KEEP TRUMP AWAY FROM OUR NHS: Ten ways to protect the NHS from trade deals
Our NHS needs our help
Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are keen to work out a trade deal, and discussions are well in progress. The dangers are very clear – large-scale take-overs by US private companies, reduced access to medication (US politicians have already made it clear that they want to”pressure” the UK through trade negotiations to “pay more” for drugs), the harvesting of our UK patient data by US firms (many US corporations are keen to develop global business models for new markets) and the lowering of standards in medication, technology, and the numbers / skills / pay and conditions of staff (all could be lowered to make our NHS more profitable to US corporations).
The current Campaign focus
With so much going on socially, politically and health-wise right now, your help is urgently required to cut through the noise. The Bill has progressed through the Commons and is now with the House of Lords – see lower down this page for specific details about the passage of the Bill so far.
The Bill is now at the Committee Stage in the Lords, where the contents of the Bill are given closer scrutiny – discussions at this Committee Stage commenced on 29th September. Amendments to this Bill can be suggested by the Lords, and these are now URGENTLY required to safeguard the NHS from privatisation threats.
It is massively important that we get the word out far and wide about the need to safeguard the NHS by supporting an Amendment to the Bill. This means liasing with members of the Lords, whilst at the same time informing the public and, also, maintaining a lobby on ALL of our North East MPs – but the priority at present is the Lords. Amendments which protect our NHS are still possible – possible Amendments very recently proposed by a crossparty group of peers and yet to be voted on are here (see sections 51 re NHS and 57 re scrutiny).
See this video from We Own It, and also this Halloween short from KONPNE, filmed at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Ten ways to protect the NHS from trade deals
–> (1) Email six members of the Lords
to ask him/her to propose or support Amendments to the Trade Bill which protect the NHS and the UKs wider health and social care sectors from privatisation.
We have read the guidance on communication with the Lords (see here), and it appears that all emails are discounted if over six are sent, so please send your email to a max of 6 peers (all emails to be sent separately and individually addressed e.g. Dear Baroness Black).
There are 773 sitting members of the Lords (see here) – so lots to choose from…
The list here identifies 1- 115 Peers with a policy interest in health services and medicine
and the list here identifies 116 – 773 peers listed by political party, no identified interest in health policy
Additionally, you will see that a number of peers choose to have their own independent email address away from the Parliamentary system, so please feel free to send your email (individually addressed) to as many of these people as you wish….as many as possible….there are no numbers restrictions on writing to the people with independent email addresses.
Ideas regarding the content of your email is on the attachment here: Ideas re your email to the Lords
–> (2) Email your MP
to ask him/her to support any forthcoming post-Lords Amendments to the Trade Bill which protect the NHS and the UKs wider health and social care sectors from privatisation. Email your MP – whatever political party s/he belongs to. We need to keep lobbying all of our MPs about the Bill as, later on this year, they will be called to vote on any Amendments proposed by the Lords. We need to create noise waves across all political parties, and demonstrate loud and clear that, as a constituent, WE CARE and that THIS IS CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT.
However, of particular importance is the fact that in the passage of the Bill through the Commons earlier this year, six North East MPs voted AGAINST Amendments which would have safeguarded the NHS: Guy Opperman (Hexham), Ian Levy (Blyth), Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick), Dehenna Davison (Bishop Auckland), Richard Holden (NW Durham) and Paul Howell (Sedgefield). Are these your representatives in Parliament?? If so, please persist in making contact….and ask your neighbours to do the same….
The email addresses of all North East MPs are listed on our website here.
Please feel free to use the draft letter here: Trade Bill letter to MP and attach the information sheet: WOI briefing on NHS_Trade
For info, we are looking for these five principles to be included in the Trade Bill: Trade Bill amendment 5 principles
–> (3) Be a signatory on the letter to the Lords
KONPNE works closely with “We Own It” and, in order to continue to make our voices heard in advance of the Lords vote, “We Own It” are writing to the leaders of the four main groupings in the Lords asking them to whip their benches to vote for the NHS amendment. We want you to become a signatory to the letter. The more people that sign on to the letter, the more impactful it will be.
You can read the letter in full, and sign it, here: https://weownit.org.uk/house-of-lords-letter
+ Record your “Dear House of Lords” 30 second video
Click here for details…..
+ sign and share two petitions
–> (4) Live in BLYTH, SEDGEFIELD, BISHOP AUCKLAND or NORTH WEST DURHAM????
We need to make sure that our MPs are on side in protecting the NHS, and we are focussing on the above four constituencies in the North East. We are planning very safe, socially distanced publicity / photo ops / posters, plus social media posts – with some help from a few people in each of these constituencies, this should amount to nothing major time-wise, but is planned to have the desired effect! Please get in touch with us at email@example.com to find out more. Thank you.
–> (5) Print off and display this A4 window poster
You already know the danger that the NHS is in, but thousands more around the country don’t. Also, please take a photo of yourself with the poster and post it to your social media with your personal message – and please notify us at KONPNE facebook and twitter, so that we can share
A word version is here: KONPNE trade deals poster
–> (6) Pass on information
to your family, friends and contacts – and get their commitment to get involved. Your network of family, friends and contacts will MASSIVELY increase the reach of the Campaign.
and also….write / email / Zoom / facebook / tweet your political group or Union, and request that the Trade Bill is flagged up and included on the agenda URGENTLY. Provide this website page address and attach the “We Own It” briefing on NHS Trade linked here WOI briefing on NHS_Trade
–> (7) and share widely on social media.
Please go one step further – watch out for all of our social media posts (we post daily on facebook and twitter) and make it a personal aim to post far and wide.
We are on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NHSPublicNorthEast, and twitter at https://twitter.com/KONPNorthEast
–> (8) Write to your local paper / media
to highlight your concerns – the more letters get submitted to local papers, the more MPs and peers will realise that they must protect our NHS. If you’ve never written a letter to a newspaper before, it is a straightforward, quick and easy action to take.
We’ve linked a draft letter here: Trade Bill letter to papers – please feel free to change / adapt / use as a guide / personalise it as much as you wish. You will find the email address of your local paper on its website – typically, this will be listed in the “contact us” section.
–> (9) Keep up to date with developments re the Trade Bill
– please click the information links further down this page
–> (10) please keep in touch
with us at KONPNE and also with the “We Own It” team – we are very interested to know what you are doing – firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com Our NHS CAN be protected from adverse trade deals – this is now our opportunity to achieve this by creating a huge wave of support. Please assist in whatever way you can. Thank you.
Background Information: links
Please check out the following links for more information:
> The KONP position statement on the Trade Bill is here: https://keepournhspublic.com/keep-our-nhs-out-of-all-trade-deals/
> Information from We Own It is here: https://weownit.org.uk/nhsphoto
> An open letter has been sent to MPs from over 500 health professionals – this has been devised by local KONPNE member Dr Sarah Walpole and can be seen here: NHS_Staff_OpenLetterToMPs_FINAL
> KONPNE wrote to all 22 North East MPs to get their support for the Bill. After the vote in the Commons, we found that six North East MPs (their names are listed above) voted against Amendments which would have safe-guarded the NHS. This is a disgrace. Read one of our letters to one of these six MPs here: BLYTH MP email communication It is not yet too late – we are counting on all 22 North East MPs to vote in favour of Amendments proposed by the Lords in autumn 2020. Please see the guidance above re writing to your MP.
> The Peoples Assembly discussion “The Future of Our NHS” centres around the 2020 Trade Bill, is extremely informative, and is linked here. Panelists are Jeremy Corbyn (Labour MP for Islington North), John Lister (Health Campaigns Together), Ellen Lees (We Own It) and Laura Pidcock (host)
> Watch the following news item featuring KONPNE member Dr Sarah Walpole: the youtube link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJqsb83bZ3g
> A direct link to the KONPNE video about the Trade Bill is on youtube here: https://youtu.be/lgKa7IShjeI (Accompanying music track Rumble is from www.bensound.com)
> HEAR STEPHEN FRY: Are Johnson and Trump trying to privatise the NHS? Which healthcare system is most likely to save you?
Killer facts are hidden by carefully constructed illusions…..click here
Background Information: The movement of the Bill through Parliament
HOUSE OF COMMONS: The Bill was introduced to Parliament in the First Reading on 19th March 2020, at which there was no debate. The Second Reading of the Trade Bill took place on 20th May 2020, and the Hansard record of discussions is here – see contribution of Margaret Greenwood at 4.49pm. So – the risks continue.
The Bill then went through the Committee Stage during w/c 15th and 22nd June; this Committee of 17 selected MPs (10 Conservative, 5 Labour, 2 SNP) scrutinised the Bill and debated a series of possible Amendments. The proposed Amendments included NC12, from the two SNP MP’s (Stewart Hosie MP and Drew Hendry MP), which aimed to ‘ensure that HMG has a duty to restrict market access to healthcare services, including medicines and medical devices. The proposed Amendment is here (see page 21, NC12). This would have achieved much in terms of protecting the NHS but, very disappointingly, the Amendment was voted down by the Committee: 10 votes against, 7 in favour. The record of the committee discussion and voting is here. The membership of this Committee is here .
The Bill thereafter went through the crucial Report Stage on Monday 20th July. Two possible Amendments were of note. One Amendment, tabled by Tory MP Jonathan Djanogly, would have enabled MPs to have more say over future trade deals (info about this specific Amendment is here); this Amendment was voted down, with 263 MPs in favour of it, and 326 against it. A further Amendment relating specifically to the NHS was tabled by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and supported by Labour, but this was also defeated – 251 votes in support of the Amendment and 340 against.
MPs voting against this Amendment, which would have safeguarded the NHS, included six North East MPs: Guy Opperman (Hexham), Ian Levy (Blyth), Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick), Dehenna Davison (Bishop Auckland), Richard Holden (NW Durham) and Paul Howell (Sedgefield). Your representatives in Parliament??
The Report Stage was followed by the Third Reading in the House. Read the Guardian article by Emily Thornberry here.
The Bill is now progressing through the House of Lords, where Amendments can be suggested, for presentation back to the Commons.
HOUSE OF LORDS: The First Reading in the Lords took place on 21 July. This stage was a formality which signalled the start of the Bill’s journey through the Lords. The Second Reading in the Lords entailed a general debate on aspects of the Bill – this took place on Tuesday 8th September 2020 and a number of peers from across the House spoke about the need to protect our NHS and ensure parliament is given scrutiny powers over future trade deals. The debate is recorded here. The Bill has now progressed to the Committee Stage in the Lords, where the contents of the Bill are given closer scrutiny – discussions at this Committee Stage commenced on 29th September. Amendments to this Bill can be suggested by the Lords, and these are now URGENTLY required to safeguard the NHS from privatisation threats.
This brings us up-to-date. It remains clear that, as long as NHS services are provided by private companies, our NHS is still on the table, no matter what the Government says.
You can keep track of the Parliamentary process and find more info on the progress of the Bill by clicking on the Parliament website here
General information from the Open University about how a Bill moves through Parliament is here
Background Information: Photo gallery
Alerting the North East
HALLOWEEN HORROR STORY AT THE MONUMENT, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, 24th October 2020
As part of the National Day of Action against the US Trade Deal, KONPNE dressed Halloween-style to get the point across…..
The Vampires are out – sucking the lifeblood from our NHS……
to see the KONPNE video – but be warned….this is a REAL horror story
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.
Also: click the link below to see the many images from all over the UK on the National Day of Action against the US Trade Deal….and spot the photos from KONP Sunderland and District, and KONP North East….