the Chair of the Committee, with copies to all committee Councillors and CCG staff present – see Email to Councillor L Caffrey 17.1.18
Unfortunately, the situation gets worse…when Alan Foster, co-lead for the STP in the north was asked a pertinent and very reasonable question about the process and timescale for the CCG providing the next draft or version of the NTWND STP, the response provided was “the STP will be published when we have developed it”, with no or minimal attempt to qualify or explain the statement. The wording of the response and the lack of clarification is, of course, ironic given the lengthy prior discourse at the meeting around the importance of collaboration….and the response was also provided in the context of a previous agenda item about the “STP Prevention Workstream”, and the “STP Prevention Board” …..but, apparently, there is no STP – an updated draft NTWND STP has yet to be completed. A good example of paucity of information compounding confusion and suspicion. We need answers – please see Email to Alan Foster 17.1.18, and we will keep you updated.
Here is the link to the minutes of the previous meeting in Nov 2017 and to the agenda for 15th January 2018. We will let you know when the next meeting is.
A poor show from NewcastleGateshead CCG (representing the North East CCGs). 

9th January 2018 – Newcastle residents care about Urgent Care

NewcastleGateshead CCG are reviewing Urgent Care provision in Newcastle.
The CCG have conducted an “early listening” phase, essentially getting peoples opinion about Urgent Care, and have stated that they MAY enter into full engagement and consultation phases at some point in the New Year – this will be required if the CCG recommend any significant changes.
Please click on the three links at item 6 on the following Council document:
KONPNE feel that there is a distinct possibility of closures and/or downgrading ahead – as in North Tyneside Urgent Care services – so it is a good idea for Newcastle residents to be aware of this and to be ready to have your say and take action on any proposed cuts to services. Also important for the residents of the neighbouring Council areas (Gateshead, North Tyneside and Northumberland) to be aware and to contribute also, as Urgent Care services are accessed across boundaries.
Here is KONPNE’s response to the CCG “listening period” document:
Review of Urgent Care provision in Newcastle
Keep Our NHS Public North East believe in a fully funded NHS, and we will actively campaign against all cuts and cash-driven closures. This is important in all areas of healthcare. 
KONPNE is, however, especially concerned about potential changes to both Emergency and Urgent Care services at the present time as, nationally, these areas have been targeted for cuts – all associated with underfunding from central government through the STP programme.
The current appalling situation in Emergency Care cannot be seen in a vacuum, and it is clear that cuts to Urgent Care services play a part in this.
KONPNE are monitoring any proposed changes to local provision in Newcastle and, with our campaign partners, will oppose cash-driven closures.
As far as any future commissioning and procurement of services is concerned, our position is very clear – we support a publicly owned and publicly provided National Health Service.
John Whalley
Co-ordinator, KONPNE

4th January 2018 – JR4NHS CrowdJustice fundraising reaches target

URGENT LEGAL ACTION FOR OUR NHS. Well done to all supporters of the legal challenge campaign. led by Prof Stephen Hawking, Prof Allyson Pollock and colleagues – an amazing response!
Please see message below, and update on the website at
Dearest Round 1 and Round 2 supporters,
We have this evening reached our Round 2 target of £144,000. Absolutely amazing. Thanks to every single person who has donated – over 5,000 donations, an average of £28 – and to all the many individuals and groups who have spread the word in so many different ways and made this possible. This gives us such a boost and a clear signal of the support behind the case.
There has been such a surge of support over the last couple of days that we’ve decided to keep the fundraising open until Sunday morning when it’s scheduled to end, so that donations can still be made.
I will write further again very soon with more information on where the case is at.

1st January 2018 – A sincere thankyou and best wishes from all at KONPNE


A sincere thankyou and best wishes to all for 2018.
Much achieved….please see this five minute video, which summarises some of the campaign activity over the past twelve months. 
Please click here:
This is also on our facebook and twitter – please share!
and much to do….we will be emailing in two days time with news of events later this month and beyond….
But for the moment, we just want to say a big THANKYOU for your involvement – it is very much appreciated.
We wish you a happy, peaceful and healthy 2018
John Whalley
Keep Our NHS Public North East

20th December 2017 – Raring To Go – dates now confirmed for KONPNE 2018

Brunswick Methodist Church
RARING TO GO IN 2018 – We are now able to confirm the dates of our Campaign planning meetings for next year; all on Thursdays, 6.30pm for tea and coffee, 7pm start and finishing at 8.45pm; and all at our new home – Meeting Room 1 at Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle city centre. 
18th January
22nd February
5th April
17th May
28th June
6th September
There is a choice of lift or stairs to the meeting room on the first floor – but please still contact us beforehand  at if you are a wheelchair user. The Methodist Church is situated in Newcastle city centre and is located under one minute from Greys Monument / Monument Metro, at the end of the small access road which runs between Waterstones and Jamie’s Italian. 

We look forward to meeting up with KONPNE supporters – and if you have not yet joined us, then make it your New Year resolution! We guarantee a warm welcome!! We welcome all who care about the future of our NHS !!
Details about our next meeting are here

20th December 2017 – Urgent Care services under review in Newcastle

Urgent Care

NewcastleGateshead CCG are reviewing Urgent Care provision in Newcastle.
The CCG are at an “early listening” phase, essentially getting peoples opinion about Urgent Care, and have stated that they MAY enter into full engagement and consultation phases at some point in the New Year – this will be required if the CCG recommend any significant changes.
Please click on the three links at item 6 on the following Council document:
KONPNE feel that there is a distinct possibility of closures and/or downgrading ahead – as in North Tyneside – so it is CRUCIAL that Newcastle residents get involved at an early stage and have your say. Also important for the residents of the neighbouring Council areas (Gateshead, North Tyneside and Northumberland) to contribute to this, if you have used Newcastle NHS services.
The current “early listening” phase ends on 10th January 2018. There is a survey on the CCG website, and a listening event is planned by the CCG for Tuesday 9th January at 2pm in Brunswick Methodist Church, Newcastle City Centre.
Information about the survey and this event is on the CCG page at:

19th December 2017 – Sunderland KONP soon to be launched

Every so often, we are able to announce some good news!!
It is our great pleasure to confirm that a SUNDERLAND KEEP OUR NHS PUBLIC group will be launched in January 2018. This is a superb development and we wish them well. We will be advertising the details of the launch event as soon as this is confirmed by the new Sunderland team – in the interim, if you (or any friends / colleagues) live in the Sunderland area and wish to get involved with this new initiative, then please contact us at, and we will forward your details to the Sunderland organisers. A very warm welcome!



8th December 2017 – Urgent Legal Action for Our NHS / JR4NHS CrowdJustice commences

The CrowdJustice appeal is underway, led by
> Dr Graham Winyard CBE – former Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Vice President of the Faculty of Public Health, and Medical Director of the NHS in England where he led the development of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).
> Dr Colin Hutchinson – former Consultant Eye Surgeon in Halifax and Huddersfield and current Executive Committee member of Doctors for the NHS.
> Professor Allyson Pollock – public health doctor, Professor of Public Health at Newcastle University, member of Keep Our NHS Public, former chair of the NHS Consultants’ Association, and co-author of the NHS Reinstatement Bill.
> Professor Sue Richards – former senior civil servant in the Cabinet Office, a Director of the National School of Government and Professor of Public Management at Birmingham University, and co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public.
> Professor Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned cosmologist and a long-time proponent of the NHS.
This funding will enable a Judicial Review which aims to stop Hunt and NHS England from introducing new commercial, non-NHS bodies to run health and social services without proper public consultation and without full Parliamentary scrutiny. 
This is undoubtedly AN IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD in challenging the STP / Accountable Care Organisation approach being advocated by the Government.
THE CROWDJUSTICE FUNDRAISER WILL COVER LEGAL COSTS FOR HEARINGS. The team say:  It is impossible at this moment to know exactly what course the case will take. We need to have sufficient funds to cover the substantive hearing but also to be able to respond to all potential eventualities – such as permission being refused. For now, we estimate that an additional £120,000 (including VAT) would enable us to see the case through to a substantive hearing and judgment, and so we have a Round 2 stretch target of £144,000.
This would also help cover the risk of losing and being ordered to pay two sets of costs. Whilst we will ask the Court to cap our liability for costs, the Court cannot do so until after permission is granted.

8th December 2017 – South Tyneside CrowdJustice commences

Commencing today, and with help from specialist public lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign is challenging the legality of the decision to remove some vital local hospital services at South Tyneside Hospital.
They say “This is a huge challenge but if we work together we believe that we can help to Save South Tyneside Hospital. This is a David and Goliath situation – the NHS have already engaged lawyers and consultants to advise on the proposed changes. The changes are likely to be introduced very soon and therefore we need to act quickly. Some changes are already being made and we will obtain advice about whether the changes have been made lawfully”.
PROVIDE initial advice on the prospects of a judicial review after reviewing the voluminous documents.
ENGAGE in correspondence with the relevant CCGs and NHS Trusts to obtain disclosure of relevant documents and confirm that no changes will be made until a proper legal process has been completed.
ANALYSE responses received from the relevant CCGs and NHS Trusts and obtain advice on our rights and the merits of a legal challenge.

8th December 2017 – Huge turnout for South Tyneside SCBU and Maternity

Very lively lunchtime Protest, organised by the “Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign”, all in support of Maternity services and the Special Care Baby Unit, which have suddenly been relocated outwith South Tyneside. This follows the hospital Trusts claim that the service provided was unsafe due to staffing difficulties. But where are the adverts for more staff????
KONPNE joins with the “Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign” in calling for the re-opening of the Hospital Maternity and Special Care Baby Unit….and it sounds like more effective management is needed also – this situation should never have happened.
More information about the South Tyneside Campaign is at:

6th December 2017 – Urgent Care is decided in North Tyneside

North Tyneside CCG website reports 
“In response to patients’ comments, patients will be able to use the Urgent Treatment Centre on a walk-in basis from 8am to midnight, in line with the current opening hours at Rake Lane walk-in centre. People will also be able to use the centre during the night by appointments booked via NHS 111. A home visiting service will also remain in place as planned.”
“Organisations bidding to provide the service will be asked to identify a suitable site. This may be an existing walk-in centre, or another location within North Tyneside.”
“The current urgent care services at Battle Hill Health Centre and Rake Lane will continue to operate until they are replaced by the new service in October 2018.”
This does, of course, fall far short of the 24/7 service which was deemed necessary by the self same CCG earlier this year and, indeed, went out to tender  – but which subsequently morphed into the above reduced service. The two North Tyneside MPs have, previously, publicly stated their dissatisfaction with the CCG proposal and the North Tyneside councillors unanimously voted in support of a 24/7 service, but it appears that their representations to the CCG fell on deaf ears…

See details at:

4th December 2017 – Now NIL maternity in South Tyneside

Press Release – South Tyneside Hospital Campaign – 04-12-2017
The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign points out that, as we are, people contacting us have been shocked and angered on the latest announcement to “temporarily pause” in the delivery of babies at South Tyneside maternity unit. This follows closely on the previous shock announcement two days before to “temporarily” close the Special Care Baby Unit. We have been contacted also by many of the staff who are equally angered by this decision.
Roger Nettleship, Chair of Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, states:
“This has really shocked and angered everyone. Here is a Sunderland based Executive team that has come in with all its pretensions of a “path to excellence”, yet there is nothing excellent in the way they are managing the erosion of our hospital services in South Tyneside. There is nothing “safe and sustainable” about what they are doing to one of the best performing Maternity services in the country and what about the massive stress they are creating for the 165 mums-to-be over the next few weeks. This is crisis management and crisis driven wrecking of our acute hospitals”.
See events page for details of the Rally outside South Tyneside General Hospital on Friday 8th December

4th December 2017 – In todays Journal….

The Governing Body of North Tyneside CCG due to meet tomorrow (Tuesday 5th December) to consider the future of urgent care services.  The meeting will be held in public at 11am at 12 Hedley Court, Orion Business Park, North Shields, NE29 7ST.
Link to NT CCG information about the meeting is here

2nd December 2017 – Now THIS is what we call public consultation…..

Many conversations today regarding the need to retain a 24/7 Urgent Care walk-in service in North Tyneside.
Hosted by “Save North Tyneside NHS”, and held in the heart of North Shields town centre on a busy Saturday lunchtime, this very active public rally featured an open mic which was accepted by three local health campaign groups, local organisations, and importantly MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC. Now THIS is what we call public engagement…..
Many thanks to the “Save North Tyneside NHS” group for the superb hosting.
The two North Tyneside MPs and all of the North Tyneside councillors have, in the last month, expressed their disagreement with the North Tyneside CCG proposal and, at the most recent Council meeting on 23rd November, the NT councillors have requested the Elected Mayor to resolve the situation with the CCG. It is apparent that North Tyneside CCG has no public mandate to take their proposal forward. Furthermore, all of this has occurred within a context of lack of public consultation – it appears that local democracy has been disregarded by the CCG
See posts below for updates on the North Tyneside CCG proposals to permanently close the overnight Urgent Care walk-in in North Tyneside. If the NT CCG plans proceed, there is quite clearly an accident waiting to happen.
John Whalley spoke on behalf of the KONPNE membership – read the transcript of the speech here: North Shields Rally – December 2017

1st December 2017 – “Temporary” closure of Special Care Baby Unit

Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign Press Release 1-12-2017
The Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign is holding an emergency protest outside the Executive team headquarters, Chester Road entrance at Sunderland Royal today at 5-pm-6pm.
“The Save South Tyneside Campaign was shocked to hear this announcement which means also that the maternity is also downgraded with immediate effect. Yet again the Sunderland based Executive team has allowed nursing vacancies to go unfilled and staff to become demoralised by announcing the proposed closure of the unit in the consultation in July.
Without any decision on that closure being made till next year they have now pre-empted the closure of SCBU and the downgrade of maternity as they did with the closure of the stroke service. Far from being a “path to excellence” and safer and sustainable services this is a path of one crisis after another in the name of “safe and sustainable” services.
SSTHC wants to know what the Trust leaders are going to do to make sure that the unit is fully staffed, “with immediate effect”, or are they going to use this as an excuse to continue to make our hospital acute services unsustainable and place and unbearable strain on Sunderland and other hospital services forcing the people to travel long distances and for people to wait even longer for treatment.
Roger Nettleship Chair of SSTHC says:
“Health care is a right in a modern society and it should be guaranteed this road of so called Sustainablity and Transformation plans that the government and its health leaders are embarked on is not a path to excellence but a path that is wrecking NHS services for both South Tyneside and Sunderland”
Roger Nettleship

30th November 2017 – Much discussion!! And a new home for KONPNE!!

Another very busy meeting – and great to welcome new supporters also!
Plans made to liaise more closely with councillors, and to develop a targetted campaign around the NHS Bill in the New Year.
The agenda is here: 30-11-17-konpne-agenda  and notes from the meeting are here: 30-11-17-konpne-notes of meeting
Agreed that we continue to hold our meetings at the new venue – Brunswick Methodist hall. Agreed that the venue is central, and meets our needs very well.

29th November 2017 – Email to North Tyneside Councillors

Dear Councillor Hall, Councillor Green and Councillor Day
I am writing on behalf of the many members of the “Keep Our NHS Public North East” group who reside in North Tyneside. I personally am also a resident in the Borough. 
Members have asked that I write to you to express our full agreement and support with the Motion which you presented to the Council on the 23rd November 2017 regarding the need to retain a 24/7 Urgent Care service at Rake Lane. We agree with you that, at the very least, the people of North Tyneside deserve full consultation, and it is wholly unacceptable that this has not taken place – the CCG “engagement” period of the last month is, of course, generally regarded as being both a sham and disrespectful. It is, indeed, extremely positive that your Motion was supported unanimously by your fellow Councillors.
Our group has informed North Tyneside CCG of our grave concerns regarding their proposal, and we are also meeting with North Tyneside Healthwatch next week. We are aware of a public rally in North Tyneside at the weekend which has been called with specific regard to the North Tyneside CCG proposal, and which is currently receiving much attention in social media. We also note that in addition to yourselves and the unanimous support of North Tyneside Councillors, our two MPs have also publicly voiced their great dissatisfaction with the proposal and the fact that the opinion of residents has not been properly sought. Apart from the obvious issues around the accessibility of health care, it does feel that local democracy has been overridden by North Tyneside CCG.
You will be aware that there is now a groundswell of opinion against the North Tyneside CCG proposal and the associated process, and we now look to our Mayor to take this further.
We have updated our membership about the current situation via email, website, facebook and twitter, with much positive feedback regarding your actions and your Motion. Additionally, I have emailed the Chronicle and the North Tyneside free papers earlier today, so that they are also fully appraised of the current situation.
I have copied this email to all members of the Health and Wellbeing Committee, Adult Social Care and Health and Wellbeing Sub-Committee, Mayor and Deputy Mayor, our two Members of Parliament and the North Tyneside Healthwatch Director and Chair.
With regards
John Whalley
Co-ordinator – KONPNE

27th November 2017 – Slides from the Profs Himmelstein / Woolhandler lecture

Many people have asked for an opportunity to study the powerpoint slides from the recent Profs Himmelstein and Woolhandler lecture, and KONPNE are pleased to confirm that these have now arrived from across the Atlantic and are available here:
Himmelstein Woolhandler slides 2017
Many thanks to Professor Allyson Pollock for arranging and hosting this event in Newcastle, and to Professor David Himmelstein and Professor Steffi Woolhandler for the powerful and memorable presentation. We need to make sure that we learn from the situation over in America – and make sure that we don’t learn the hard way.

23rd November 2017 – North Tyneside Councillors say NO

The proposals of North Tyneside CCG to permanently close the overnight walk-in Urgent Care service received a resounding NO from Councillors.  At the full meeting of North Tyneside Council on 23.11.17, Councillors voted UNANIMOUSLY to request the Mayor to
1) write to the CCG and the Minister of Health to retain the 24/7 urgent care centre at Rake Lane hospital and request a full consultation be undertaken throughout the Borough on these controversial proposals. 
2) campaign locally for the retention of our 24/7 urgent care centre at Rake Lane.
KONPNE respect and totally support the work of Councillors M Hall, M A Green and S Day in tabling the motion, and all Councillors at North Tyneside for the unanimous vote of support.
The Motion excerpt is here: North Tyneside Council Motion 23.11.17
The full report is here:
2017.11.23 Council Minutes -Final_0
See motion 2 for the details of the Motion.
See also Question 5 put to the Council from William Jarrett, from “Save North Tyneside NHS”



21st November 2017 – Budget Day Action


Click images to enlarge
Good to be at the Peoples Assembly North East “Budget Day Action and Big Winter Foodbank Collection” tonight and to stand together in opposing the Governments austerity measures which are affecting all aspects of public life – massive changes and cuts in benefits, education, housing, social care, policing, emergency services and – yes – the NHS
Excellent speakers urged the Government to use the Budget to scrap their plans for Universal Credit, to act to end the continuing drop in living standards, to end the public sector pay cap, and to invest in our public services.
The rally also highlighted a North East initiative
***THE FOODBANK CHALLENGE: 50k by Christmas Day***
It is deeply saddening that we have people in our very own communities who are suffering from severe poverty, and are put in a position to decide between fuel or food. This must end.
Newcastle West End Food Bank supports 1,000 people per week of which 45% are children under 16 and at this time of the year it struggles to meet demand. 
Please go to to donate.



13th November 2017 – North East STP Health Scrutiny Committee meets for the first time




The inaugural meeting of the “Northumberland Tyne and Wear and North Durham STP Health Scrutiny Committee” was held tonight at Gateshead Civic Centre. All seven Councils in the STP were represented by three Councillors each.
Councillor Mary Foy (Gateshead Council) was appointed as Chair and Councillor Wendy Taylor (Newcastle City Council) was appointed Vice Chair.
The meeting was also well attended by approx twenty members of the public as observers, including members of health campaign groups from across the North East.
A presentation was given by reps from the CCG, and Councillors then came back with some searching questions and comments incl 1) the need to keep developments bottom up (instead of the typical STP top down approach) 2) the need for more information about ACO’s (and how accountable they actually are) 3) the need to pay attention to transport and accessibility in the STP proposals (no mention of this on the presentation slides) 4) the need for service users to have more power in the decision-making process 4) the need to bring STP workstream ideas to the Scrutiny meeting at an earlier time (there had been no updates on developments over the past year) 5) the need to ensure that people do not fall through the gaps in future service provision where funding is capped.
Two observers asked questions – John Whalley and Dr Helen Murrell highlighted the massive underfunding which underpins the STP, and also highlighted the associated issues around privatisation, the rationing of services and the fact that the STP relies on an unrealistic collaboration / risk-sharing between NHS and private providers. The point was also made that the British Medical Association do not support the STP initiative,
Councillors agreed to meet every two months – the next meeting is scheduled for Monday 15th January 2018 at 10.30am, at Gateshead Civic Centre.
A link to the papers for this meeting and membership is here
A link to the protocol and terms of reference for this committee is here
PLEASE HELP by contacting your own council representatives on this Committee (see membership list below) to outline the risks that the STP and Accountable Care Organisations pose to the future of our NHS. 
The email addresses of councillors may be found via the respective Councils website
Membership of the “STP Health Scrutiny Committee”:
Gateshead Council: Councillor M Foy, Councillor L Caffrey, Councillor P Maughan
Newcastle City Council: Councillor W Taylor, Councillor F Mendelson, Councillor A Schofield
North Tyneside Council: Cllr G Bell, Cllr I Grayson, Cllr Margaret Hall
Northumberland County Council: Councillor E Armstrong, Councillor L Simpson, Councillor J Watson
South Tyneside Council:  Councillor W Flynn,  Councillor A Hetherington,  Councillor A Huntley
Durham County Council:  Councillor J Robinson, Councillor M Davinson, Councillor O Temple
Sunderland City Council:  Councillor J Heron, Councillor K Chequer, Councillor C Leadbitter

11th November 2017 – From the top…..


Dear Councillors
I am a former Director of Public Health in North Manchester and have spent my whole career in the NHS, trying to ensure that the NHS, Local Authorities and other related bodies implement the aims of the NHS to provide a comprehensive health service for all, funded from taxation, and free at the time of use, and to work towards reducing the health inequalities which still blight our country.
I am sure you agree that we live in very dangerous times, with powerful forces trying to undermine the NHS and turn it into something like the profitable disaster that is the US (non-)system of health care. My view is that is the prime objective behind STPs.
The evidence all points in that direction and I urge you to try to find time to listen to the lecture that Prof Allison Pollock gave recently at Newcastle University. You can find it on their website here:
I think you will know that Resolution 8 of the Labour Party 2017 on Health, moved by my organisation the Socialist Health Association on behalf of a wide range of health organisations and others, was carried unanimously and hence is now Labour policy. It calls for a new NHS bill and rejects STPs as part of the attempt to undermine and privatise the NHS.
As members of the STP Health Scrutiny Committee you are face the responsibility of defending the NHS as far as you can from those attacks now being made to further undermine and privatise it. Progressive people within and outside the NHS are looking to you to avoid being sucked in to agreeing to policies which are threats to the very basis of the NHS, to defend what you can until we can get the new NHS Bill which is needed to safeguard the health care of us all. We are relying on you.

10th November 2017 – Trying to push things through quickly???

Members of KONPNE attended the NT Council Health and Wellbeing Sub-Committee last night, which is open to all members of the public. Shortly before the meeting, Councillor Karen Clark (chair) had taken the positive step in postponing the CCG agenda item about the proposed overnight closure of the Urgent Care service, as the CCG had wanted councillors to approve it – and the councillors felt that this was outwith their remit. Councillor Clark also noted that it is still the engagement period, and information from the CCG about their current period of “engagement” would be appreciated! 
Another example of North Tyneside CCG trying to push things through quickly?
The NT CCG report about their Urgent Care proposal is here (see pages 10-34)

9th November 2017 – JR4NHS: now TWO legal cases are being considered…and funding secured from members of the public within 24 hours!!


Prof Allyson Pollock and colleagues have written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, to give him notice of their intention to seek a judicial review to stop NHS England from introducing new commercial, non-NHS bodies to run health and social services without proper public consultation and without full Parliamentary scrutiny.
These non-NHS bodies, known as Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs), originate in the US and will fundamentally change the NHS and involve a radical reorganisation of health and social services in England. They will have control over the allocation of NHS and taxpayers’ money. Their accountability for spending it and their obligations to the public will be under commercial contracts, not statutes. Prof Pollock states: “This is a critical time in the move to the privatisation and Americanisation of the NHS in England. It’s going to be a big fight to stop this and we need everybody to help”.
One piece of good news is that the crowd-funding appeal towards the initial cost of the legal action and judicial review has met its target of £26,000 WITHIN 24 HOURS!!
The team write: “What a fantastic response. We thank every single one of you who has pledged. It gives us a huge boost. This is the first stage in what we expect could be several funding appeals.We have decided for now to suspend the fund raising temporarily as we have reached our initial target. This is amazing because in one day we have raised enough money to consider the Secretary of State’s response when it comes and being advised on filing the claim. We never thought we would be in this position so soon, so once again a huge thank you. Please continue to spread the word and to keep an eye out for updates. This is just the start of a long struggle to get our NHS back.”
An overview of the process is here: and the legal details are here:…/PollockEtAl_ACOConsultatio…
The “999 Call for the NHS” has also been working on a separate legal challenge, and past posts regarding this have been copied onto our social media and website. The 999 legal challenge is ongoing, and an update about their great work is here:…/our-nhs-comprehensive-healt…/
Finally, todays Guardian carries an article about both initiatives, and this can be found here:…/vital-nhs-account-acos-legal-…

4th November 2017 – Huge conference gathering in Hammersmith

The NE was well represented at the “Health Campaigns Together” Conference today in London. Members of KONPNE and Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign travelled to Hammersmith – a great opportunity to share experiences and to meet with people from other health campaign groups from across the country.
Great speech from KEN LOACH on the NHS – hear this here
Video message from Jonathan Ashworth to the conference is here
The next HCT conference is scheduled for Saturday January 20th 2018 in Leeds – more information is here  Please keep the date free…..and join us in Yorkshire?

2nd November 2017 – Journal letter….and still awaiting information requested from NT CCG



30th October 2017 – ACO’s not welcome in the North East

Public Lecture 30 October-page-0
Tonights lecture “IS US STYLE HEALTHCARE THE FUTURE FOR ENGLAND?” provided detailed, thought-provoking….and very worrying information to a packed lecture hall. Professor Allyson Pollock (Newcastle University) set the UK scene by reviewing the “Accountable Care Organisation” model currently being advocated by NHS England, followed by guests Professor Steffie Woolhandler and Professor David Himmelstein (both of City University of New York) who reported on their impressively extensive body of research spanning many years which highlights how the “Accountable Care Organisation” system in the US has clearly led to increased costs, reduced efficiency, privatisation and has, indeed, increased inequalities within society.
The audience tonight comprised local councillors, Union activists, health campaigners, members of community groups, qualified and trainee medics and nurses (and other health professions), people from across the political spectrum and members of the public who care deeply about the future of the NHS. 
We all need to take responsibility in doing something about this NOW – at the national level by ensuring that MPs sign up to the NHS Bill and at a local level by joining a local health campaign and fighting against cash-driven hospital closures and fighting FOR a fully-funded, publicly owned and publicly provided NHS. On an individual and practical level, we need to ensure that all information about the reality of ACO’s is relayed to all members of the public, including local councillors.


Check out the video here from Prof Woolhandler and Prof Himmelstein. ACO’s =
> Increased costs
> no evidence of improved quality
> driving healthcare into corporate hands
> generates inequalities within society
Check out the video here. North East GP and Chair of North East BMA Dr George Rae comments on “Accountable Care Organisations” and how the lecture highlights:
> ACO’s potentially very detrimental to NHS
> Finance is very dominant part of thinking re ACO’s
> Need to be more awareness about what is happening to NHS
> Clinicians and public need to be consulted and listened to
Check out the video here as Diane Jones of “Keep Our NHS Public North East” sets out three positive ways forward.
> Write to your MP re supporting NHS Reinstatement Bill
> Collect our leaflet, log on, join the Campaign, find out what you can do locally to stop ACO’s progressing
> Become active in the Campaign – please work with us


…and these slides more or less speak for themselves…the slide on the left demonstrating the growth in the number of US physicians (yellow line at the bottom) v growth in health administrators (blue block) 1970 – 2017
and the second slide demonstrating how USA spending on health exceeds total spending in all other nations
…and we are now importing this very same US “Accountable Care Organisation” model…..?

28th October 2017 – Co-leader of Green Party sends good wishes to all health campaigners in the North East

Jonathan Bartley (Co-Leader of the Green Party) pictured with John Whalley (Keep Our NHS Public North East) in Newcastle earlier today. The Green Party affirmed its stance in supporting a NHS which is free at the point of need, and which is a public service funded by, run by and accountable to local and national government and devoid of all privatisation. 
Jonathan was very interested to learn of the work of KONPNE and other health Campaigns in the area, and he sent his good wishes to all. 
Members of the local North East Green Party supported his view that the NHS is concerned with healthcare provision and must not be subject to market forces.

27th October 2017 – North Tyneside MPs brand latest CCG proposal as “UNACCEPTABLE”

Joint statement from Mary Glindon MP and Alan Campbell MP regarding proposed permanent overnight closure of North Tyneside Urgent Care walk in facility:
“The CCG proposal as it stands is unacceptable. Effectively the temporary closure of the Urgent Care Centre at Rake Lane is to become permanent, without proper consultation but with a so called “engagement exercise” instead. Residents across North Tyneside will be receiving a lesser service than patients at Wansbeck and Hexham where a 24 hour service has resumed, despite them being less busy centres. The reason for that is entirely the fault of North Tyneside CCG who took the decision not to reopen, at the last minute.
The proposal will leave urgent care at Rake Lane open for even fewer hours than now and it isn’t clear whether patients will be able to walk in or will need an appointment. The NHS is there to serve the needs of patients not the needs of the CCG.
Instead of directing people from Cramlington – which caused the need for closure in the first place – the will instead be pushed to Cramlington or Newcastle. The irony is that this announcement came on the same day as the Ambulance Trust warned that waiting times could be longer. The rest of us will be left with an inadequate 111 telephone service or a return to a discredited locum service.
If as the CCG says it has a duty to spend taxpayers money wisely did they waste so much money on the flawed first procurement exercise? This appears to be financially driven and the CCG are hiding behind new Government guidelines which are themselves driven by the chronic underfunding of the NHS. We thought CCG’s were there for patients and not to do the Government’s dirty work.
We strongly believe that the Urgent Care Centre at Rake Lane should return to 24 hour opening to relieve pressure on Cramlington and in line with Hexham and Wansbeck. We also need the service to be based at Rake Lane as residents said and there must be full and proper consultation.
The CCG says that the did a detailed consultation before but now intend to ignore it. That consultation supported a “one stop shop” and said it must be at Rake Lane. Instead our constituents face a downgraded service at Rake Lane or at worst none at all, and all that without proper consultation. That represents a gross failure by the CCG in almost every regard.”

26th October 2017 – North Tyneside CCG proposes PERMANENT night-time closure of Urgent Care department 

Well – the headline speaks for itself.
Click on the link here for the Chronicle report on the proposed closure, and the link here for the Chronicle report which gives the response of the two North Tyneside MPs.
Much more information about this proposal is obviously required from North Tyneside CCG, plus the time for North Tyneside residents to talk about and to consider this proposal properly. If North Tyneside CCG truly wish to engage with residents in North Tyneside about health developments, then they will need to ensure that a full and proper consultation about this important matter is scheduled. 
Find here EMAIL 26th October 2017 North Tyneside CCG the email sent to North Tyneside CCG from KONPNE this afternoon, with copies to North Tyneside health campaigners, MPs, councillors, Healthwatch and local press, as described. 
We will keep you updated

17th October 2017 – Message from Rothbury

From Katie Scott, Save Rothbury Hospital Campaign:
Dear Friends
Victory! We won a considerable victory this morning – the Scrutiny Committee voted to refer the case to the Secretary of State for Health!
The Scrutiny Committee had to discuss:
a) whether the consultation with this Committee in relation to the proposal in respect of RCH has been adequate in relation to the content or the amount of time allowed: and
b) whether the Committee considers that the proposal would not be in the best interests of the health service in Northumberland
c) whether if either of these issues is of concern to the Committee, it believes that it has sufficient evidence in support of that concern to make a referral to the Secretary of State for Health on behalf of the Council.
Cllrs Robbie Moore, Roderick Lowrie, Julie Foster Kath Nisbet and Liz Simpson all voted for (a) and (b) and so they have to pull together the evidence (of which we have supplied them with a massive amount).
The Team are meeting again on Friday, when we will devise the best way for us and the community to ensure the success of this next stage. It could be letter writing, etc. I will let you know asap.
We were on the lunchtime news, at 4 minutes in:
Thank you so very much for your continued support. It’s a small step for Coquetvale but a huge leap for democracy and justice!

17th October 2017 – Future of Rothbury Hospital ward goes to Secretary of State

A packed council chamber….and the deeply unpopular proposed changes re in-patient ward closure at Rothbury was discussed at the Northumberland County Council Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee this morning.
The sketchy proposals brought by Northumberland CCG were considered by Northumberland Councillors to be lacking in a number of areas, including not bringing their proposals to the Scrutiny Committee in a timely manner, the quality of the CCG data was questioned, and there appeared great uncertainty as to the benefits of the proposed changes (commissioning a nebulous and non-specific “health and wellbeing centre”….whatever that means). Thus it proved absolutely no surprise that the Council voted against the CCG proposal (2 votes for, 5 votes against, 1 abstention) and, instead, it was agreed to refer the matter to the Secretary of State.

Well done Katie Scott and the Rothbury team who are fighting to retain the in-patient ward at Rothbury. It is crucial that the in-patient facility remains at Rothbury. The journey continues….
The comprehensive report written by the Rothbury Campaign Team is here

14th October 2017 – Hundreds walk in South Shields to save acute hospital services


Todays March and Rally, organised by Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, was one of many Campaign activities arranged in response to the deeply flawed proposals to downgrade hospital services at South Shields in areas including stroke, obstetrics and gynaecology (including maternity) and emergency care for children. 
Last year, when the first march and rally was held the campaign had listed 10,000 signatures…. now the petition holds more than 30,000 signatures….say no more!
Many thanks to Roger, Gemma and all at the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign team for all of your continuing hard work south of the Tyne and for arranging such a successful event today.
John Whalley spoke on behalf of Keep Our NHS Public North East, and his speech is here:  SSTHC Rally – October 2017 – live version
Report from the Shields Gazette is here
…and some photos of this great event are here….

14th October 2017 – audio and slides now available

We are pleased to confirm that there is now a  direct link below to the Newcastle University “Insights” website which contains the audio and slides from Professor Pollocks open lecture of 12th October – 
Please click here 

12th October 2017 – Standing room only….

well…actually…the crowd of people attending the Allyson Pollock open lecture at Newcastle University tonight was so ginormous that an overspill lecture theatre needed to be made available, and the lecture relayed there also….so everyone got seats in the end….

“The dismantling of our NHS and why we need a NHS Bill to reinstate it”

Ultra-specific and crystal clear in detail, Professor Pollock outlined the ins and outs of health policy over the past twenty years, culminating in the Accountable Care Systems of today – an American import which is clearly orientated to a private health takeover.
Our NHS was the model for the rest of the world in 1948 – low cost, efficient and universal – and many European countries followed our health care model. We now need to reinstate it to public ownership. It is not too late, but we do require a change in law – and we can all contribute to making this happen.
One quick AND VERY EFFECTIVE intervention from yourself is 
1) check www.nhsbillnow to determine if your MP supports the NHS Bill
2) if not, please email your MP to ask that s/he supports the NHS Bill and arranges for a photo to be taken holding the poster in Margaret Greenwoods office at Westminster.
The address of your MP is located here:
Information is also available at



Many thanks to the Insights Lecture team at Newcastle University for organising this public lecture – KONPNE has enquired as to whether a recording has been made, and we will keep you updated about this.

1st October 2017 – We cross the Pennines….and Tories get the message in Manchester

Congratulations to the Peoples Assembly for organising the massive and highly successful march on the Tory party conference in Manchester today. KONPNE were there, alongside at least three coaches of people from the North East, plus the many others who travelled independently over the Pennines by car and train. 50,000 people in Manchester said NO to austerity and NO to the desperate Tory policy of privatisation and cuts to public services. We are the many and they are the few… the movement is gathering in strength and energy. Many thanks to North East Peoples Assembly, and to the North East Unions who arranged transport, and to all who travelled and joined in.



19th September 2017 – KONPNE at council meetings

KONPNE are keen for members to attend local council meetings (“Health and Wellbeing” and also “Health Scrutiny” meetings) so that we have a presence at these meetings and are able to keep up-to-date with Council decisions regarding the local “Sustainability and Transformation Plan”…are you able to assist? These Council meetings are all open to the public, and you will not be expected to speak. Please contact us at if you are able to attend the Newcastle Council (at the Civic Centre), North Tyneside (at the Quadrant, Silverlink) or Northumberland County Council (at County Hall, Morpeth)
Forthcoming council meetings are:
Newcastle – 10th Oct 4.30pm, 12 Oct 4.30pm
North Tyneside – 9th November 6pm, 16th November 2pm,
Northumberland – 3rd October 10am, 12th October 10am
We will check the agenda’s in the week beforehand to check that relevant items are listed for discussion.
Health campaign groups are already attending South Tyneside, Gateshead and Durham Council meetings – if you live in one of those areas and wish to offer help, again, please contact KONPNE and we will put you in touch.
Thank you. 
Your help with this initiative would be greatly appreciated.

14th September 2017 – Newcastle Lecture and Q&A published today 

Earlier in July, Keep Our NHS Public North East were very pleased to welcome Professor Allyson Pollock, Director, Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University.
Professor Pollock delivered a Public Lecture (1 hour) and Q&A session (30 mins) as part of the NHS 69th Birthday events:
“Post-election reflections on the fate of the NHS in England and health and social care services in the North East”
The event was filmed in Newcastle, and the video may be viewed from today at
KONPNE youtube channel: (see post on 14th September) (see post on 14th September)


Professor Allyson Pollock joins with Dr Helen Groom (Keep Our NHS Public North East), who introduced the event.
KONPNE were fortunate in being able to book the atmospheric and historic Neville Hall at the Institute of Mining, Newcastle upon Tyne, for the Public Lecture by Professor Allyson Pollock. In the following brief video, Simon Brooks (Centre Manager) sets the scene for the evening by providing a historical overview of the venue:

5th September 2017 – busy KONPNE meeting and superb presentation by the South Tyneside team

A busy KONPNE meeting tonight – lots discussed including the NHS Bill, ways of increasing liaison with councillors (focus on email information and attending relevant council meetings), the proposed motion to the Labour Party conference, and future events – the Peoples Assembly national protest in Manchester on 1st October, the public meeting being planned in the North East for late October (details out soon), and the Health Campaigns Together conference in London on 4th November.
Top of the bill for the evening was the wonderful presentation by Maddy Nettleship and Dave Herbert, who spoke about the work of the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign – the movement in South Tyneside to save the hospital is gathering much speed and momentum, with a petition of 24,000 (yes – 24,000!!!!) signatures. If you missed it tonight, then a copy of the presentation is here: South Tyneside presentation 5th September 2017   Many thanks, Maddy and Dave, and good wishes to all in the South Tyneside team.
The agenda for the meeting is here: 5.9.17 KONPNE agenda and notes from the meeting are here: 5.9.17 KONPNE notes
If you care about the future of the NHS, then please read the notes (above) and get involved!! You will be made to feel very welcome.  Please contact us at

17th August 2017 – a message from 38degrees

Last week in Shropshire, the Accountable Officer for Telford and Wrekin CCG publicly reversed the founding principles of the NHS.
“David Evans ( Telford and Wrekin Accountable Officer) summed up the debate by claiming a benefit for most people ‘while recognising of course that for some parts of the population there would be a disadvantage’. He went on to advise the Committee that ‘one of the founding principles was to try and make a decision based on the basis of the greatest good for the majority’. David Evans is completely wrong. The founding principles of the NHS are about comprehensive healthcare and universal healthcare – about all healthcare being available to all people. David Evans reversed the ethos of the NHS, and CCG members voted with him. It’s no wonder that members of the public responded with real anger” 
All across England, people in NHS decision making positions are saying “We put the patient at the heart of everything we do!” – then make decisions which actively discriminate against some of them.

10th August 2017 – North East CCG’s provide feedback on the STP engagement exercise

CCG report on engagement activity around the vision, principles and approach of the draft STP;  23rd November 2016 – 20th January 2017
The links to the CCG websites are here – the same report and appendices is on all of the websites. The appendices provide information about the written responses and public meetings.
The CCG report and appendices can also be located on our KONPNE website resources page here

8th July 2017 – Health campaigners converge at Durham Miners Gala 2017


Durham Miners Gala 2017 – the 133rd Gala!
People. music, brass, grass, sunshine, a sense of solidarity, history and the absolute need to continue the fight…..
…..KONP Durham, KONPNE, KONP Leeds, Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, 999 Call for the NHS and national Health Campaigns Together meet up at the 2017 Gala…..and here’s the kaleidoscope of pics!!!!….and here’s to next year!!!!
It was also great to meet up with Keith Venables for the first time. Keith is national secretary for the “Health Campaigns Together” organisation, an initiative to enable the existing health campaigns across England to liaise together, share experiences, and where possible work together on issues of common concern. HCT recently did a superb job in co-ordinating the NHS Birthday activity across the country.
Click here Keith on youtube for a brief video of Keith at the Gala and click here Brass band for  a video of one of the many brass bands in action in the city centre

5th July 2017 – NHS nationwide!

Click on the link below for a Health Campaigns Together photodiary of NHS birthday celebrations across the country – including our own event here in the Newcastle
NHS day of action pictures

5th July 2017Chronicle Live report, plus Chronicle Live video are here:

NHS turns 69: North East campaigners warn the service is ‘at a precipice’

The NHS’s 69th birthday was marked with an event to ‘celebrate and defend’ the service in Newcastle.

Campaigners have warned that the NHS is standing “at a precipice” as the service celebrates its 69th birthday.
On this day in 1948, health minister Aneurin Bevan founded the National Health Service, which was set up to provide universal healthcare for all, on the basis of need, free at the point of use. Among those wishing it a happy birthday on social media today is the Royal College of Nursing, which described it as “Britain’s most cherished institution”.
Campaign group Keep Our NHS Public North East organised a day of celebrations to mark the occasion and thank NHS staff for their hard work and commitment over the past 69 years. But group co-ordinator John Whalley said: “We also remember that we stand at a precipice and will lose the NHS if the Governments current plans regarding service cuts, reorganisation and privatisation go ahead.”
Demonstrators gathered at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle on Wednesday for a birthday event. Balloons and banners helped to create a party atmosphere as passers-by wrote birthday messages in a giant card, which was then taken to the gates of Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary for staff and patients to sign before being posted to health minister Jeremy Hunt.
Mr Whalley said: “Here in the North East, the local Clinical Commissioning Groups are having to work with massively reduced budgets, and this is further compounded by huge cuts to social care.”
It has been a turbulent year for local health services, with CCGs currently working on the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP), which aims to find £900million in cuts to health and social care budgets in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and North Durham by 2021.
Campaigners are waiting to learn the fate of a 12-bed inpatient ward at Rothbury Community Hospital, which had been temporarily shut for seven months after health bosses found it was “underused”. A consultation into the ward’s future closed in April. Northumbria Healthcare NHS trust also announced last month that overnight emergency care at Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck hospitals was being suspended for another three months. The move came six months after a “temporary” closure to help cope with high demand for services in the region, with staff redeployed to the Northumbria hospital in Cramlington. And a consultation has been launched this week which could see some stroke, maternity and children’s services move from South Tyneside District Hospital to Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Mr Whalley said: “Our event today will celebrate the birthday of the NHS, and we want to celebrate it for years to come as a fully funded and publicly owned and publicly provided National Health Service. So today we celebrate, but we must also defend.”

5th July 2017HAPPY 69th BIRTHDAY NHS FROM ALL ON TYNESIDE!!  We must both celebrate and defend

Keep Our NHS Public North East, North East Peoples Assembly and Newcastle TUC co-hosted the Tyneside NHS@69 event at the Monument, and we were pleased to share this with many members of the public, Unison, Northern TUC, BMA, RCN, North East Pensioners Association, and Save North Tyneside NHS.
We celebrated the achievements of the NHS and thanked NHS staff for all of the hard work and commitment over the 69 years. We were helped along the way with two GINORMOUS birthday cards for all to sign (courtesy of national Health Campaigns Together), a special NHS birthday cake, balloons, speeches…and then off to the RVI gates for additional signatures and messages from Union representatives on behalf of the NHS workforce….and finally heading down to the Post Office at the top of Northumberland Street, and onward posting of the card to Mr J Hunt MP – just to remind him how much we care for the NHS in the North East.

We did the NHS proud today – celebration and VERY IMPORTANTLY stating loud and clear that we need also to DEFEND. W
e remember that we stand at a precipice and will lose the NHS if the Governments current plans regarding cuts and reorganisation go ahead.  It was great that so many people and organisations wanted to make it clear that we all call for   * no cuts or cash-driven closures    * fair pay for all NHS staff     * a fully funded, publicly owned and publicly provided National Health Service
HAPPY BIRTHDAY NHS!!!! And many happy returns…..
The press release for the event is here: NHS at 69 years old – Press Release
Photodiary in 20 pics >>>>>>>>>>>>
DSCN1099 (2)  1: Peter Roderick, co-author of the NHS Reinstatement Bill
DSCN1105  2: Tim Wall, Save North Tyneside NHS
DSCN1106  3: Dr Helen Groom, KONPNE
DSCN1114  4: Clare Williams, Unison Northern Regional Secretary
DSCN1116 (2)  5: Happy Birthday from the North East !! We celebrate.
DSCN1119  6: Jessie Jo Jacobs, Northern TUC
DSCN1125  7: Sean Fahey, North East Pensioners Association
DSCN1129  8: Tony Dowling and Dawn Warcop, North East Peoples Assembly 
DSCN1132 (2)  9: Martin Levy, President, Newcastle TUC, adds a message
DSCN1133  10: It is actually heavier than it looks – en route to the RVI gates
DSCN1137  11: Lin Clarkson, RCN “Scrap the Cap Campaign” manager 
DSCN1138 (2)  12: Sheila Wilson, Unison Regional Organiser and Jacqueline Francis, Unison Branch Administrator
DSCN1140  13: Dr John Moore, Chair, BMA Northern Region Jnr Doc Committee
DSCN1143  14: Members of Keep Our NHS Public North East – Clare Bethell, Dr Lawrence Welch, Dr Helen Groom and John Whalley
DSCN1147 (2)  15: An important message – very true
DSCN1150  16: Dr Lawrence Welch flies the flag for Durham KONP 
DSCN1153  17: Good job we brought a largish envelope…
DSCN1155  18: ….now all addressed and ready to rumble
DSCN1160  19: ….and its off to the Post Office
DSCN1163  20: …..and hoping that the letterbox is big enough

New NHS Service

This is what today is all about – the “new health service”, our NHS, founded 69 years ago on 5th July 1948. It has served us exceptionally well – so let’s save it for the next generation.

3rd July 2017 – We welcome Professor Allyson Pollock – Public Lecture and Q&A

A thought-provoking Public Lecture and Q&A session was delivered by Professor Allyson Pollock in Newcastle upon Tyne this evening.
Entitled “Post-election reflections on the fate of the NHS in England and health and social care services in the North East“, Professor Pollock reviewed past and current developments in health provision and provided insight into ways forward for all who support and care for the NHS.
Professor Pollock is Professor of Public Health Research and Policy, and is Director of the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University. She is well known as a NHS campaigner, public health researcher, and for her work on NHS cuts, marketisation, privatisation and PFI’s. She is author of NHS plc, in addition to much other ground-breaking research work.
KONP North East are very grateful to Professor Pollock for providing the lecture, Dr Helen Groom for chairing the event, Andy Parkes for videography and Simon Brooks for making us so welcome at the Institute of Mining Lecture Theatre. The Public Lecture forms part of the North East NHS 69 Birthday celebration week. The event was attended by people from a range of backgrounds – health campaigners, political activists, union members, academics and interested members of the public, and will shortly be freely available to view via this website.

Prof Allyson Pollock public lecture-page0001


1st July 2017 – #NotOneDayMore

A update from North East Peoples Assembly:
Todays #NotOneDayMore demo was a magnificent effort built in three weeks after the general election. We took a full coach down from Newcastle & many more north east supporters were there by other means. It was a great day and a great show of strength by the anti-austerity movement we have created. We need continuing campaigns over schools, hospitals and housing. One theme also ran through today: justice for Grenfell, which so epitomises everything that is wrong with our society.
Contact North East Peoples Assembly at

1st July 2017 – South Tyneside all out in support

Well done to the team at Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign who made an enormous impact at the South Tyneside Summer Parade – a massive amount of support was voiced by all present.
The South Tyneside Campaign continues. Please get in touch at to offer assistance.

1st July 2017 – KONPNE make national news in HCT



25th June 2017 – STP; the figures don’t stack up

Thankyou to John Kennedy, member of KONPNE, for the following analysis of data. Much appreciated.
The Government insists that it is investing more in the NHS with Teresa May and Jeremy Hunt citing an additional £8 billion investment – a very misleading claim. Since 2010 the Government in the name of austerity has substantially limited investment in the NHS. While hospital admissions have grown at an average rate 3.1% per year since 2012/13 NHS funding has only increased by 0.8% per year and under the manifesto claim will only increase by 1.2% per year until 2022. NHS funding has simply not kept pace with the demand for medical treatment provided by hospitals.
Faced with this shortfall in funding the Government has compelled the NHS to substantially reduce the numbers of patients receiving medical treatment within hospitals under the regional Sustainability and Transformation Plans.
In Northumberland, Tyne & Wear and North Durham patients admitted as emergencies due to clinical need such as heart attack or accident trauma are to be reduced by 15% i.e. a reduction of 30,989 admissions. Elective or planned admissions such as surgical treatments for heart disease, eye surgery, hip and knee replacements etc are to be cut by 10% i.e. 38,888 admissions. These cuts will reduce NHS spending in the region by £904 million by 2021-22.
Within Durham, Darlington, Teesside, Hambleton, Richmondshire & Whitby emergency admissions are to be cut by 22.85% i.e. by 33,052 admissions while elective admissions are only being cut by 1.42% i.e. 2907 admissions. These cuts will reduce NHS spending in the region by £281 million by 2021-22.
The Tories propose to reduce spending in the North East by over £1.185 billion by cutting the medical care provided in our local hospitals. Growth in the region is achieved by investment – spending money rather than cutting back. What will happen to the NHS?
Sources – How Hospital Activity in the NHS in England has changed over time. Kings Fund 20 December 2016 David Maguire, Phoebe Dunn, Helen McKenna.
IFS Manifesto analysis briefing, Nuffield Foundation “Spending on Public Services” Rowena Crawford
Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and North Durham Sustainability and Transformation Plan – Summary Plan 21st Oct 2016 – pages 9,11,40
Durham, Darlington, Teesside, Hambleton, Richmondshire & Whitby Sustainability Transformation Plan(STP) Oct 2016 – page 5 and Appendix 1

stp broken


24th June 2017 – No doubt – we say #ToriesOUT

MANY THANKS to Tony and Dawn at North East Peoples Assembly for organising and hosting a fantastic #ToriesOUT Rally at Grey’s Monument this afternoon. Speakers from a wide range of organisations highlighted the public services which are being slashed now across the North East – health, education, housing, fire services, and much more – all budgets slashed by the Tory Government.
The people in the North East say no more – #ToriesOUT – and will shout the message to Westminster at the London demo next Saturday 1st July. Coach tickets are available at
Gail Ward (Defend Tynedale NHS Services) and Tim Wall (Save North Tyneside NHS) get the message across in Newcastle – see Gail speak here and Tim speak here

23rd June 2017 – Hexham Courant editorial highlights Duty of Care



22nd June 2017 – News just in

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has now announced that the temporary arrangements at urgent care centres in Hexham, North Tyneside and Wansbeck general hospitals will remain in place until September.
Since December 2016, the three urgent care centres have been closed between midnight and 8am. The temporary change was established in order to maximise staff skills during the busy winter period. The closures were extended in March 2017 as NHS services were said to remain at a high level.
At today’s board meeting, healthcare leaders at the trust agreed that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to deploy staff overnight at the urgent care centres. The trust has stressed that the move is a temporary decision and says it will continue to work with NHS Northumberland and North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Groups on future arrangements. 

22nd June 2017 – At Hexham General Hospital

KONPNE join forces with Defend Tynedale NHS Services outside Hexham General Hospital this afternoon. Northumbria Healthcare are discussing the future of the walk-in centre – specifically reviewing the temporary closure of the walk-in centre overnight since November 2016.
Hexham has already lost its A&E. The people of Hexham will make sure that the walk in centre does not go the same way.

20th June 2017 – KONPNE survives the election!!

The main part of our KONPNE open meeting this evening comprised a general discussion about the impact of the election on the NHS and ways forward. It was good to sit back and reflect on the busyness of the past month. 
The meeting also involved some Campaign planning….
> our involvement at the Newcastle Rally on 24th June (see facebook event)
> our activity at the time of the NHS’ birthday (first week in July), including developing arrangements for the forthcoming London March and Rally, the Newcastle public lecture by Prof Allyson Pollock, and our participation at the Durham Miners Gala.
> considering ways of increasing contact with local people
> considering news from health campaign groups around the North East region.
An event flyer distributed at the meeting is here KONPNE – June 2017 flyer. and notes of the meeting are available here 20.6.17 KONPNE notes

9th June 2017 – and the Courant joins the search for Guy Opperman…. where IS he??



8th June 2017 – Polls open – and North East parliamentary candidates respond to three key questions put by KONPNE….

Further to our post below (21st May), please click here to read replies from parliamentary candidates: GENERAL ELECTION 2017 – Candidate responses collated up to 8.6.17 (9)  We realise that it has been a busy time for all candidates, and we thank all who have responded to our email. These responses will assist constituents to fully consider options. 
The document has been updated regularly over the past three weeks, and is now closed for the start of polling today.



6th June 2017 – Conversations at the Monument

We met with many people at the #VoteNHS Roadshow at the Monument on Saturday – and many were keen to share personal experiences regarding contact with NHS staff and treatment within the NHS.
Five members of the public wrote down a personal message for our website, copied here, word for word….please click Conversations at the Monument to find out more…..



5th June 2017  ….and still no word from Hexham Conservatives about health manifesto in Tynedale

Open letter sent to Hexham Courant this morning
​Dear Editor
The future of the NHS remains one of the key issues in the current General Election, and local health campaign groups “Keep Our NHS Public North East” and “Defend Tynedale NHS Services” recently joined forces to co-host a bespoke Tynedale Health Hustings at Hexham Community Centre. Parliamentary Candidates from Green Party, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP contributed to a lively evening, with debate centring around the health manifestos of the main parties.
Unfortunately, the Conservative candidate was unable to attend due to a prior engagement. I do accept that these situations happen, especially in unforeseen and busy snap election periods.
However, on requesting the Conservative office to send a representative in place of the candidate, the written response was that they felt this to be “inappropriate”. I subsequently asked the Conservative party office to outline the rationale behind this decision as we feel that it is, indeed, very appropriate that the people of Tynedale have an opportunity to hear the stance of all parties standing. No response has been received from the Conservative office.
The future of health service provision along the Tyne Valley is a key issue affecting all residents – and certainly worthy of the highest level of debate and attention from all parties. The decision to avoid involvement in discussing this crucial issue is disturbing, to say the least.
John Whalley
Co-ordinator, Keep Our NHS Public North East

5th June 2017 – Disengagement with the public in Gateshead

A carer and member of KONPNE from Gateshead has recently emailed KONPNE with the attached information about Gateshead CCGs DISengagement with the public  – at a time when public consultation and engagement is supposed to be de rigeur.
Organisational structures and the associated groups and committees do, of course, change over time. However, lets be clear that if local people are willing to give up their own time and expertise on a voluntary basis to provide a carer or user perspective thereby promoting responsive and positive practices, then CCGs need to be bending over backwards to support their ongoing involvement. Similarly, if consultation and engagement is so highly prized, then the direction of travel must be more (not less) points of contact. Unless, of course, the term “user involvement” reflects empty words and organisational rhetoric.
Please click here to read this personal account:  Public involvement in Gateshead 
Pauline has already shared this information with Gateshead councillors and Gateshead Healthwatch, and intends to make her thoughts known to Gateshead CCG at the meeting today. It will be interesting to learn about the range of responses from the three groups (above), and Pauline has agreed to keep us informed.
If you have any thoughts or reflections on this crucial matter, please write to, and we will ensure that these are passed on to Pauline.


4th June 2017 – The petition to the local CCG expands

Many thanks to all who have signed this already. You are very welcome to complete the online version of our petition by clicking here – the online versions will be printed off and added to the paper versions, and all will be provided to the CCG at a significant future date.
Our petition calls upon the local CCG to a) be transparent about future plans, b) work to ensure that services are fully funded and c) ensure that any future change to North East services are designed to maximise health and wellbeing, and are not financially driven.
Pity we have to spell this out to Newcastle Gateshead CCG (the lead CCG for Northumberland, Tyne, Wear and North Durham STP footprint)…..

3rd June 2017 – 700 people say #VoteNHS

Today was pretty busy at the Monument in Newcastle upon Tyne – six hours of conversations, plus masses of #VoteNHS leaflets, KONPNE flyers, #VoteNHS balloons, window posters and a massive 700 people signing up to our petition (to the CCG about the STP), plus coffee and sunscreen all round. Many thanks to the members of “KONPNE” and “North East Peoples Assembly”, plus all other wonderful people who saw our event flyers and came along to help – 22 people in all, throughout the day.
So – we have four days left – we need to make sure that the North East #VoteNHS on Thursday.
We will be posting a different #VoteNHS flyer on our KONPNE facebook (click here)  and twitter (click here) today and for the following four days until Thursday – so….if you use social media….then please share these daily posts with all contacts on facebook and twitter, and ask them to share also. We need to get the message out far and wide that if we want an NHS in five years time, then we DO NOT VOTE CONSERVATIVE.
If you didn’t make it this afternoon and want to find out what was going on, then take a walk around the Monument by clicking here .
Thank you from all at KONPNE  x

30th May 2017 – Hexham debates the NHS (but where are the Conservatives?)

KONPNE were pleased to join with local campaigners from “Defend Tynedale NHS Services” to co-host the Tynedale Health Hustings 2017.  Parliamentary Candidates from Green Party, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP contributed to a lively evening at Hexham Community Centre, with debate centring around the health manifestos of the main parties. Many comments were made by the audience about the noticeable absence of the Conservative candidate, Guy Opperman.
John Whalley, Co-ordinator of KONPNE said “we are very pleased with the numbers of people who attended, which demonstrates the centrality of the NHS to this election, and we are grateful to the four candidates who outlined their health policies. Sadly, the Conservative candidate Mr Opperman stated that he could not attend due to a prior engagement – we did ask his office to send a representative, but with the response that they felt that this was “inappropriate”. We have asked Mr Oppermans office to outline the rationale behind this decision, as we feel that the people of Tynedale deserve the opportunity to hear the stance of all parties standing. No response has yet been received from Mr Oppermans office”.
KONPNE thank Wesley Foot (Green Party), Stephen Powers (Labour), Fiona Hall (Lib Dem), and Stuart Miles (UKIP) for their willing and active participation in this important event.
Now on hexhamtv!  Many thanks to Steve from @hexhamtv who filmed the event – please view the debate from the comfort of your home by clicking here

Tynedale Health Hustings May 2017-page0001

DSCN0755     Wesley Foot – Green Party
DSCN0758 (2)    Stephen Powers – Labour
DSCN0761 (2)     Fiona Hall – Lib Dems
DSCN0764 (2)     Stuart Miles – UKIP
……but where is Mr Opperman – Conservative …..or even a representative….?



26th May 2017 – and the scene is set for debate in Hexham


Join us on Tuesday – all welcome!



22nd May 2017 – Video from Newcastle GP Dr Jonny Coates: The Truth about the NHS in 2017

This says it all really.
Click here to watch the 2 minute video.
…..and now it over to you to share as many times as possible between now and June the 8th……
The youtube address is



21st May 2017 – KONPNE puts three key questions to the North East parliamentary candidates

Today we emailed all parliamentary candidates standing in the 2017 General Election for Northumberland, North Tyneside,  Newcastle, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland, with the following message:
Dear parliamentary candidate
“Keep Our NHS Public North East” are a local group of people who campaign for a publicly owned and run NHS. Our membership covers the whole of the North East, and we are also active on the web, facebook, mailchimp and twitter. Our contact addresses are listed below.
The future of our NHS is one of the foremost issues in the 2017 General Election, and we are writing to Parliamentary Candidates standing in the North East to ask the following three key questions. We would be grateful if you would please reply to the email address below. Your response and date of reply will be posted on the KONPNE website, with links from social media.
1 What will you do to stand up for local health services and will you actively campaign against local Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) proposals which detail £641m of cuts in the next 5 years to the region’s health services.
2 What will you do to ensure additional funding for the NHS in the immediate future to maintain existing standards and services, and will you oppose current plans to reduce NHS spending per head?
3 Will you fight for new legislation to reinstate a publicly owned and run NHS, and an end to wasting money on commissioning, management consultants and private sector profits?
We will start to publish replies in two or three days time…


NOTE TO CANDIDATES: We have contacted all parliamentary candidates (over 50 people!) who have registered an email address on the Democracy Club website. There are a few candidates who have not provided email addresses – if you are one of these, then please get in touch with us with your contact details, and we will let you know how to provide your responses to us. Thank you.

19th May 2017 – KONPNE in today’s Hexham Courant


Hexham Courant covered our stall last Saturday – please see post below for more details

18th May 2017 – News on our appeal for funds and THANK YOU

Many thanks to those people who have kindly donated money in response to our appeal last month. This is greatly appreciated, and every penny will be used wisely in our campaign to Keep Our NHS Public. It is fantastic to know that we have a committed group of supporters.
We would like to develop our Campaign activity further over the coming weeks and if anyone is in a position to help financially with a monthly standing order, then this would be a huge help. All contributions are very gratefully received, however small.
Our bank details are:
Bank:  Co-op         Sort Code: 08-92-99           Account: 65517907         Name: KEEP OUR NHS PUBLIC – NE
With many thanks from KONPNE  x 

13th MAY 2017 – Freedom of Information request submitted

Following conversations this morning in Hexham (see news item below), KONPNE has now lodged a “Freedom of Information” request with North East Ambulance Service.
We require 1) the number of emergency ambulance call outs to Hexham and rural communities along the Tyne Valley and the response times, and 2) for those patients requiring A and E, the response time from telephone call to arrival at the house, the time taken to transport the patient to A and E, and the presenting problem. We gratefully acknowledge all the skill and hard work of the paramedic staff – what we query and what doesn’t seem to stack up is the rationale for moving (all) emergency and (night-time) urgent care so many miles away.
We will keep you posted.

13th MAY 2017 – KONPNE in Hexham

Wind and rain this morning – but little to deter KONPNE members and the KONPNE “VOTE NHS” information stall in Hexham town centre – extra busy, as it coincided with the regular Farmers Market.
The press release about the Hexham information stall is found here: May 2017 Hexham info press release
Many useful conversations about the draft “Sustainability and Transformation Plan” proposed for Northumberland and, more generally,  about developments in the NHS. After experiencing the closure of the Hexham A and E, and then much reduced hours at the walk-in centre, a common theme expressed by many local people was a strong feeling of vulnerability, with no urgent care facility overnight and emergency treatment only after the journey to Newcastle or Cramlington. Some people referred to the “Golden Hour”  –  the time period lasting for one hour following traumatic injury being sustained, during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical treatment will prevent death. 
It is a huge concern that the people of Northumberland will most probably lose more clinical services in the months ahead. The draft STP, driven by continued underfunding, will lead to more cuts and closures – Hexham residents are keeping a sharp eye on developments up the road in rural Rothbury, where the fight is on to retain its in-patient unit. Of course, the double whammy lies with the much heralded “Accountable Care Organisation” (ACO) approach in Northumberland which, modelled on the American model of the same name, will pave the way for the large scale privatisation of health services across the county. 

2nd May 2017 – and “North East Health Campaigns Together” is born

At a meeting in Newcastle this evening, six North East health campaign groups joined forces to create the “North East Health Campaigns Together” alliance. Whilst each individual campaign group will maintain its own identity and deliver its own Campaign strategy as before, groups will now join forces to share information, and to advertise and promote events across the region under the NEHCT “umbrella”. This is not a new group, but IS a new alliance, and makes a lot of sense given the draft “Sustainability and Transformation Plan” covers all of the North East region.
Given that the very existence of the NHS and publicly funded education is at stake in the upcoming General Election on 8th June, the meeting agreed that health campaign groups will join together with teachers’ unions to protest against catastrophic cuts at a forthcoming rally in Newcastle. We will support the ‘Stop School Cuts’ rally which has been called by the NUT for Saturday 27th May at Grey’s Monument between 12.30pm – 2.00pm. We need to bring funding issues to the fore in the General Election debate, and the campaign groups in “North East Health Campaigns Together” is calling on everyone affected by the cuts in the Health Service and Education – from teachers and doctors, to nurses and teaching assistants, parents, carers and the whole community – to join this ‘Stop School Cuts’ rally and to build support for a radical change of policy and increased investment in our vital public services.
The meeting also highlighted that plans are taking shape to continue health campaigning after the election, with a week of action in support of the NHS at the time of the NHS’ birthday on 5th July. Watch this space for details.
The six health campaign groups involved so far in NEHCT are Keep Our NHS Public North East, KONP Durham, Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, Save North Tyneside NHS, KONP Gateshead and Defend Tynedale NHS Services….and we are in touch with a further two local health campaign groups to invite their presence also.
If you would like further information about the new “North East Health Campaigns Together” alliance, then please link up with any of the groups listed above. Addresses are on our Links page here, or please contact us at
Notes from the meeting this evening are here: NEHCT meeting 2nd May 2017

30th April 2017 – Crowdfunder JUSTICE FOR THE NHS is launched this week by the wonderful “999 Call for the NHS” – please dig deep.

Remember the astounding 999 Peoples March for the NHS from Jarrow to London? This week, the “999 Call for the NHS” team have launched a crowdfunder to finance the legal battle against the STP’s – their findings will be relevant to all STP’s throughout England. Please PLEASE click the link below and dig deep.
Here is the message from our friends at “999 Call for the NHS”
Thanks for being with us.  The lawyers are with us, the people at CROWDJUSTICE love our case.
And we are glad to know we have public support in this big step forward.  We want to say a big thank you for all your “good luck” wishes and emails of support.
It really helps us maintain our energy knowing we have support from people all over the country.
And now we are LIVE!  The fundraising page is here:  Please give what you can. Every penny counts and we are so grateful for any donations.
Please keep sharing and explaining to friends and family the importance of getting behind this campaign.  We will keep you posted as the case develops, and will be updating and expanding the case information on our websites.
With thanks in friendship
Jenny, Joanne and Steve

29th April 2017 – May Day in the Toon

Great atmosphere this afternoon for the North East May Day March and Rally – inspiring speeches and great music
Julie from KONPNE highlighted that 
“back in 1948, this country backed the biggest socialist experiment of all time – the NHS – AND IT WORKED….”
Hear the full speech here
Many thanks to the May Day Rally organisers for all the energy put into this event – it is very much appreciated.

28th April 2017 – North Tyneside all set for Mayoral election on 4th May…..

KONPNE tracked down the four candidates who are currently in the hot seat for the North Tyneside Mayoral elections and asked three key questions:
(1) What are your views on the current position  of the NHS?  (2) What are your views on the content of the draft STP?   (3)  What will you do in North Tyneside to stop the further privatisation and commercialisation of the NHS?
Stuart Houghton – UKIP candidate – click North Tyneside Mayoral Stuart Houghton UKIP
John Appleby – Liberal Democrat candidate – click North Tyneside Mayoral John Appleby Lib Dem
Stewart Hay – Conservative candidate – click North Tyneside Mayoral Stewart Hay Conservative
Norma Redfearn – Labour candidate – click North Tyneside Mayoral Norma Redfearn Labour
Do the four candidates answer the three questions that we put to them? YOU decide and have the final word on May 4th….

25th April 2017 – KONPNE meeting

A busy Campaign meeting this evening….Helen and Gerard presented “An Appointment with the Doctor” which outlined the challenges facing Primary Care, followed by discussion, and the second half of the meeting comprised an update and further p