Scroll down this page for:
1: Stop the privatised test and trace chaos – email now
2: Scrap the contracts for Seco and Sitel – sign the “We Own It” petition
3: Private Test and Trace is failing – sign the “Change.Org” petition
4: Public Health Champions vs Matt Hancock – watch the video
5: Hiding behind a Logo
6: Peoples Covid Inquiry
7: “The Pandemic and Privatisation” – Conference video recording and briefing pack from “Health Campaigns Together”
Stop the privatised test and trace chaos
Privatised test and trace has failed our communities.
The government has suggested that councils are likely to get bigger roles in contact tracing, but we know that local public health teams should be doing ALL contact tracing, not failing private companies.
This would be a system the British public could have faith in.
Matt Hancock isn’t budging. We need you to email these key figures in government with responsibilities to scrutinise health policy (Hunt), test and trace (Clark), and outsourcing (Gove) TODAY!
Click here for a straight-forward pro forma letter – it will take you 2 minutes only…but could protect the NHS for a lifetime
Sign the petition: Scrap the contracts for Serco & Sitel
Privatised track and trace has been a 2020 disaster that is costing lives.
It’s 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. 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.
Sign the “Save Lives, Scrap Serco” petition here: https://weownit.org.uk/save-lives-scrap-serco-now
Sign the petition: Private Test and Trace is failing – hand it back to the NHS
‘NHS test and trace’ is not run by the NHS. The testing side is run by private companies such as Deloitte, and it’s clear that it is failing. A partnership between local authorities and public health, primary care and NHS labs is needed to ensure a successful testing system. Please sign this petition calling for testing to be rooted within NHS structures and given the necessary investment.
Public Health Champions vs Matt Hancock
…….Watch the video here
Hiding behind a logo…..
25th September 2020: 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
….and a stark message from @EveryDoctorUK, outside Spire HQ (October 2021)
Absolutely no doubt – an independent Inquiry needs to get to grips with this….
“PEOPLE’S COVID INQUIRY”: Hosted throughout the Spring and early summer 2021 by national KONP – because clarity and answers are needed NOW
“We’re holding our People’s Covid Inquiry now because we don’t think it’s too soon to start learning lessons about this crisis, especially while so many people are still dying from Covid-19. We believe this level of deaths was avoidable. We all deserve to know how and why this happened” – KONP
“The People’s Covid Inquiry is important because over a 100,000 lives have been lost, many families left struggling and bereft, and honest answers are needed to understand why this tragedy has occurred” – Professor Neena Modi
SESSION 1 – Took place on Wednesday 24 February: click HERE to watch Session 1
Covid-19: How well prepared was the NHS?
In Session 1: The People’s Covid Inquiry asked how has policy over the last decade impacted on the resilience of our NHS, social care system and public health systems and its preparedness for the coronavirus pandemic whilst delivering continuity of core NHS services?
SESSION 2 – Took place on Wednesday 10 March: click HERE to watch Session 2
How did the Government respond?
In Session 2: What strategies did the Government employ to bring the virus under control and were they effective? Did it pay due regard to scientific evidence and public health expertise? Was it influenced by ‘lockdown sceptics’. Were there other strategies the Government could have adopted that would have had better outcomes?
SESSION 3 – Took place on Wednesday 24 March: click HERE to watch SESSION 3
Is ‘Zero Covid’ possible?
In Session 3: Amid increasing criticism of the UK Government for its handling of the pandemic and parallel calls from civil society for the adoption of a ‘Zero Covid’ strategy, our inquiry asks: what does ‘Zero Covid’ mean and is it possible, or has the Government really done the best it can? Is it possible to protect the population and protect the economy at the same time? Did the prospect of an effective vaccine side-line effective test, trace and isolate?
SESSION 4 – Took place on Wednesday 7th April: click HERE to watch SESSION 4
Impact on the population 1
In Session 4: Over 140,000 people have now died in the UK of Covid-19. Shockingly, six in ten people who have died have been disabled, and more than 35,000 people have died in care homes. Social care has been stretched to breaking point, and heavy care responsibilities have fallen upon families and loved ones, invariably falling most heavily on women.
Was this scale of death, long-term illness and distress inevitable? Why were Covid-positive patients discharged into care homes on three separate occasions? Was the UK social care sector well-equipped to meet the pandemic, and could nothing more have been done to enable social care workers to protect both themselves and those depending on their care?
SESSION 5 – Took place on Wednesday 21 April: click HERE to watch SESSION 5
Impact on frontline staff & key workers
In Session 5: It became very clear at the outset of the pandemic that the UK Government needed to radically reappraise the roles of key workers in society. Our inquiry asks: were the roles of key workers and the risks they faced understood; and were they supported and protected? Were employment conditions, in-work poverty and health and safety at work given adequate consideration by the Government?
SESSION 6 – Took place on Wednesday 5 May: click HERE to watch SESSION 6
Inequalities & discrimination
In Session 6: The devastating differential impact of Covid and the pandemic on BAME people came as a shock but not really a surprise. Even prior to the pandemic there was strong evidence that racism, unequal education, job and economic opportunities, housing and access to healthcare affected the health of people in BAME communities unequally. The Covid pandemic and the role of key workers who carried on working, who could not work at home, and who kept the transport, health, and other services going, compounded all of these issues for BAME people and were reflected in the illness and death rate.
The impact of Covid has fallen differentially on women in many important ways. Our inquiry asks: was there any serious appraisal of risk for sections of our society who experience inequalities and discrimination? What has the outcome been and how has the Government responded?
SESSION 7 – Took place on Wednesday 19 May: click HERE to watch SESSION 7
Privatisation of the Public’s Health
A striking feature of the government’s pandemic response has been contracting out Covid related services to private companies. This has been without the usual tendering processes and any transparency around contract details including costs. Despite a number of contracts failing spectacularly (e.g. NHS Test and Trace) and some pre-Covid contracts such as NHS Logistics being exposed as wholly inadequate, public contract funding has been differentially awarded to Conservative party donors and close contacts.
SESSION 8 – Took place on Wednesday 2 June: click HERE to watch SESSION 8
Impact on the population 2
This session looks at the wellbeing of the population during the pandemic, with a focus on the welfare and mental health needs of NHS and frontline staff, families and young people. The Government’s decisions and how it communicated them to the public have had a major impact on the public’s responses, wellbeing and safety. Frequently, sections of the public have been blamed for their responses. We will ask if this was fair.
SESSION 9 – Took place on Wednesday 16th June: click HERE to watch SESSION 9
The pandemic continues – what must happen now?
This concluding session takes an overview: as the Delta variant spreads in Britain, and the pandemic rages across the world, with billions unprotected by vaccine, there are important questions of national and international consequence: a people’s vaccine with technology shared and free from patents, governance around the vaccination programme; why has Government policy been in conflict with national trade unions like the NEU and what is the role of a trade union in the pandemic; consistent with previous sessions, the importance of listening and responding to citizens such as Bereaved Families for Justice; Inquiry witnesses have been highly critical of the way national government by-passed Local Authorities and Public Health: what could local government do and, most important, what must happen now?; and questions from a legal standpoint on accountability facing the Government re: legal and statutory compliance.
The People’s Covid Inquiry website
forms an easily accessible repository for written evidence and recordings of the meetings together with additional video testimonials. We also catalogue work already done by others, such as indie-SAGE, Kings Fund, Amnesty, National Audit Office, etc. Our own online survey initiative has been launched to facilitate the widest possible public participation. Once all online sessions and other evidence gathering initiatives have been completed, we will produce a summary making a series of clear recommendations about what is needed to make sure the NHS is both repaired and strengthened for the future. We will share our findings and recommendations widely through all available channels, and make sure our evidence is a valuable resource available to others.
for more info at The People’s Covid Inquiry website
The Pandemic and Privatisation – “Health Campaigns Together” Conference video recording and briefing pack
The NHS faces its most serious threat ever as ministers use the cover of the pandemic to push through far-reaching changes. Billions have been frittered away on inefficient and ineffective private contractors rather than investing in the NHS and public health* Huge and continuing scandals in the allocation of PPE contracts to “fast-tracked” neighbours and cronies of ministers* Private management consultants paid up to £7,000 per day – and steering investment to contractors, not the NHS* £12bn spent on privatised Test and trace systems that are a byword for failure* Tens of millions wasted on new ‘lighthouse’ laboratories and fully privatised ‘megalabs’ that bypass NHS laboratories* Billions spent hiring private hospitals, with up to £10 billion more in next 4 years while thousands of NHS beds lie empty.
Unprecedented attacks need new ways of fighting back. This Conference took place on 25th February 2021 and to view the video (discussing how we can best respond to and beat back this new wave of privatisation) and for the Conference briefing pack, click below
for Conference video
for Conference briefing pack
Reports and Inquiry
National KONP (12th October 2021) Commons Covid Report is damning, but a wasted opportunity to learn urgent lessons
The Guardian (12th October 2021) Bereaved families call for acceleration of UK Covid inquiry after MPs’ report
The Guardian (12th October 2021) Covid response ‘one of UK’s worst ever public health failures’
The Guardian (16th March 2021) Pressure mounts on Boris Johnson to launch coronavirus inquiry
The National (8th July 2021) Tory ‘incompetence’ on Covid-19 exposed by inquiry ‘refusal’, says Michael Mansfield
National KONP Coronavirus Hub – information and statement
National “Keep Our NHS Public”have built a webpage to help our members and supporters stay up to date with our response to the pandemic. This will be updated regularly and will be used to host coverage of the crisis by Keep Our NHS Public and its members.
The KONP statement on the coronavirus pandemic is here: https://keepournhspublic.com/covid-19-statement/
Cost of Covid
NHS Confederation (2nd September 2021) A reckoning: the continuing cost of COVID-19
Joint report sets out the full scale of the extra running costs now needed by the NHS in England in light of the pandemic.
George Monbiot – The Guardian (21st October 2020)
Sir David King, former Chief Scientist: Using Covid to sell off the health service by stealth
The Guardian (13th April 2021) Tories accused of corruption and NHS privatisation by former chief scientist
Richard Horton, Editor, The Lancet (12th September 2020)
“This Government is directly responsible for tens of thousands of citizens deaths” and we have witnessed “the worst episode of government and ministerial misconduct”.
Click here to hear from Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet, explaining what went wrong with the Governments response to the pandemic – he does not hold back. This talk was part of the national KONP AGM 12th September 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=10&v=_ca4fqdxzV0&feature=emb_logo&ab_channel=KeepOurNHSPublicNational
British Medical Journal (13th November 2020) Covid-19: politicisation, “corruption,” and suppression of science
The London Economic 16th Nov 2020 BMJ lashes out at UK ‘state corruption’ and ‘suppression of science’
Mishandling of the pandemic
British Medical Journal Editorial (4th February 2021) Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant
Privatised and Unprepared – the NHS Supply Chain (2020)
The report from University of Greenwich and We Own It is here
plus…. opportunistic, unreported deals…..
Test and Trace
The Guardian (18th October 2021) UK lab investigated for false negative Covid tests is not fully accredited
The Guardian (30th June 2021) Serco expects 50% jump in profits on back of Covid contracts
The Guardian (18th April 2021) Serco brazens out Covid calamity as the profits roll in
British Medical Journal (1st April 2021) A new public health body for the UK
The Law and Policy Blog (25th March 2021) Why the Deloitte clause for drafting ministerial answers is a further assault on civil service norms
Counterpunch (16th March 2021) Test and Trace is the Dead Elephant in the Room
Twitter (16th March 2021): Rachel Reeves MP and Jon Ashworth write to Health Secretary re: contact tracing system Click here
The Guardian (14th March 2021) The record-beating cost to the taxpayer of Boris Johnson’s wasteful government
Tribune (12th March 2021) We Still Need an NHS Test and Trace System
Politics Home (10th March 2021) Outsourcing Firm Sitel Told Contact Tracers To Use Their Personal Email Accounts To Share People’s Case Details
British Medical Journal (10th March 2021) Covid-19: NHS Test and Trace made no difference to the pandemic, says report
The Mirror (7th March 2021) Three-quarters say NHS has dealt with Covid better than private firms in damning poll
The Independent (6th March 2021) Poll shows public think privatised Covid test-and-trace system has failed as cost tops £37 billion
The Guardian (1st March 2021) Tory-linked PR firm hired to provide test and trace ‘reputation management’
The London Economic (19th January 2021) Test and Trace is paying Deloitte nearly a million pounds every day
Byline Times (5th January 2021) Government Reveals Total Number of Private Sector Consultants working for ‘Test and Trace’
BMJ (16 Nov 2020) Mass testing for covid-19 in the UK
The Guardian (25th November 2020) Test and trace fails to contact 110,000 in English Covid hot spots
BBC News (20th November 2020) Coronavirus: Inside test-and-trace – how the ‘world beater’ went wrong
Mirror (19th November 2020) Test and Trace misses 123,000 contacts in a week as rate stuck at historic low
Channel 4 (16th November 2020) Dispatches uncovers serious failings at one of UK’s largest COVID-Testing Labs
Caroline Molloy, Open Democracy (12 November 2020) Deloitte’s COVID ‘bonanza’: this is how much the British public has paid so far
Louisa Harding-Edgar, Margaret McCartney, Allyson M Pollock (First Published October 27, 2020): “Test and trace strategy has overlooked importance of clinical input, clinical oversight and integration”
George Monbiot, The Guardian (28th October 2020): How teenagers ended up operating crucial parts of England’s test and trace system
George Monbiot: “People ask me, “is this a cockup or a conspiracy?”. The correct answer is both. The government is using the pandemic to shift the boundaries between public and private provision, restructure public health and pass lucrative contracts to poorly qualified private companies. The inevitable result is a galactic cockup. This is what you get from a government that values money above human life”.
Watch this video from Dr Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini and “We Own It” (21st October 2020)
The letter from North East Councillors to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for health is here (scroll to 26th August) and the Chronicle report is here
See photos and a KONPNE video taken in Newcastle on the NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION ON TRACK AND TRACE CONTRACTS here (scroll to 18th August)
Huffington Post (18th September 2020) – and here’s who is actually running “NHS” test and Trace: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/nhs-test-trace-private-sector_uk_5f6099e3c5b68d1b09c77477
Huffington Post (21st September 2020) 74% favour a publicly run Test and Trace system: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/exclusive-public-want-track-and-trace-taken-off-serco_uk_5f6785ecc5b6480e8970b968
Privatising test and trace has been a disaster. Paying private companies to run the test and trace system has cost eleven times as much as it cost to send a Rover to Mars. Courtesy of @PrivateEyeNews
Covid-19 Testing Laboratories and privatisation
Many thanks to a member of KONPNE for this overview on developments regarding Testing Labs – crystal clear that every aspect of the Governments response to Covid-19 is typified by privatisation. Read the article on our blog here
Covid testing explained: bold promises and moonshots
The Lowdown (September 14th 2020): https://lowdownnhs.info/explainers/covid-testing-explained-bold-promises-and-moon-shots
The Guardian (26th November 2020): Hancock’s former neighbour won Covid test kit work after WhatsApp message
Outsourced and undermined – the Covid 19 windfall for private providers (British Medical Association, 8th September 2020)
The private sector has been the winner in the Government’s response to COVID-19 in England – but why, given the growing and predictable litany of mistakes it has made? Peter Blackburn reports here
The Lowdown (21st November 2020): More trouble with NHS contracts and outsourcing
Private Eye, 11th November 2021
Left foot Forward (9th April 2021) Doctor calls government actions ‘complete dereliction of duty’ at People’s Covid Inquiry
The Guardian (23rd February 2021) Hancock criticised for claim there was never a national PPE shortage
The above article reports a disgrace – a total lack of respect to staff working on the front line and putting their lives at risk
British Medical Journal (18th November 2020): Covid-19: UK government faces legal action after awarding £250m in PPE contracts to jewellery company
The Lowdown (8th December 2020): Covid contract report reveals waste, cronyism and absent process
The Guardian (18th November 2020): https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/nov/18/ppe-suppliers-with-political-ties-given-high-priority-status-report-reveals
BBC (19th November 2020) Covid spending: Watchdog finds MPs’ contacts were given priority
Channel 4 (17 November 2020) Questions arise over dramatic increase in PPE costs paid by government during pandemic
BBC (17th November 2020) Go-between paid £21m in taxpayer funds for NHS PPE
June 2021: We need a Government who support the NHS and respect its staff, who can be trusted in crisis and who are honest.Hancocks claim re PPE is no more than a blatant lie and, tragically, events throughout 2020 have clearly demonstrated this. The statement to the health select committee is a disgrace.
OpenDemocracy (30th March 2021) We’ve won our lawsuit over Matt Hancock’s £23m NHS data deal with Palantir
My Little Crony – A visualization of the connections between Tory politicians and companies being awarded government contracts during the pandemic based on a wide range of investigative reporting
“We’ve found eight Tory donors that, collectively, have won £881m in 35 Covid19 UK gov contracts. Combined they’ve donated £8.2m to the Tories. So, for every £1 donated, they’ve averaged a return of £110 from contracts won. The golden line of cronyism. Exclusive with @BylineTimes”
The Guardian (3rd May 2021) The NHS is being privatised by stealth under the cover of a pandemic
We Own It video (16th April 2021) One simple solution to cronyism in our NHS
The Guardian (13th April 2021) Tories accused of corruption and NHS privatisation by former chief scientist
The Guardian (28th March 2021) High court to rule on legality of Covid contracts for PM’s ‘chums’
The Chronicle (24th February 2021) Government accused of ‘cronyism’ and handing contracts to ‘pub pals’ in row over PPE
RT UK video (19th February 2021) KONP Co-Chair Dr John Puntis speaks out about cronyism and Covid19 contracts
The Guardian (19th February 2021) Matt Hancock acted unlawfully by failing to publish Covid contracts
KONP / NHS Staff Voices video discussion (December 2020) Covid and Cronyism
The London Economic (22nd December 2020): Revealed: The links between Tory MPs and the people profiting from NHS privatisation
The Guardian (21st November 2020): England’s three Covid ‘tsars’: key questions that must be answered
The Guardian (21st November 2020) Boris Johnson ‘acted illegally’ over jobs for top anti-Covid staff
RT UK (20th November 2020) Video: Half of Covid contracts given out without competition
Financial Times (18th November 2020) Watchdog criticises government over awarding of £17bn Covid contracts
OpenDemocracy (13th November 2020) Revealed: Former Tory chairman was secretly appointed as COVID advisor
The London Economic 9th Nov 2020 Government fails to publish details £4 billion shady Covid contracts
Structural racism led to worse Covid impact on BAME groups – report
The Guardian (October 27th 2020): Minority ethnic people in UK were ‘overexposed, under protected, stigmatised and overlooked’, review finds https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/27/structural-racism-led-to-worse-covid-impact-on-bame-groups-report
The use of private hospitals
The Good Law Project (3rd November 2021) EXCLUSIVE: Private hospitals were paid over £1.5 billion during the pandemic
Open Democracy (26th October 2021) UK government’s pandemic deal was win-win… for private hospitals
The Guardian (7th October 2021) Private hospitals treated just eight Covid patients a day during pandemic – report
The Lowdown (6th January 2021) Private hospital group backs out of Covid deal to treat NHS patients
Health Service Journal (1st December 2020) Leaks reveal two-thirds of private hospital capacity went unused by NHS
Health Service Journal (16th October 2020): Revealed: The private hospitals handed the largest covid-19 contracts
The impact of privatising vital services
The Guardian (19th October 2020): Covid-19 has exposed the catastrophic impact of privatising vital services
British Medical Journal (8th July 2021) Covid-19: Billions spent on private contracts should have gone to public services, says people’s inquiry
The Guardian (4th August 2021) PTSD, long Covid and a paltry pay offer: three nurses on how the pandemic changed them
Covid, Privatisation and Underfunding:
Great range of speakers in this 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). Chaired by Tony Dowling, North East Peoples Assembly.
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.
Recorded 13th October 2020: click here to watch
The need to build capacity in our public health system
An excellent overview and briefing from Oxfordshire KONP (February 2021) is here
The Independent Sage
‘We are following the science’ is the message the British public have been hearing from government since COVID-19 mitigating measures began. It says it is following the advice of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE). But the activities of the committee have been kept secret and excluded from scrutiny by the public or wider scientific community.
In response, on Monday May 4, the Independent SAGE convened as a group of preeminent experts from the UK and around the world. The aim of the Independent SAGE was and is to provide robust, independent advice to HM Government with the purpose of helping the UK navigate COVID-19 whilst minimising fatalities.
Covid 19 and the way forward
For a very interesting 30 minute discussion between Professor Allyson Pollock (Health campaigner and Newcastle University) and Dr John Lister (Co-chair KONP and Coventry University), please click here (….skip over the initial countdown on the recording)
Whilst this was recorded to highlight the issues covered in John Pilger’s film The Dirty War on the NHS, much of the discussion centres around Covid 19 and the way forward. Crucial viewing, highly recommended.
2020 Vision for a post-Covid NHS, published by “Health Campaigns Together” and “Keep Our NHS Public” (July 2020)
Click HCT KONP 2020 Rescue Plan to access the document, plus additional background information is here