KONPNE campaign news – photos, videos, updates, media articles – from January 2000 to NOW

24th October 2020 – Nightmare at the Monument

Click on photos to enlarge
SUCKING THE LIFEBLOOD FROM OUR NHS – Private multinational companies such as Serco, Sital and Deloitte are gaining increasing numbers of contracts to try to carry out health-related work. It is clear that the sudden onset of Covid 19 has provided the cover for many such contracts to be handed over by the Government, often without scrutiny or competition. We should be expanding our NHS to undertake additional health related work and not continually running to the private sector who have shown time and time again that they do not have the expertise.
WANT TO HEAR A DOUBLE HORROR STORY? – At the same time, Johnson and Trump are keen to work out a trade deal, discussions are well in progress and, in the Trade Bill which is currently going through Parliament, the NHS is NOT excluded. This paves the way for large-scale take overs by by US private companies, reduced access to medication, the harvesting of our UK patient data by US firms and the lowering of standards in medication, technology, and the numbers / skills / pay and conditions of staff.
NHS R.I.P? TIME IS RUNNING SHORT – Click here for information about what YOU can do now.
This morning, as part of the National Day of Action against the US Trade Deal, KONPNE dressed in Halloween costume on Saturday to get the point across – but this really is now a matter of huge concern, and your assistance is needed.

23rd October 2020 – Remote Rebels 3

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Great Remote Rebels 3 gig this weekend from Peoples Assembly North East. Many thanks David McAllister, Alix Alixandra and Bethany Elan for fantastic singing, Theresa Easton for the campaign update and Tony Dowling for hosting.
Many thanks also for inviting KONPNE to speak – KONPNE Steering Group member John Whalley describes the Tory negligence regarding the NHS and Covid 19 at 1:23…  click here to watch

22nd October 2020 – KONPNE Press release

KONPNE Halloween Special - Sat 24th Oct 2020 - social media-page0001

17th October 2020 – No to Serco Newcastle

KONPNE joined with Peoples Assembly North East outside SERCO offices in Newcastle to demand: “Scrap Serco – Hands Off Our NHS”
btw….Serco’s CEO is the brother of a former Tory MP.  His partner is a Tory Party donor. And Serco’s former spin doctor is the Tory Minister for Health…. 
Parliament recently voted on Test and Trace going to local public health teams, not Serco. The Tories voted it down.

15th October 2020 – KONPNE Zooms

Great to meet up with everyone tonight for the October KONPNE meeting. Feedback on the range of actions re the “LIVI” privatisation in North Tyneside and also the Trade Bill – and plans made for further (socially-distanced and safe) actions over the next month. Feedback also from our friends in the neighbouring Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign. There is much happening in the North East – click here for details. Details regarding the November KONPNE meeting will also be posted in the same place.

13th October 2020 – “Not about profit….”

Great range of speakers in tonights webinar, including Jude Letham (Co-ordinator, KONPNE), Martin Gannon (Leader, Gateshead Council), Keir Howe (GMB Northern Region NHS lead), Stacey Richardson (NHS Staff Nurse) and Dr George Rae (North Tyneside GP and BMA Chair).
All speakers confirmed the need to keep our NHS public and to stop the outsourcing – it is clear that Covid-19 has thrown a light on the ongoing underfunding and privatisation by stealth of our NHS.
“The NHS is about service and caring, and is NOT about profit. We never ever want to lose that value”    Dr George Rae, North Tyneside GP and BMA Chair
The link to the event is here. Many thanks to Tony and Peoples Assembly North East for organising tonights very lively event.

7th October 2020 – GP speaks out against privatisation in North Tyneside

North Tyneside CCG has awarded the private healthcare company “LIVI” a contract to carry out virtual consultations in Primary Care in North Tyneside. Undoubtedly part of a very slippery privatisation slope: Livi claims to be Europe’s largest digital healthcare provider.
KONPNE anticipates that other CCGs may attempt to follow suit and we need to fight against this insidious privatisation of the NHS. Let us be crystal clear: CCGs should not be wasting taxpayers money by contracting out to private, profit making companies with shareholders.
Dr Gerard Reissmann, Newcastle upon Tyne GP:
“Services should be put into mainstream general practice, more GPs, more nurses….not to a private company offering a little easy cherry-picking straightforward patient service”     7th October 2020

1st October 2020 – Morpeth

Great to meet up with members of Morpeth and Pegswood Branch Labour Party, and to have the opportunity to share the KONPNE powerpoint regarding NHS privatisation. Many thanks for inviting us and for a very interesting discussion. Participants spoke of their own experiences – one person spoke of a sense of shock at the extent of privatisation within our health services, and another person described his experience as a Type 1 diabetic where he now needs to pay £250 per month for an insulin pump as it did not meet the NHS funding criteria, despite the pump being recommended by medical staff…
Members of KONPNE are willing to present the powerpoint and lead a discussion via zoom with all North East groups – political, social, religious, leisure…all welcome. Let us know at konpnortheast@gmail.com and we will do our best to assist.

25th September 2020 – Hiding behind a logo…..


Letter in todays Metro – We need to fix test and trace. Local public health teams and our NHS must be put back in charge of testing and contact tracing…and a clear message from KONP North East and @keepnhspublic and @We_OwnIt: You’re hiding behind a logo @MattHancock

24th September 2020 – North Tyneside privatisation reported by national media

Sharon Barbour, BBC, reports on the privatisation currently taking place within North Tyneside GP surgeries, as commissioned by North Tyneside CCG: see here
and the issue is also reported in the Health Campaigns Together news bulletin here (page 4) 
….and we keep coming back to the fundamental question – why is the funding provided to this private company not being invested in local, existing primary care services? It is clearly a cost-cutting exercise, increasing macro privatisation and undermining localised provision….

23rd September 2020 – Sunderland respond

Question: What is Sunderland Council doing to prevent the steady and insidious NHS privatisation process and how will you ensure that the local “Integrated Care System” involves changes based on health and social need, rather than being driven by financial considerations that lead to further outsourcing to the private sector?
Cllr Geoff Walker responded to this question about NHS privatisation put to the the Council by KONP Sunderland this evening. He confirmed that Sunderland City Council does not support the systematic privatisation of the NHS, is committed to an internal commissioning of services, and referred to a number of initiatives that the Council is involved in. He stated “I think our involvement in integrated health  and social care clearly  demonstrates our commitment to an agenda of collaboration and co-operation aimed at avoiding wealth extraction by the private sector”.
A transcription of Cllr Walkers response is here:  Answer to KONP question from Sunderland City Council 23 09 2020 and we have no doubt that KONP Sunderland will be following up Cllr Walkers response in some detail.

20th September 2020 – Sunderland City Council

Prompted by “Livi” and the recent growth in “outsourcing” (aka NHS privatisation) in North Tyneside – see posts below –  members of KONPNE are putting questions to local North East Councils about privatisation in their area.
Sunderland KONP’s Laura Murrell and Dr Pam Wortley have presented the following question and information sheet, and a response is expected from Sunderland Council at the full Council meeting on Wednesday 23rd September 2020 at 4pm.
Live streamed here: https://youtu.be/X9R-j-J3o4U
Question to Sunderland City Council from KONP Sunderland and District
Question to Sunderland Council additional information 23 09 2020
Plus more to follow – Newcastle City Council (7th October), Northumberland County Council (4th November) and information to key Councillors in North Tyneside, South Tyneside and County Durham – links to follow…

17th September 2020 – KONPNE at Gateshead Council

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Prompted by growing NHS privatisation across the region, members of KONPNE are currently in the process of putting questions to Councillors at full council meetings across the North East. First up was Gateshead Council this afternoon when Tony Dowling, KONPNE member and Gateshead resident, addressed the Council regarding the escalating privatisation within the NHS and then asked the following question:
What is the council doing to prevent the steady and insidious NHS privatisation process as mentioned, and what will Gateshead Council do to ensure that the local “Integrated Care System” involves changes based on health and social need, rather than being driven by financial considerations that lead to further outsourcing to the private sector. 
Tony also asked:
“The local “Integrated Care System” can be made to look good on paper – no one would argue with phrases such as “greater collaboration” and “patient-centred care” – but some risks only become apparent when the “Integrated Care System” is seen within the context of the planned, strategic dismantling of the healthcare system. Does Gateshead Council commission risk assessments regarding service changes in health provision – and do these risk assessments relate to privatisation? Members of KONPNE are keen that our Council representatives see the over-all picture and ask difficult questions, so that the NHS remains for all constituents and for future generations”.  
A full response was provided by Councillor Lynne Caffrey, Chair of Gateshead Health and Wellbeing Board, which KONPNE looks forward to considering further in detail. As part of her verbal response, Cllr Caffrey commented that Gateshead Council is doing lots to guard against privatisation and, verbally and in writing, she stated that “Gateshead Council is fully committed to the NHS as a public service”. Regarding the alarming news that North Tyneside CCG have commissioned a private company, Livi, to provide virtual appointments across primary care in North Tyneside, Cllr Caffrey confirmed that “the local strategy is to introduce the option for Gateshead patients to consult with GPs via video if they choose to, but that video consultation will be with a local practice and a local practitioner as part of the primary care service that is already commissioned. We have no plans to commission any outside services”.
Our statement and questions are here: Question to Gateshead Council Sept 2020
Cllr Caffreys response is here: Question Response By Councillor Caffrey, Gateshead
KONPNE will now consider Cllr Caffreys response in detail, and we intend to reply with copies to Gateshead Councillors.

15th September 2020 – KONPNE questions full Council meeting

Gateshead Council

Prompted by the recent growth in “outsourcing” (aka NHS privatisation), members of KONPNE are putting questions to local North East Councils about privatisation in their area.
Follow our question and Council responses live, as Tony Dowling, KONPNE member and Gateshead resident, puts a question to the full council meeting of Gateshead Council on Thursday 17th September at 2.30pm.
Follow live on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYDGr1rlFmM&ab_channel=GatesheadMBC
Plus more to follow – Dr Pam Wortley and the team at Keep Our NHS Public Sunderland have prepared a question for the full Sunderland City Council meeting on Wednesday 23rd September – links to follow…

14th September 2020 – NHS privatisation in North Tyneside primary care – “Livi”

KONPNE has now written to both North Tyneside MPs, checked out the times for formal questions to be put to the seven NE Councils (the first question will be put to Gateshead Council at the full council meeting on Thursday this week – more info to follow), has written to the Chronicle, Journal and local papers, and is in the process of getting more information from North Tyneside CCG via a “Freedom of Information” request….what can you do -> please click here for information about ways of getting involved.

The letter to local papers:

I am writing on behalf of the local campaign group, ‘Keep Our NHS Public – North East’.
I am very concerned about the creeping privatisation of the NHS which is occurring at this present time. Recently, North Tyneside residents received letters inviting them to sign up to an app from a private Swedish company, Livi, working in partnership with North Tyneside CCG. This would enable GP patients to get video appointments provided they had a Smart phone or laptop with the correct software. All of this happened without consultation with the North Tyneside councillors, our local representatives. Unless stopped, this pilot development in North Tyneside may well spread to other parts of the North East. Further information concerning this situation can be accessed from our website https://konpnortheast.com/privatisation/primary-care/. 
In taking out a contract with this private company the taxes from our hard earned money are being misused, without our knowledge, to pay private companies to make a profit from our misfortune and ill-health. If this service became the norm then those people without access to technology or who are unable to use it would potentially be denied access to some GP services.
The service from Livi is currently ‘free’ and optional for N. Tyneside residents, but for how long? There is a cost though, as our taxes are benefitting this company. One hundred percent of the monies allocated to the NHS should go directly to the NHS to provide much needed healthcare and not to profit companies overseas. During the COVID pandemic we have been witnessing the NHS struggle to provide a full healthcare service. Many people have seen their operations and treatments postponed. Meanwhile the Government is funding private companies rather than invest in our British NHS, pay our NHS workers a decent wage and provide them with adequate PPE for safe working.
Telephone and video appointments can be a helpful way of having a first contact with your GP for some but not all clinical situations during our current COVID pandemic and many of our NHS GPs have been able to provide this service without payment to private companies. When we can return to ‘normal’ most people will want to be able to have that valuable contact with their own GP at the surgery where they feel comfortable and can have a full consultation.
Now is the time to stand up and stop this privatisation which we neither need nor want.
Yours faithfully
(KONPNE member)
Keep Our NHS Public North East

3rd September 2020 – Livid…

A very active KONPNE meeting this evening, with much discussion and campaign planning centring around * Trade Bill (see here)  *the private company “Livi” contracted to provide GP consultations in North Tyneside (much happening – social media and website posts to be added shortly) *access to A+E  *powerpoint presentation on privatisation  *forthcoming events
The notes from the meeting are here: 3.9.20 – KONPNE notes of meeting
Your help is needed – please contact konpnortheast@gmail.com to get involved in the campaign

28th August 2020 – North Tyneside on the slippery privatisation slope


The private firm Livi has been awarded a contract to carry out virtual consultations in Primary Care in North Tyneside. Whilst this is claimed to be a pilot scheme, and it is to be seen as an addition to the usual GP clinical work, it is undoubtedly part of a very slippery privatisation slope.
KONPNE strongly objects to this insidious privatisation of the NHS. Apart from the central fact that North Tyneside CCG should not be wasting taxpayers money by contracting out to private, profit making companies with shareholders, a number of key issues need to be answered as a matter of urgency – click here to find out more, plus ways of helping.

26th August 2020 – NE Councillors & Public Health express concern about restructure

Gateshead 3

Health and Wellbeing Board Chairs from across the region have come together to express concern at the Government’s decision to restructure Public Health England and to hand over key responsibilities to a new body with no clear idea of what it will do or how it will be governed.
“The National Institute for Health Protection appears to be an organisation set outside of the NHS but with a crucial role to play in the health of our communities,” said Cllr Lynne Caffrey, Chair of the Gateshead Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB), who coordinated a letter to both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock.
The letter from 10 of the region’s 12 HWB Chairs from across political parties, expressed their surprise at the changes being proposed in the middle of a pandemic. It also asks for the expertise of local councils in dealing with many aspects of public health, including infectious disease outbreaks, to be recognised and for any new structures or systems to be set up to be co-designed with local authorities. Cllr Caffrey, said: “We believe we need to focus on maintaining the local capability, capacity and skills, to keep the effective working relationships already established and for us to have a system in place that is best able to protect the communities we represent.”
This view is shared by Directors of Public Health (DsPH) across the region and, as leaders of local systems they have experienced at first-hand the vital role that regional Public Health England (PHE) teams play in protecting the health and wellbeing of local communities and that they do not wish to lose this regional expertise. Amanda Healy, Durham’s Director of Public Health and chair of the North East Association of Directors of Public Health, said: “Our regional PHE colleagues have played a critical role in our local response to Covid-19. As such, any proposal to dismantle these arrangements now, particularly ahead of winter, present a real risk to protecting the health and wellbeing of our community. It is also vital that people understand the breadth of remit that PHE has across healthcare public health, health improvement and health inequalities. We would strongly recommend that any restructuring protects these functions which have a central role across Local Government and the NHS. We have all be involved with many re-organisations over the years and while, at times, there have been benefits, we also understand the immense upheaval and disruption they create. Given the pressure we are all currently under we, as Directors of Public Health across the North East, are extremely concerned that this disruption may adversely affect our ability to protect our communities from Covid and indeed other infectious diseases as we come towards the winter months.”
Read the Chronicle article here

18th August 2020 – Scrap the contracts for Serco and Sitel

Privatised track and trace has been a 2020 disaster that is costing lives. It’s now time to put local public health teams in charge of the whole system – they have the tools and the local knowledge they need to do this vital work before any second wave this winter. Now they need the money.
Speaking outside Newcastle Civic Centre on the “We Own It” national day of action on Track and Trace Contracts, Dr Helen Groom, GP and member of KONP North East, stated: 
“Don’t be fooled – the Tories are now beginning to overtly privatise our NHS. Public Health England is now being merged with the failed Serco / Sitel. £528 million of your money is being given to this company which couldn’t even run track and trace properly in the first place” 
David McAllister, North East Peoples Assembly, stated:
“We stand against all privatisation and cuts to public services – the NHS is a major part of that.We are here supporting health workers who are standing in the way of private companies making a killing out of our public services”
….and now watch the youtube video from Newcastle upon Tyne today:  https://youtu.be/WCTDa-FC1fw
It is clear that Hancock needs to scrap Serco and Sitels failed contracts now instead of renewing them. The government must give the £528 million allocated for these contract extension to local authorities and Public Health England teams instead.
Couldn’t make the Newcastle event today? Then it’s crucial that you sign the “Save Lives, Scrap Serco” petition here….and please pass it on to all of your contacts….. https://weownit.org.uk/save-lives-scrap-serco-now

9th August 2020 – Sedgefield MP fails to support Amendment that would protect the NHS

Click SEDGEFIELD MP email communication to see email communication between KONPNE and Paul Howell, MP for Sedgefield.
Top email – from KONPNE to Sedgefield MP Paul Howell, 9th August 2020 – our huge concern and disappointment that he chose to vote AGAINST protecting the NHS in the Trade Bill
Middle email – from Paul Howell MP to KONPNE, 24th July 2020 – – attempting to justify his position
Third email – our initial email from KONPNE to Paul Howell, 19th July 2020, requesting his support in protecting the NHS
It is not too late: we are now counting on Paul Howell to support NHS Amendments, after the Bill has been through the Lords in the autumn 2020

9th August 2020 – Blyth MP fails to support Amendment that would protect the NHS

Click BLYTH MP email communication to see email communication between KONPNE and Ian Levy, MP for Blyth 
Top email – from KONPNE to Blyth MP Ian Levy, 9th August 2020 – our huge concern and disappointment that he chose to vote AGAINST protecting the NHS in the Trade Bill
Middle email – from Ian Levy MP to KONPNE, 21st July 2020 – – attempting to justify his position
Third email – our initial email from KONPNE to Ian Levy, 19th July 2020, requesting his support in protecting the NHS
It is not too late: we are now counting on Ian Levy to support NHS Amendments, after the Bill has been through the Lords in the autumn 2020

8th August 2020 – Pay justice for health care workers

Crucial for KONPNE to be at the socially-distanced march and rally in Newcastle today, in support of pay justice for health service workers. Poor rates of pay have contributed to the recruitment and retention crisis in the NHS, and workers shouldn’t have to wait until April 2021 for a pay review. Clapping on a Thursday night does not put food on the table. A great turnout at the march, speeches from health care workers, and also our first post-lockdown opportunity for a brief catch up with friends at Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign and Sunderland KONP.
A Chronicle report, pictures and video is here

5th August 2020 – KONPNE at Cullercoats Branch Labour Party

Labour logo

Many thanks to Cullercoats Branch Labour Party for the invitation to meet up with members tonight via Zoom – we were asked to present our new powerpoint on NHS privatisation in the North East, and this was followed by questions and discussion. It is great to have your support, and the support of other political parties in the North East.
KONPNE does not align itself to any one political party – we have members from most political parties (or none), and it remains very important for us to welcome all people who support a publicly funded and publicly provided NHS. Very recently, we have developed powerpoint images and text to accompany our presentations – we have found that this makes the presentation more engaging and interesting. If your group (be that political, social, educational, or religious….most gatherings, in fact!) would like a speaker / presentation to describe NHS privatisation in the North East, then please get in touch at konpnortheast@gmail.com , and we will do our best to assist.

4th August 2020 – KONPNE on Zoom

Our agenda included an update from the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, information about the forthcoming NHS Workers Pay Protest on Saturday (information here), an overview of the Campaign work so far regarding NHS charges to migrants (see here) and details about the recently updated KONPNE presentations on NHS privatisation in the North East. Most of the agenda and discussion centred around the Trade Bill and possible campaign initiatives (here), including lobbying the Lords and maintaining a focus on contacting local MPs….following our meeting tonight, we have updated our campaign strategy regarding this – please watch out for the details.

3rd August 2020 – NHS privatisation in the North East

NHS dollars

KONPNE has devised a 30 minute Powerpoint presentation summarising the privatisation of the NHS in the North East, which can be delivered via Zoom. The presentation has been trialled successfully with several groups and has been followed by questions and answers. If you know of any groups that would like to book this presentation for a meeting: political, social, religious or any other interested group, please contact us at konpnortheast@gmail.com. Thank you
Please click here for further details

31st July 2020 – KONPNE and Unite Community Branch

Great to be invited to a Zoom meet up with members of the NE Unite Community Branch, for an overview of the Campaign and discussion. Together we are stronger, and it is good to have your support.
This meeting saw the third trip out for our newly updated powerpoint presentation on NHS Privatisation in the North East. This presentation is available to other groups and organisations, and KONPNE members are invited to present it, at the moment via Zoom. If you are not an attender at our meetings, please get in touch with us at konpnortheast@gmail.com, and we will do our very best to arrange a speaker.

20th July 2020 – Trade Bill now at the Lords

Further to the appalling voting at the Commons today, we are now reviewing the Campaign, with a focus on the Lords. Check out the page here for specific details about the passage of the Bill so far through Parliament, and actions to take. We are considering all options re the Lords, and will update supporters when we clarify and agree our way forward. Thank you. 

8th July 2020 – 2 min Trade Bill video now published by KONPNE

URGENT: Please watch – then share or tweet this video to all of your contacts….The Trade Bill will be debated in Parliament in July 2020, and it is CRUCIAL that we contact our MPs NOW

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youtube: https://youtu.be/lgKa7IShjeI
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NHSPublicNorthEast
twitter: https://twitter.com/KONPNorthEast 
Accompanying track Rumble is from www.bensound.com

6th July 2020 – North East Bylines

Excellent article from Giuseppe Bignardi in North East Bylines re Saturday action in Newcastle.
Thanks, Giuseppe.
Please click here:     https://northeastbylines.co.uk/troubled-birthday-4-the-nhs/

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5th July 2020 – Across the North East….


5th July 2020 – 72yrs young

Today we CELEBRATE but we also PROTECT.
We need to KEEP OUR NHS PUBLIC – or we will lose it. 
Dr. Helen Groom (GP) said;-   “The things that have worked during the COVID 19 pandemic have been the ones organised by the NHS – our hospitals have’t closed, and we have, so far, had enough ITU beds. The things that haven’t, PPE procurement, testing, contact tracing and most tragically our care homes, are all contracted out to private companies. We call
on the government to SAVE the NHS from current trade bill and privatisation discussions, FUND the NHS to 11% of GDP, bringing us to average and not below average as we are currently, and to STOP migrant charging. This weekend we ask every member of the public not only to clap or take the knee but to write/email/tweet their
MP, Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson with those 3 messages”
Jude Letham co-ordinator of Keep Our NHS Public North East said;-  “We have a state-of-the-art pathology lab in Gateshead but tests from IKEA 5 miles away were sent to Milton Keynes and often didn’t return. Big multinational private companies such as SODEXA, Capita, PWC and Deloitte and have been given £1.7 billion pounds worth of contracts in the last 3 months 1 . Serco got £49 million for call centres, PESTFIX £109 million for supply and delivery of PPE. Keep our NHS Public say give this PUBLIC tax payer’s money to the NHS. We need to act now to remove the NHS from the current trade talks and prevent the US companies from taking more of those contracts and implementing US style health care.”
Tony Dowling People’s Assembly said;-   “Mental health and care services have been devastated by cuts in funding and contracting out to private companies where share holders count, not patients. It’s essential that the NHS is saved from the current trade talks, that privatisation stops, and that we stop migrant charging which prevents ill people from seeking treatment. We’re asking all members of the public to do their bit and to write, email, tweet their MP, especially Conservative ones, to say SAVE, FUND, STOP. A tsunami of public opinion reaching all of our politicians is what the NHS and care services need this weekend.”

4th July 2020 –  Full report and video from Chronicle Live

Please click here 

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4th July 2020 – Celebrations on the Toon

Today we CELEBRATE – but we also need to PROTECT against cuts, outsourcing, the Trade Bill, and the hostile environment.
72 years ago, the NHS was established in a war-ravaged Britain – now, 72 years later, we need to rebuild and restore the founding vision of the NHS.
But, for today, it’s birthday celebrations on the Toon – KONPNE and Peoples Assembly NE have (socially distanced, and numbers strictly limited!) celebrations at the Millenium Bridge, The Monument and outside the RVI.
And massive thanks to Wendy, Alizon and Theresa for huge assistance with artwork!!! 😃😃😃
Click on any image to enlarge
Great coverage in Chronicle Live – click here

4th July 2020 –  NHS-on-Tyne:  today we CELEBRATE….but we also need to PROTECT

Click here for the two minute video from the Millenium Bridge on Tyneside…..

30th June 2020 – KONPNE Zooms

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Wide ranging discussions, detailed campaign planning and a presentation about privatisation in the North East = another busy KONPNE meeting….
On the agenda this month – update from Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, report back on the local work completed so far regarding removing NHS charges to migrants, planning regarding the action in Newcastle city centre on Saturday 4th July and the online rally on Sunday 5th July (both to celebrate the NHS 72nd birthday, and to highlight the ongoing privatisation of the NHS), update on the NHS Trade Bill and the campaign to date, and finally a presentation of our draft powerpoint about NHS privatisation, soon to be available to all local health campaigners in contact with political, social, religious, educational and family groups across the NE.
The notes of our meeting will be available shortly, and details of our next meeting are here. All welcome!!

26th June 2020 – NO to current Trade Bill

KONP SUNDERLAND AND DISTRICT shout a resounding NO to the current Trade Bill passing through Parliament. It is CRUCIAL that our North East MPs vote for Amendments in order to protect our NHS.
For info / action plan / NE photo gallery see www.konpnortheast.com/events
Sunderland KONP: https://www.facebook.com/KONPSD

24th June 2020 – more replies from NE MPs re Trade Bill

Big Ben and Houses of Parliament

From Ian Mearns MP (Gateshead)
Subject: Re: Please ask the Trade Bill Committee to protect the NHS
Dear Julie.  Thank you for your email to which Ian has asked me to reply on his behalf.  Ian completely agrees, the NHS is our pride and provides a fantastic service.  Our NHS key-workers work so hard and deserve to be treated with respect and decency.   It should not be used as a bargaining tool in any trade deals and most certainly should not be sold off to the highest bidder.  Ian does not sit on the Public Bill Committee, but please be assured he will speak to his colleagues about the amendment.
Ian would like to thank you for contacting him on this very important matter.
Angela Douglas
Office of Ian Mearns


From Nick Brown (Newcastle upon Tyne East)
Thank you for contacting me raising your concerns about the use of the NHS in future trade deals.
As the UK leaves the European Union and seeks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we will need to agree new international trade deals. Whilst I am not opposed to this in principle, I believe that any agreements should serve our interests in the long term. They must include protections of our existing rights and standards and benefits for UK workers and businesses of all sizes. I agree with you that the NHS should be protected from being sold in any future trade agreements. I continue to believe that the NHS should be publicly owned and free at the point of delivery.
The UK Government have said that the NHS, and the price it pays for drugs, will not be on the table in trade negotiations with the US. I believe it is crucial that the Government goes further and enshrines this in law.
As the Trade Bill does not include the provisions I mentioned above, I voted against it at Second Reading. Unfortunately, the Government were able to use their majority to successfully pass the Bill through this stage of the Parliamentary process. It will now proceed to Committee Stage where it will receive further scrutiny.
More generally on NHS privatisation, spending on private sector providers has more than doubled in cash terms since 2010. I am concerned that this transformation, created by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, has delivered a fragmented and wasteful system. It has allowed a situation where the Government awarded a record amounts of the health service budget to private providers in recent years.
At the last general election, I stood on a manifesto that pledged to end privatisation in the NHS. Labour also committed to ensure that all parts of the NHS are fully excluded and protected from any international trade deals. The NHS is one of the Labour Party’s greatest achievements. I want to assure you that the Party remains committed to ensuring that it is kept in public ownership and is properly funded by the Government.
With best wishes,
Rt Hon Nick Brown MP  Member of Parliament for Newcastle upon Tyne East
…..and for more NE MP responses, please scroll down to 5th June 2020

23rd June 2020 – More Trumpish walkabouts – today in Co Durham….

Photos: June 2020 – Front Street, Consett | City Centre, Durham | Riverside, Durham
Crucial that we all, as constituents, contact our MPs across the whole of the NE region – more information on our events page here

22nd June 2020 – Toon gets the message loud and clear

Photos: June 2020 – RVI, Newcastle | City Hall, Newcastle | Quayside and Tyne Bridge, Newcastle

21st June 2020 – KONPNE contacts Tory members on Trade Bill Committee

Trade Bill amendments

Trade Bill 2020 now at the Committee Stage, and KONPNE Co-ordinator Jude Letham contacts all nine Tory Committee members – this is a team effort, please click here to find out what you can do now
Re. Amendment to the Trade Bill to protect the NHS
The Conservative manifesto 2019 made the following pledges:
“When we are negotiating trade deals, the NHS will not be on the table. The price the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. The services the NHS provides will not be on the table.”
However the Trade Bill, as it stands, does not give the NHS this protection.  We urge you to support the amendment put forward by Stewart Hosie, to protect the NHS for us all.
Regards Jude Letham (Co-ordinator) Keep Our NHS Public North East

20th June 2020 – Message received loud and clear in North Tyneside and Northumberland

Photos: June 2020 – Hexham Abbey | North Shields | Promenade, Whitley Bay | Market Place, Bishop Auckland

17th June 2020 – We’re observing voting patterns very closely

**** URGENT ****
Our MPs must vote for the relevant AMENDMENTS to the current Trade Bill – or we will lose our NHS. The NHS is DEFINITELY “on the table” in Trade talks.
**** URGENT **** information about the campaign is here
Photos: June 2020 – Beach Huts, Blyth | Church Point, Newbiggin | Clock Tower, Morpeth | Spirit of the Staithes, Blyth

16th June 2020: North East Birthday event organised

KONPNE Press release 4th July 2020 2

15th June 2020 – Urgent

A member of KONPNE devised the following graphic. Many thanks – it spells things out loud and clear….now on our facebook and twitter – please share and tweet

Trade bill





15th June 2020 – KONPNE addresses North Tyneside Green Party

Green Party

Many thanks to North Tyneside Green Party for the invitation to meet up with members tonight via Zoom – we presented a powerpoint on NHS privatisation in the North East, followed by questions and discussion. It is great to have your support, and the support of other political parties in the North East.
KONPNE does not align itself to any one political party – we have members from most political parties (or none), and it remains very important for us to welcome all people who support a publicly funded and publicly provided NHS. Very recently, we have developed powerpoint images and text to accompany our presentations – we have found that this makes the presentation more engaging and interesting. If your group (be that political, social, educational, or religious….most gatherings, in fact!) would like a speaker / presentation to describe NHS privatisation in the North East, then please get in touch at konpnortheast@gmail.com , and we will do our best to assist.

14th June 2020 – UK / US Trade negotiations continue

Trade bill flyer-page0001

8th June 2020 – KONPNE Zooms large

Valuable discussions and time spent planning forthcoming Campaigns – including UK / USA Trade Bill, local and national action at the anniversary of the founding of the NHS (4th and 5th July 2020) and work on challenging the health charges imposed on migrants to the UK….also great to catch up with all supporters!!
The notes from the meeting will be posted here in the next few days and, as always, details of our next meeting and future actions will be circulated on our emails, plus website and social media.
Keep well and keep in touch

5th June 2020 – UK / USA Trade Bill: 5 North East MPs respond


It is now two weeks since we wrote to all 22 MPs in the North East regarding the Trade Bill which is currently going through Parliament (- see 18th May post below). Five MPs have responded, and their emails are copied below…we await feedback from the remaining 17 MPs. We realise that it is a busy time all round for MPs, but this matter is of the utmost importance and it is URGENT – next being presented to the House at the end of June, and it is crucial that our representatives support the amendment… for details of our Campaign, please see here
From Emma Lewell-Buck MP (South Shields):
Hi Jude
Hope you are all well, you might have seen I was due to speak in the Bill but then the House cut the debate short.  I posted my speech on my Facebook and Twitter
Best wishes to you all
Emma Lewell-Buck MP


From Ian Mearns MP (Gateshead):
Dear Jude,
Thanks for your email to which Ian has asked me to reply.
While the Covid-19 has highlighted our vital our NHS is, particular to our more vulnerable communities; it has also exposed the effects of years of under investment and privatisation. We have seen reports over the last couple of months of depleted stockpiles of PPE, some of which many years out of date; staff shortages across the service and a lack of adequate facilities. It is admirable the way the staff in the NHS have met the challenge of responding to Covid-19, and is of no surprise. But it is important that it is noted that many other routine and essential appointments have been cancelled in order to retain the capacity required.
For a number of years Ian and his colleagues have shared deep concern of the way the conservatives view all aspects of trade, but in particular the NHS. It can not be right that private organisations are receiving vast sums of public money for delivering services which could and should be provided directly, and with little accountability. The discussions around the TTIP proposals some years ago around disputes panels/courts was frightening. 
Ian absolutely agrees that it is not enough for this government to make any pledges, given their track record of making misleading and often incorrect statements across a range of matters. Ian was delighted to support the Labour manifesto pledge at the last election stop and reverse NHS privatisation and continues to support your campaign locally and in parliament.
I trust this clarifies Ian’s position, however if there is anything further Ian can assist with please do get in touch.
Best wishes,
Kris  –  Office of Ian Mearns MP


From Mary Glindon MP (North Tyneside):
Dear John
Mary asked me to thank you for your email. 
As Mary is the Opposition Whip for the Shadow International Trade Team, and as the 2nd Reading of the Bill is returning to the House next Wednesday, she cannot comment.  She will, however, raise your concerns with the team.
Kind Regards
Christine Aird
PA to Mary Glindon MP


From Bridget Phillipson MP (Houghton and Sunderland South):
Dear Jude
Thank you for your correspondence regarding the Trade Bill.
The NHS has deservedly seen an outpouring of support from across the nation in recent weeks. The fact remains that I do have serious concerns over the ability of the Conservative government to defend and protect the NHS, to ensure that it provides quality health services to the British people. I can assure you that I will oppose any threats to these principles.
On the issue of the Trade Bill more widely, I have no issue in principle with a Bill that provides the legal mechanisms to enable our transition from trading as a part of the EU bloc to return conventions and competence to the UK. I do also believe in a trade policy that is transparent and subject to full parliamentary scrutiny, and so would have welcomed a Trade Bill that ensures meaningful parliamentary scrutiny of all future UK trade and investment treaties. This Trade Bill represents a considerable missed opportunity, and sets the bar far too low when it comes to the level of transparency and parliamentary accountability that this and future legislation related to trade should meet. I therefore voted against the Bill at its Second Reading.
Labour tabled a reasoned amendment explaining why this Bill was unsuitable, stating ‘it fails to set out proper procedures for Parliamentary consultation, scrutiny, debate and approval of future international trade agreements, fails to protect the principle of Parliamentary sovereignty in respect of the implementation of international trade agreements previously negotiated by the European Union and in respect of changes to existing government procurement regulations arising from the UK’s or other countries’ accession to the Government Procurement Agreement, fails to establish sufficient scrutiny procedures to replace those that have pertained while the UK has been a member of the European Union, fails to guarantee that the UK’s current high standards and rights will be protected in future trade agreements, and fails to render the Trade Remedies Authority answerable to Parliament or representative of the full range of stakeholders who should be included in its membership.’
The Trade Bill did pass nevertheless, and is now being considered by a Public Bill Committee which will scrutinise each line of the Bill and is expected to report to the House by Thursday 25 June 2020. I can assure you I will continue to monitor the Trade Bill, and you can follow its progress via the following link: https://services.parliament.uk/bills/2019-21/trade.html.
In usual circumstances, I would write to the Government to forward your queries. However, as I am sure you can appreciate, MPs have now been advised that due to the existing pressures faced by ministers, we should only make representations for the most urgent coronavirus-related cases.
Thank you again for writing to me.
Yours sincerely,
Bridget Phillipson MP
From Alan Campbell MP (Tynemouth)
Dear Jude Letham
Thankyou for contacting me about trade agreements and the NHS. 
I appreciate your concerns on this issue. I am not opposed in principle to free trade agreements, including a trade deal with the US. As the global economy seeks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, we will need to agree new trade deals that will benefit UK workers and businesses of all sizes. However, these trade deals must serve our interests in the long term and protect our existing rights and standards. Crucially, as you highlight, they must not threaten our health service.
The US Governments negotiating objectives for a trade deal with the UK, published in February 2019, include UK commitments to provide access to service markets, with only “the narrowest possible exceptions with the least possible impact on US firms”. These exceptions, it says, should be “on a negative list basis” – where all services are included unless explicitly excluded. In addition, the US states that it will seek to ensure drug price regulations “provide full market access for US products”.
The UK Governments says the NHS and the price it pays for drugs will not be on the table in trade negotiations with the US. However, I worry that the Government’s urgent desire for any sort of deal could lead to an agreement designed for the benefit of the major corporations behind the American healthcare industry.
We must never let our health service be up for grabs in any trade negotiation. We must ensure that all parts of the NHS are fully protected under any international trade deals. For the Government to reassure NHS patients that this will be the case, it needs to make clear that it will ensure explicit wording rules out liberalisation measures from applying to our NHS. Importantly, it also needs to provide proper procedures for parliamentary consultation, scrutiny, debate and approval of future international trade agreements, so we can attempt to hold it to account on this. I am disappointed that its current Trade Bill does not do this, and I therefore opposed it at Second Reading.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this issue. I can assure you that I will continue to do all that I can to protect our NHS from any threats to it in future trade deals.
Yours sincerely
Alan Campbell MP


….and we await the responses from the remaining 17 MPs

4th June 2020 – Response from North Tyneside Elected Mayor

Further to the post below and our emails to Norma Redfearn re the privatised 111 call centre in North Tyneside, please find below Norma’s response.  We would be interested in your views about this response – comments, please, to konpnortheast@gmail.com
Dear Mr Whalley
Thank you for your recent email.
I understand that the Council’s Public Protection Team were contacted with complaints about SITEL practice towards staff at the beginning of the period of “lockdown”.  Those complaints were investigated and found SITEL able to evidence the right practice in meeting the Public Health England guidance for teams who could not work at home.
NHS England confirmed NHS 111 is run by a mix of organisations including private, social enterprises and NHS Providers.  The current national Coronavirus Response Service is run on behalf of NHS 111 by private providers including SITEL.  This was done to respond to significantly increased demand following the outbreak and reliance on those private providers is already being reduced and is due to be phased out.
The call responders used, were trained specifically to deal with Coronavirus-related calls and were appropriately selected, screened and trained.  That training was developed by the same NHS clinical staff responsible for the core NHS111 service.  Pathways and guidance were designed in line with Public Health England material and clear governance was put in place to ensure transfer to a clinician for a full assessment when required.
NHS 111 in the North East is delivered by North East Ambulance Service Foundation Trust.  The call handling elements are not subcontracted and are judged as “Good” by CQC.  During the implementation of the national Coronavirus Response Service, callers were given a choice between the national response line and the local NHS111 service operated by NEAS.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me.
Kind Regards, Norma Redfearn CBE
Elected Mayor of North Tyneside

4th June 2020 – Second call for Norma Redfearn, NT Elected Mayor….

KONPNE remains concerned about the quality of service provided by the privatised 111 call centre located in North Tyneside and, after nil response to our email to Norma Redfearn sent one month ago, today we have written again – our two emails copied below are self-explanatory…

Norma Redfearn

SENT MAY 3rd 2020:
Dear Mayor Redfearn
We hope you and your family are staying well through the current crisis.
We have received some concerning information about the way that Covid 19 is being dealt with in North Tyneside.  https://calderdaleandkirklees999callforthenhs.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/suspected-covid-19-patients-lives-are-in-the-hands-of-nhs-111-call-handlers-with-only-90-minutes-training/
In this article, it is alleged that call handlers for the 111 service employed by Sitel UK in North Tyneside have been receiving as little as 90 minutes training on a script to follow, when they are contacted by people with suspected Covid 19 symptoms, and there is thus significant concern about the quality of the service being provided.
According to our sources, Sitel is employing around 300 people to staff the Tyneside NHS 111 Covid 19 lines, about 90% of whom are new starters, many just 16-17yrs old.  We know of one young man working there who commented about the work, “It’s easy, you just tell them they can’t have an ambulance.”
We have contacted the two local MPs to ask them to investigate the 111 service being provided.
It will be of great concern to you as Mayor of North Tyneside Council, that the Council assisted Sitel UK (a subsidiary of the American owned company, Sitel) to set up their provision at Cobalt Business Park, through the Invest North Tyneside initiative.  https://investnorthtyneside.co.uk/?s=Sitel
We are already disgusted at the overturning of the Council motion made in 2018, which stated that they would not implement the delivery of healthcare via an Integrated Care System.  We believe that Integrated Care Systems will accelerate the privatisation of the NHS.  If the allegations against Sitel UK are true, they highlight the grave concerns that we have about the quality of service given by private companies and the lack of accountability for their actions.
The Steering Group of KONP North East, our members and National KONP, would be interested to hear your views on this matter.
Regards, Jude Letham – (Co-ordinator) on behalf of KONPNE Steering Group
…..AND SENT JUNE 4th 2020:
Dear Mayor Redfearn
I am a member of Keep Our NHS Public North East Steering Group and a resident of North Tyneside, and Jude Letham (KONPNE Co-ordinator) has asked me to get in touch with you.
Please find copied below an email which was sent to you over a month ago. Your response would be appreciated.
To my mind, issues regarding governance, training, quality of service and customer satisfaction need to be explored and fully examined. As part of this, it will be crucial to know how the service is being evaluated, and how the parameters for this have been set. I would be grateful for your views about this and any plan of action you intend to take. Thank you. I am sure you agree that it is crucial that this privatised health business located in North Tyneside is fit for purpose – this is important at the best of times, but doubly important given the extremely sensitive nature of the work involved at the current time.
I write this email to yourself on behalf of all KONPNE members. Myself and other members who live in North Tyneside are particularly concerned about this private business being on our doorstep. Details of these emails to yourself and your response are shared with all KONPNE members – at our (currently Zoom) meetings, and also communicated on our website and social media. I am also copying in North Tyneside Healthwatch, for information / action.
John Whalley
Steering Group member, Keep Our NHS Public North East

31st May 2020 – Going the extra mile

Spotted in Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, this morning. The health professionals who work in our wonderful NHS go the extra mile, day in, day out, and recently at very significant personal risk – their actions demand our huge respect and we need to fly the flag in giving enormous gratitude. Contrast with the guy who “went the extra 260 miles” up the M1 during lockdown…and then took his family on an eye test….
No comparison. Actions speak louder than words, and both have demonstrated very clearly what they are made of.

18th May 2020 – KONPNE contacts MPs in the North East (all 22 of them….)

WOI-NHS-BorisTrump-WebBanner-1 (1)_0

We are urging everyone to write to their MP about the urgent need to support the amendments to the current Trade Bill. As part of this campaign, KONPNE co-ordinator Jude Letham has written to all 22 MPs on behalf of KONPNE, to put our views forward. The email is copied below – please follow this up by writing to your MP and/or arranging a Zoom meeting (many MPs are conducting Zoom surgeries with their constituents). Full information about the Campaign is on our events page here
Dear ……………
I hope you and your family are staying well through the current crisis.
Covid 19 has highlighted how precious our NHS is, but unfortunately, it is also very vulnerable as the current Trade Bill does not exclude the NHS.  We at ‘Keep Our NHS Public North East’ (including many of your constituents) have joined with ‘We Own It’ to argue for the Trade Bill to be amended, when it has its second reading on Wednesday 20th May.
I am sure you will agree that it is not enough to hear the Prime Minister and Liz Truss say that the NHS is not for sale: we need a legally binding commitment in the form of an amendment to the Trade Bill.  ‘We Own It’ have identified five things that the Trade Bill needs to include if the NHS is to be properly protected:
  1. Specific carve-out for the NHS, all health-relevant services and regulation: it should be illegal for the government to conclude a trade agreement which alters the way NHS services are provided, liberalises healthcare further, or opens up parts of the NHS to foreign investment. 
  2. No use of negative listing: these clauses require that all industries are liberalised in trade agreements unless there are specific carve-outs. It is not always easy to define what services count as health services: for instance, digital services may seem irrelevant to health, but NHS data management and GP appointments are increasingly digitised. Negative lists therefore make it harder for governments to regulate and provide health services. 
  3. No standstill clauses or ratchet clauses: these provisions mean that, after the trade deal has been signed, parties are not allowed to reduce the level of liberalisation beyond what it was at the point of signature. This can make it difficult to reverse NHS privatisation.
  4. No ISDS: Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses in trade agreements allow private investors to challenge governments over changes to domestic legislation. We need to be able to control our own laws. 
  5. No changes to drugs pricing mechanism: the US administration has publicly stated that they wish to use a trade deal to challenge the NHS’s drugs purchasing model, which keeps prices low. Medicines are vital to our health – there must not be any concessions on this in trade talks.
I hope you will argue for strong protections for our NHS and drug prices, and/or support Caroline Lucas’s ‘reasoned amendment’ that the Bill should not pass because of lack of scrutiny.
I look forward to hearing how you have supported our NHS and will report your response in our next newsletter.
Jude Letham   (Co-ordinator)    Keep Our NHS Public North East    

11th May 2020 – KONPNE discussion night via Zoom

Two inspiring video clips from recent on-line meetings provided an introduction to tonights informal discussion.  Julie Hesmondhalgh (actor and chair of Manchester Peoples Assembly, taking part in a People’s Assembly meeting) spoke of the current context and the need for change and John Lister (Health Campaigns Together, featuring in a Q&A session by Curzon Cinema) spoke of possible ways forward.
…and, of course, our discussion highlighted a resounding consensus about the importance of campaigning in the North East on both local and national issues. Due to the current social restrictions brought about by the coronavirus, we need to review the way we work and adapt accordingly, and some excellent proposals were put forward regarding the future. These will all be picked up and developed at our next KONPNE meeting on Monday 8th June. All  welcome – details here

John Lister - YouTube  Screenshot (24)

10th May 2020 – and spotted on Whitley Bay promenade this morning – we like your style!!

It is time for change. Members of the public are, literally, getting the word out on the streets…..

3rd May 2020 – Huge concerns about privatised COVID 19 call centre in North Tyneside

private healthcare

We have received some concerning information about the way that Covid 19 is being dealt with in North Tyneside – please see the following report from our colleagues in the health campaign group “999 Call for the NHS”: https://calderdaleandkirklees999callforthenhs.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/suspected-covid-19-patients-lives-are-in-the-hands-of-nhs-111-call-handlers-with-only-90-minutes-training/
In this article, it is alleged that call handlers for the 111 service employed by the private company Sitel UK in North Tyneside have been receiving as little as 90 minutes training on a script to follow, when they are contacted by people with suspected Covid 19 symptoms – there is a very significant concern about the quality of the service being provided.
Today, we have written to both Mary Glindon MP and Alan Campbell MP (North Tyneside MPs), North Tyneside Councillors, and Norma Redfearn (Mayor of North Tyneside) – and we await responses…
But the water is murky. An associated issue is that it was, indeed, North Tyneside Council who originally assisted Sitel UK (a subsidiary of the American owned company, Sitel) to set up their call centre at Cobalt Business Park, through the Invest North Tyneside initiative….doesn’t sit comfortably with the Councils response to the KONPNE formal question about health privatisation at the full North Tyneside Council meeting just two months previously (scroll down to 4th March 2020) when Councillor Karen Kilgour attempted to assure that “there is no risk of a privatised health system in the current structure”.
Lets be clear – a blanket one-off privatisation of our healthcare will not happen overnight – it is an incremental process, with an ever-decreasing NHS presence and a corresponding increase in contracting to private business. We have the skills in our NHS workforce – and we need to ensure that they remain there….and, indeed, we all have a part to play in ensuring that happens….

29th April 2020 – spotted in Fenham, Newcastle, this morning….

Cedar Road Cafe

This is very true. Every day, thousands of NHS staff, social care staff, and other keyworkers are literally putting their lives at risk when they go into work….and where is the back up from our politicians? Be sure about it – this Government will be called to account.

28th April 2020 – Huge respect and gratitude

With huge respect and gratitude from all at KONPNE on International Workers Memorial Day, Today we remember the sacrifice of the health workers and key workers who have died caring for us during the crisis, here and across the world.
Please observe a minute’s silence at 11.00am.
We are grateful to Gilda at Leeds KONP for artwork.


27th April 2020 – KONPNE and Zoom campaigning


Our first online meeting using Zoom – obviously not as engaging as meeting together and we are very aware that some people aren’t online…   But maybe there are also a few positives?? Some people have commented that zoom saves travelling time and, indeed, may be more accessible for those who live in outlying or rural areas, or where transport or mobility may be challenging. Anyway – we continue to try to utilise all means of communication open to us at any one time…in addition to zoom meetings, we have this website, our regular Campaign email updates, and very active facebook and twitter postings AND, most importantly, we rely on all supporters to spread the word….and we will be back to face-to-face meetings (and maybe also keeping some zoom gatherings??) as soon as we can.
The first meeting this evening went well, with 17 participants – our thanks to Jude for organising and chairing. Discussions and presentations centred around accessing PPE locally, the national KONP perspective on the Coronavirus Pandemic, and the range of activities which we can get involved in now (see here) .  The notes from the meeting are posted here: 27-04-20 KONPNE Meeting Notes
A heads up re two dates:
>>>> Monday 11th May @ 7pm – KONPNE online event – possibly video and online discussion….watch this space for information
>>>> Monday 8th June @ 7pm – next KONPNE online meeting via zoom – please log in at 7pm for introductory notices
More info about these two events, plus a users guide to zoom, are located here

26th April 2020 – Patient Care Not Company Profits

Hear Jude Letham, Co-ordinator of “Keep Our NHS Public North East”, outline the issues associated with the ongoing privatisation of the NHS.

24th April 2020 – Video briefing from Keep Our NHS Public (national office) Co-Chair Dr Tony O’Sullivan

Tony examines the lessons that can be learned from the Coronavirus Pandemic and outlines what we must now demand

22nd April 2020 – New video from singer/songwriter Bethany Elen

See North East musician / songwriter Bethany Elens new NHS video here:
and to buy the track, please click here https://bethany-elen.bandcamp.com/track/song-for-the-nhs
Bethany Elen has supported the campaign for many years, and we are grateful for her ongoing support.

21st April 2020 – Hear Dr Gerard Reissmann

Dr Gerard Reissmann, Newcastle GP and KONPNE steering group member, talks about Coronavirus and the desperate situation in nursing homes

16th April 2020 – UK / US trade deals and the North East

KONPNE support the great campaigning initative from “We Own It” regarding the current UK / US trade deals.  As long as NHS services are provided by private companies, our NHS is still on the table –  no matter what the politicians say.

Mary Glindon MP

John Whalley, a member of the KONPNE steering group has contacted his constituency MP to ask her to support amendments to the Trade Bill – Mary Glindon MP (North Tyneside) received the following email today, and the attachment is also linked below
Dear Mary, 
I hope you’re all as well as possible right now. 
My name is John Whalley and I’m a constituent – you may recall that we have communicated in the past regarding the NHS, and I am a Steering Group member of Keep Our NHS Public North East. Your ongoing support of KONPNE and what we stand for is greatly appreciated.
At this very difficult time I am, like everyone across the country, thinking about the health of my loved ones, my neighbours and the local community. Our NHS is doing an amazing job at caring for us, and it is crucial that we must continue the fight to protect it in the future –  I’m certain you agree. 
One current area of concern and activity is around the urgent need to protect our NHS from trade bills. KONPNE and We Own It are working on a campaign about this important issue, and I’m keen to communicate with you – possibly via zoom. I know the bill will come to parliament at some point and there are crucial amendments that need to be made. I attach a helpful briefing from We Own It. 
I know you must be incredibly busy, however this is a very important and current issue, and your contact would be appreciated . 
With regards, and thank you for your attention     John Whalley
The “We Own It” attachment to the email is here: WOI briefing on NHS_Trade
We will keep you updated on Marys response – but this is just the start and we now call upon all KONPNE supporters to join in with the Campaign. We ask that you contact your MP (email addresses for all North East MPs are here), and for as many people as possible to write (it would be great if a MP is contacted by a number of constituents). Full info and guidance is currently on our website “events” page here….your assistance would be greatly appreciated. It is CRUCIAL that the amendment is fully discussed and agreed.
Members of KONPNE work closely with “We Own It”. It is a highly regarded national organisation which campaigns for public ownership of public services – more information about their work is found here: https://weownit.org.uk/public-ownership/nhs

April 2020 – Coronavirus – GUIDANCE FROM THE NHS


For advice from the NHS about Coronavirus (Covid 19) incl symptoms, preventative actions, high risk groups, social distancing and self isolation, then please click here: 


and HUGE RESPECT to all healthcare workers from people across the country….

love NHS 2love NHS 3love NHS 4love NHSBlue Angel of the Northlove NHS 5Love NHS 6Banner in Exhibition ParkLove nhs 8

7th April 2020 – In Exhibition Park this morning…are YOU there to look after the NHS?

Banner in Exhibition Park

Spotted amidst the spring flowers, birdsong and sunlight this morning – Our NHS has been there for us for the past seventy years, and is fighting for us big style today. HUGE RESPECT to all healthworkers and keyworkers who are facing very significant personal risks in looking after us and helping us to get through these very difficult days…
Thought for the day is: Are you there to look after the NHS?  We need to restore the responsibility of the Secretary of State to provide a comprehensive, integrated, publicly owned NHS free at the point of need.
Check out the petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/300019

28th March 2020 – Buy “Song for the NHS” by Newcastle singer/songwriter Bethany Elen Coyle

Song for the NHS

SONG FOR THE NHS by Bethany Elen Coyle
Written by Bethany Elen Coyle, and first performed by Bethany Elen and Ron Brown at the KONPNE / Peoples Assembly 2017 NHS Rally in Newcastle, Bethany is donating all proceeds from future sales to groups who are supporting NHS workers dealing with the current coronavirus outbreak.
Download plus unlimited streaming – £1.50 or more


26th March 2020 – Blue Sky, Blue Tyne Bridge, Lots Of Noise and HUGE respect

Love NHS 6

No black and white in sight in the toon tonight….blue all the way, plus cheers, clapping, lots of noise and HUGE RESPECT to our NHS workers fighting the Coronavirus pandemic

25th March 2020 – Open letter to Matt Hancock on the Private Healthcare announcement

KONP logo jpeg              we own it

25 March 2020
Dear Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health & Social Care,
Thank you for bringing private healthcare capacity into public control to tackle the coronavirus crisis. This was exactly what needed to be done. This vital boost to beds, staff and intensive care equipment will save more lives, plain and simple. 
We’re happy to hear you recognise that no one should be profiting off our collective illness. We’ve seen reports that ‘no profit will be made’ by companies, but now we need to see the deal. 
That’s why we’re demanding that this ‘deal’ be made public, every dot and comma of it. You have stated that it will be done with “Open book” accounting, and external auditors verifying the public money being used. But we deserve to see what is being contracted to private companies here, including staffing arrangements. As Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs offer their hotels to NHS staff for free, we repeat no profit should be made in this arrangement. 
Over 17,000 NHS beds have gone since 2010, meaning patients were already being sent to private hospitals for treatment, channeling cash and vital NHS staff to private companies. NHS capacity must be expanded to serve our communities: it is not there to prop up private companies.
This experience has taught us that we are all in this together, and that our NHS is a vital life saving organ looking after our health together, no matter whether you can pay. 
To keep our NHS intact at the end of this, we ask that you pledge:
  • That this ‘deal’ be made public, every dot and comma of it. 
  • To end all of these contracts after this crisis. We know that private companies are hungry for long term NHS contracts. This means chunks out of the NHS budget are given to companies who in turn take profits, wasting money and fragmenting our health service. We do not want privatisation by stealth. 
  • Reinstate our NHS by ending all privatisation across the service as soon as this is over. 
  • That the NHS gets adequate funding and capacity to guarantee proper staffing and the beds required to treat people, so that the long term crisis in our health can end. 
This crisis, that grips our families and friends every day, has shown that the NHS needed more capacity to deal with this in the first place. We hope to work with you to do this in the coming years.
Co-signed by:
We Own It, Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together, Momentum, Doctors for the NHS, Our NHS, GMB, Medact

23rd March 2020 – KONP calls for immediate lockdown

Health Campaigners call for an immediate lockdown
Press release on behalf of Keep Our NHS Public – for Immediate use
23 March 2020
National NHS campaigning organisation Keep Our NHS Public, in solidarity with an increasing amount of healthcare staff around the country, is calling on the government to impose an immediate lockdown.
See: https://keepournhspublic.com/about-us/press/health-campaigners-immediate-lockdown

22nd March 2020 – Blue Angel of the North tonight for our NHS

Blue Angel of the North

Blue Angel of the North 2

What can we say?
Superb installation tonight from the Arts Collective “Come Together North East”. They write on facebook:
We would like to show our love, gratitude and solidarity to all NHS workers that are showing that they are the true heroes in our society, and always. All the best always, and thank you for everything you do, from the North East. 👏
Love and strength,

12th March 2020 – KONPNE meetings

All of our regular monthly meetings are now cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Please keep in touch via our website and social media, or by contacting us at konpnortheast@gmail.com
As the NHS is likely to be overwhelmed in the next few weeks, the best thing we can all do – for our own welfare, for the health of others, and to help health workers meet the crisis – is to personally avoid contracting Coronavirus as far as possible by self isolating (especially those people who are in the ‘at risk’ groups) or social distancing, and also to support friends and neighbours as far as we can.
Massive respect to all health workers.
Take lots of care and keep in touch – all at KONPNE xx

9th March 2020 – Coronavirus Covid-19

KONPNE have decided to postpone the march and rally in Newcastle, which was going to be held in April before the local elections.  We will be planning email campaigning instead.
National KONP have released a statement about the potential impact of Covid-19 on the NHS 
There is also an Interview with KONP Co-Chair, Tony O’ Sullivan on Talk Radio
at https://talkradio.co.uk/radio/listen-again/1583661600 –  go to the 11.30 – 12.00 time slot.

4th March 2020 – Statement from National KONP re coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus statement
Keep Our NHS Public believes that the damaging impact on the NHS of failed policies for the last ten years is a damning indictment of the decade of Conservative Government. This has undermined the ability of the NHS to respond to COVID-19 at the threshold of pandemic. A return to the founding principles of an NHS for all – embodied in the vision laid out by Nye Bevan in ‘In Place of Fear’ – would immediately strengthen our response to the COVID-19 threat.
Read the full statement here:   https://keepournhspublic.com/covid-19-statement/

4th March 2020 – Formal question to Newcastle City Council

At tonights full Newcastle City Council meeting, and supported by KONPNE members in the public gallery, Dr Gerard Reissmann (Newcastle GP and KONPNE member) addressed Councillors and then posed two key questions. The full address is in the post immediately below, and the two specific questions relating to the highly suspect Integrated Care System comprise:
1) What are you doing to ensure that the local “Integrated care System” plan involves changes based on health and social need, rather than being primarily driven by financial considerations? We would appreciate details of your actions so far, as well as future plans.
2) What specific risk assessments have been carried out independently by Newcastle City Council with regards to the “Integrated Care System” and the possibility of it developing into a private health system underpinned by private health insurance? We would appreciate details of your actions so far, as well as future plans. 
The response from Councillor Karen Kilgour, on behalf of Newcastle Council, was “interesting” to say the least – firstly stating that the Council had “concerns regarding governance” (we absolutely agree with that….), she then seemed to go on to describe how the Council feels there to be “no risk of a privatised health system in the current structure”…(errr…no….considerable NHS privatisation has already happened, and is happening….)
KONPNE have emailed Councillor Kilgour today to request a transcript of her response, which we will consider and with whom we will, no doubt, be in further communication in the very near future…..watch this space

2nd March 2020 – Date now confirmed for formal address and question to Newcastle City Council

KONPNE has scheduled a formal question to Newcastle City Council about their involvement with the CCGs “Integrated Care System” – a health system which potentially sets the course for the large scale privatisation of the NHS in the North East. On Wednesday 4th March, Dr Gerard Reissmann, Newcastle GP and KONPNE Steering Group member will formally address and question the full meeting of Newcastle City Council on behalf of our Group – please be there to offer your support.
Meet outside Newcastle Civic Centre (underneath the mushroom shaped extension at the front) at 5.40pm for photo opportunity, and then proceed to the public observers gallery of the Council Chamber (access door is to the left of the mushroom extension) to show your support for Gerard at the meeting which starts at 6pm. All KONPNE supporters are welcome – you do not need to be a resident of Newcastle.
The address and question: 
I work as a GP based in Cruddas Park and Kenton, and I represent the local group of “Keep Our NHS Public North East”.
As you are no doubt aware, the “NHS Long Term Plan 2019” makes provision for sweeping changes in the NHS, and the “North East Integrated Care System Five Year Plan” is the local response to this.  Although formulated by the local CCG, Newcastle City Council are identified as strategic partners with the CCG, and thus bear a significant responsibility for this plan.
We feel that there are many difficulties inherent in the “Integrated Care System” or “ICS” model. 
– it fails to really address the problems of NHS disintegration caused by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act and the market economy.
– it fails to address why true integration can’t happen – for example, lack of funding, the staffing crisis, privatisation of social care, charges for social care… and much more…
– there is a lack of research – indeed, a study published earlier this year questions whether developments such as those contained in the ICS do actually lead to reduced hospital admissions ((For our info – abstract attached))
– the “Integrated Care System” allows private corporations in by the back door even more
– the developments in the plan will be cash limited, and lead to even greater postcode lotteries
– the plan further reduces local democratic say and accountability in healthcare planning and decision-making
– and, last but not least, the long term threat is that this new mega “Integrated care System” which spans from Cumbria across to the North East and down to Whitby may ultimately require the involvement of multinational corporations. There are very few UK commercial enterprises with the expertise to manage huge Integrated Care budgets covering many services across vast regions but, in the United States, private “Accountable Care Organisations” have extensive experience of doing just that. They also have a track record of systematically curtailing patients’ access to certain treatments in order to preserve a profit. As a GP I find this deeply troubling. It is these multi-billion pound contracts that will interest the US. This is where the opportunity to gain control of the NHS budget actually lies – and this is where the profit motive will finish off the NHS’ public service ethos for good. Is the NHS “off the table” as far as trade deals are concerned? We feel it would be naive to think so – this specific plan is part and parcel of long term plans for NHS privatisation.
The local “Integrated Care System” can be made to look good on paper – no one would argue with phrases such as “greater collaboration” and “patient-centred care” – but when considered in a broader context of a planned, strategic dismantling of the healthcare system the risks become more apparent. There are no longer any checks or safeguards regarding privatisation as there were in the past. We are talking about a massive reconfiguration of health and social care which will have far-reaching implications for the future.
Whilst the officers of the CCG no doubt have a very difficult job, at the end of the day they are paid to carry out the instructions of NHS England. However, it is you, the elected members of Newcastle City Council who are jointly responsible for this plan alongside Newcastle Gateshead CCG.  All Councillors in this room, especially those sitting on the “Wellbeing for Life Board” and the “Health Scrutiny Committee”, provide the only democratic accountability within the local ICS, and we ask you not to collude with the political decision to dismantle our NHS. 
In October 2019, “Keep Our NHS Public North East”, which has many members resident in Newcastle, emailed all Councillors with our concerns and we provided these two briefing papers to you.
The two specific questions we would like to put to this meeting are as follows:
1) What are you doing to ensure that the local “Integrated care System” plan involves changes based on health and social need, rather than being primarily driven by financial considerations? We would appreciate details of your actions so far, as well as future plans.
2) What specific risk assessments have been carried out independently by Newcastle City Council with regards to the “Integrated Care System” and the possibility of it developing into a private health system underpinned by private health insurance? We would appreciate details of your actions so far, as well as future plans. 
Thank you

2nd March 2020 – Press release


20th February 2020 – campaign plans take shape

Lively discussions and positive campaign plans at tonights meeting in Newcastle – feedback on the recent Day of Action, and plans made for the formal question to Newcastle City Council, campaigning and research in Blyth, and possible NHS march and rally in April….watch this space….or, even better, join us at our next meeting on Thursday 19th March…details are here!!
The agenda for tonights meeting is here 20-02-20-konpne-agenda, and the notes from tonights meeting are here 20-02-20-konpne-meeting notes

19th February 2020 – update from Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign

15th February 2020 – Murky day, clear message


Winter crisis

Yesterday was Valentines Day – and it’s very clear that we need to show a bit more love and respect for a health service and staff that look after us day in, day out, and save millions of lives every year.
Great to join together with North East Peoples Assembly in the national “NHS Winter Crisis Day of Action”. This afternoon, a clear message was given to all in Newcastle city centre – despite the relative media quiet this is currently the worst winter crisis on record. No A&E department in the country has met its 4-hour wait target and even the best A&Es in the country are struggling to see more than 85% of their patients within this time. WE NEED TO GUARD AGAINST ACCEPTING AND NORMALISING THIS SITUATION. It is far from acceptable.
Many thanks to the fourteen campaigners who wrapped up warm and joined us throughout this event in getting the message out…. we are certain that this was received loud and clear in the toon!!….and great to meet some new supporters, and also thanks to the many who signed up onto our circulation list.
Today we joined up with North East Peoples Assembly. Similar events occurred throughout England, including events organised by our colleagues in South Tyneside and Sunderland, and with the many health campaign groups throughout England. The NHS Winter Day of Action was a national event, and KONPNE were proud to play our part in Newcastle. It is crucial to remain aware – Trump and Johnson are keen to work out a trade deal, and our NHS is “on the table”, no matter what they say. As long as NHS services are provided by private companies, our NHS is at risk.
hospital queue
Revealing the truth
As we move through February and the cold weather take hold, A&E staff around the country are bracing themselves; A&E departments are recording their worst statistics ever….and the Government has dropped the 4 hr wait target to cover their tracks. But this photo reveals the truth. Our hard working NHS staff are going the extra mile, as always….
Have no doubt about it – this issue is a strategic political issue which revolves around systemic cuts, closures and staffing shortfalls brought about by prolonged inadequate funding from central government.

29th January 2020 – Provisional date now identified for formal question to Newcastle City Council

newcastle civic centre 2

Please add Wednesday 4th March 2020 to your diary as a provisional (but probable) date….KONPNE is scheduling a formal question to Newcastle City Council about their involvement with the CCGs “Integrated Care System” – a health system which potentially sets the course for the large scale privatisation of the NHS in the North East. We are planning for a KONPNE member to formally put a very relevant question to the full meeting of Newcastle City Council on Wednesday 4th March on behalf of our Group – please be there to offer your support.
Meet outside Newcastle Civic Centre at 5.40pm for photo opportunity, and then proceed to the public observers gallery of the Council Chamber for the meeting which starts at 6pm. All KONPNE supporters are welcome – you do not need to be a resident of Newcastle.
NB – date to be confirmed – watch this space for further details

27th January 2020 – that deja vu feeling – KONPNE repeats the questions to North Tyneside Councillors

deja vu

Following the surprising response from Cllr Hall to our questions raised at the most recent Full Council Meeting at North Tyneside (see 16th January 2020 post, below), please find below the follow up email to Cllr Hall (with copies to all members of North Tyneside Council) from KONPNE Steering Group member Dr Helen Groom. We’ll let you know the response from the Council…unless, of course, it’s nonsensical….
Dear Cllr. Hall,
I am writing to you, members of the Health and Well-Being Board and all North Tyneside councillors to follow up on your response to the questions I asked at the council meeting on Thursday 16th January 2020.
Whilst I totally agree that working in cooperation with all organisations in the North East responsible for providing and commissioning the NHS is essential, I was asking the questions I did because of the unique responsibility you, as our elected representatives, have within the developing Integrated Care System (ICS). Those working within the NHS, including senior figures such as Sir Jim Mackey, are employed and will lose their jobs if they speak out. Elected councillors will not and your role is to challenge and question, and when necessary, oppose decisions. This is not ‘nonsensical’ as you stated in your response to my question.
My supplementary question to the council was;-
“Given that North Tyneside Council appears to be an equal partnership with North Tyneside CCG on developing the Integrated Care System (ICS) what risk assessments have been carried out specifically by North Tyneside Council officers with regards to the ICS and the possibility of this developing into a private health system, which is underpinned by private insurance?”
I think that this is not only a very reasonable question to ask but should be something that North Tyneside Council, in particular the members on the Health and Well-Being Board and  Adult Social Care, Health and Wellbeing Sub-Committee should want to see occur. With another 5 years of a Conservative government the ICS will, in the next few years, provide one contract for all of our local NHS services. In the NHS Long Term Plan (2019) it clearly states that multi-national and commercial companies will be able to bid for ICS contracts. Elsewhere in England nearly 20% of NHS services are now run by private companies such as VIRGIN and United Health. Keep our NHS Public are asking you, as our elected representatives, to ensure that this doesn’t happen in the North East.
I and my colleagues, therefore ask if you could ensure that the risk assessments suggested could be carried out and reported back at a full council meeting. We would be happy to meet with you or any of the councillors to follow up on this discussion. I’ve attached the KONPNE briefing on the ACO/ICS for information.
Yours sincerely,

Dr. Helen Groom (retired GP), Keep Our NHS Public North East

24th January 2020 – on perusing page 4 of this weeks Whitley Bay News Guardian….

20200123_184939 (2)


An interesting use of the word “nonsensical” by Cllr Hall, Whitley Bay ward, North Tyneside.
Please see post below on 16th January….and, yes, we will be following this up with Cllr Hall as a matter of urgency…

23rd January 2020 – Energy in the room

Great to meet up with fellow campaigners this evening at the first KONPNE meeting of the year…and superb also to welcome new people to the group. There was much energy in the room. Discussions and planning centred around **updates from Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign and news about the Save Rothbury Hospital Campaign  **feedback on attendance at Newcastle Council meetings, and joint Scrutiny meetings  **report on “Freedom of Information” requests to local CCGs regarding privatisation (we’ll keep you updated) **update on local CCGs 5 year plan regarding the NE Integrated Care System (see post below, 20th January)  **brief update on work in progress re fighting health charges for migrants  **feedback about our formal question to North Tyneside Full Council last week, press coverage and next steps  **discussions re campaigning strategy – tracking Council decision-making, further work on putting formal questions to other local Councils as a springboard to interventions  **news on the development of Northumberland KONP  **Planning regarding the February Winter Crisis Day of Action (see here)  **Additional campaigning ideas in Blyth
Lots happening!!  Please let us know how you can help: konpnortheast@gmail.com
The Agenda for this meeting is here and the notes from the meeting are here  – and please also click here for details of our next meeting – to take place on Thursday 20th February 2020. We will also provide dates for the subsequent KONPNE meetings up to the summer, so that we can plan ahead.


20th January 2020 – CCG presents North East “Integrated Care System” plans to North East Councillors

NENC 5 Year cover

Click here: NENC ICS Five Year Plan – 15.11.19 for the link to the “North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System Strategic Five-Year Plan 2019″….a lengthy 223 page document….
This was presented to North East Councillors at the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee held at Gateshead today. KONPNE supports the need to work in an innovative and collaborative manner – but we are equally aware that these plans for a macro health system potentially open the floodgates to the large scale privatisation of our health services here in the North East – not tomorrow or next year, but maybe in four or five years time.  We await the minutes of the meeting to see how our Councillors responded to this – we know that many have strongly highlighted the same concerns and are unwilling to be complicit in dismantling our NHS.
Let us know your thoughts at konpnortheast@gmail.com
Click here for the Council agenda and papers

16th January 2020 – Welcome to North Tyneside Council…the lights are on, but is there anyone at home?


Ever had that feeling that you’ve asked someone a crucially important question (one which means the difference between life and death), and you’ve been fobbed off with nebulous platitudes of empty nothingness? The response from Cllr Margaret Hall (Chair, North Tyneside Council Health and Wellbeing Board) to tonights formal question from Keep Our NHS Public North East was totally underwhelming.
Two years ago, in March 2018, North Tyneside Councillors unanimously and impressively passed the motion that “we agree to oppose any proposal to implement the delivery of healthcare in North Tyneside via an ACO / ICS, a project which in North Tyneside CCGs own report was stated to be high risk”. (1)
In North Tyneside, we clearly had a Council to be proud of; a positive force to be reckoned with in standing up against NHS England’s and local CCG’s plans to railroad through a health system which will ultimately lead to increased privatisation and the demise of the NHS. This system, originally known as “Accountable Care” and subsequently rebranded as “Integrated Care Systems”, is imported from the United States where healthcare is privatised, underpinned by health insurance, and is definitely NOT equitable, accountable, or available to all in need.
So, fastforwarding to 2020, where are we now? Sadly, it seems, in downward spiral. Over the intervening months, KONPNE became increasingly alarmed by a number of reports in Council minutes which, seemingly, indicated a softening of approach and a warming to the demands of NHS England and the local CCG.
At the full Council meeting on 16th January 2020 (2), Dr Helen Groom, retired GP, local resident and member of KONPNE formally asked the following two questions on behalf of Keep Our NHS Public North East:
Initial question: “What evidence does North Tyneside Council have that members have opposed or even raised objections to the ICS? In becoming part of the ICS, what safeguards have you obtained on behalf of North Tyneside residents to ensure services will not be privatised?”
Supplementary question: “Given that North Tyneside Council appear to be in equal partnership with North Tyneside CCG in developing the Integrated Care System in the borough, what risk assessments have been carried out specifically by North Tyneside officers with regards to the Integrated Care System and the possibility of this developing into a private health system which is underpinned by private health insurance?”
Given growing concerns about Council decision-making, KONPNE anticipated a certain amount of gloss, but the reply from Cllr Margaret Hall, on behalf of North Tyneside Council, was astonishing. In a prepared response, Cllr Hall stated publicly that “there is no need to oppose or object to the ICS, as there are no proposed changes to services” (not yet, Margaret, but there is an urgent need for you to do more reading around the subject to see where the ICS is heading…and, whilst you’re at it, also check out your own Labour Party’s policy: “We will stop Tory plans to further entrench the private sector delivery of health care under the cover of integration plans set out in the NHS Long Term Plan” (3)
Additionally, seemingly unfazed by her stance and in response to our second question, Cllr Hall went on to surprise the Chamber by stating “There is no way that North Tyneside Council would agree to privatisation in North Tyneside” (err, Margaret, just down the road at North Tyneside General Hospital, all of your “Urgent Care” and “Out of Hours” services are now privatised, and GPs throughout the Borough are scratching their heads and needing to discuss with patients private options following cuts to specific treatments that were up until recently available on the NHS).
We are unsure if this response by North Tyneside Council represents a head in the clouds (“don’t understand”) stance, or if it signifies a head in the sand (“don’t want to understand”) stance but, whichever, there is an acute need for the head to re-engage with reality.  Whilst, no doubt, some North Tyneside Councillors are still willing to stand up and be counted regarding our NHS, we suggest that others need to see the bigger picture and not be taken in by the lengthy documents, smoke, mirrors and gloss offered by senior CCG officers. There is no excuse for this seemingly lack of insight by Councillors – much has been discussed locally and nationally, both within and outwith political parties and, together with many academics, Professor Allyson Pollock (Newcastle University) has researched and reported widely on the methodology strategically employed by the Government regarding NHS privatisation. (4)
The building blocks are in place and now that we have a Tory government for at least 5 years, so they have the political means to complete the privatisation of the NHS. Unlike those working in the CCG who are paid to carry out policy as dictated by the Government, our elected representatives on local Councils are the only piece of democratic accountability in the CCGs “Integrated Care System”. As such, it is CRUCIAL that Councillors hold firm in fighting against the covert introduction of cuts and privatisation, and do not passively collude with the political decision to dismantle our NHS.  The people of the North East are placing our trust in our elected Councillors to continue to stand up for a fully funded, publicly owned and publicly provided National Health Service, which is available to all on the basis of need and NOT the ability to pay. 
Dr Groom said after the meeting: “It remains our great concern that North Tyneside Council appear to have done a U turn and ridden roughshod over a Council motion unanimously passed two years previously, and have become complicit in the CCGs plans. Members of KONPNE were astonished by the response from Cllr Hall on behalf of North Tyneside Council; we will, of course, be taking this further, as we still require full and respectful responses to our concerns”.
Jude Letham, Co-ordinator, “Keep Our NHS Public North East” said: “Our group has been in existence for over ten years, and is made up of members of the public, including doctors and nurses – many live and work in North Tyneside. We believe in a publicly provided health service, and also believe it to be the responsibility of EVERYONE to stand up for these ideals, using whatever ways and means we can. All Councillors bear this responsibility”.
From: John Whalley, Steering Group member
1 https://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/meeting/1959
2  https://democracy.northtyneside.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=136&MId=236&Ver=4
3 https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Real-Change-Labour-Manifesto-2019.pdf   (pg 33)
4 https://konpnortheast.com/stp-aco/
Click here to watch the video of the meeting – scroll to 8.10 for KONPNE question
The Council minutes are here
Double click PRESS RELEASE 20.1.20 KONPNE for associated Press Release 20.1.20

14th January 2020 – Press release circulated this afternoon

KONPNE PRESS RELEASE 14th January 2020-page0001

Please also see post below, for additional information

9th January 2020 –  date is set for question to North Tyneside Full Council Meeting: Thursday 16th JANUARY 2020

NT arms

We need your support in the viewers gallery at North Tyneside Council on Thursday 16th January, when Dr Helen Groom (retired GP and KONPNE steering group member) will be formally putting a question to North Tyneside Councillors at the Full Council meeting – the question refers to the Councils involvement in the local Integrated Care System, despite a previous Council motion opposing this type of healthcare delivery. 
The Full Council meeting starts at 6pm, and is held in the Council Chambers on the ground floor. Please meet outside the building main entrance at 5.40pm for support photo. All supporters of KONPNE are welcome – you don’t need to be a resident of North Tyneside.
Please scroll down on this page to 13th November for the full question we have put to North Tyneside Council, and please click here for copies of the Briefing Papers we sent to all Councillors in the North East in October 2019.
Further joining details for the Council meeting on Thursday 16th January 2020 are on our events page here

8th January 2020 – all ready for the NEW YEAR + 2019 VIDEO

Wishing everyone much happiness and GOOD HEALTH in 2020. Many, many thanks for all of your support over the last year and, if you have not yet attended our meetings, please put it at the top of the NY resolutions list!!
Importantly, grateful thanks are offered to the dedicated and hardworking NHS staff across the region, who go the extra mile for us, every day of the year – often in very difficult circumstances. We are behind you, all the way.
There is much to do throughout 2020, and your assistance would be much appreciated in our ongoing campaigns against the ongoing privatisation of our NHS, and against the cuts and closures of our NHS services here in the North East.
Information about our next meeting is here – but, first, lets take a moment to sit back and look back at our activities throughout 2019….much has taken place….

Click here for KONPNE 2019 VIDEO (5 minutes)

NHS dollars