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The government's increasingly desperate attempts to defend their record on the NHS have become less and less credible over the last year. This is partly due to in
creasingly effective local and national campaigns and partly to the crisis in hospitals, primary care and social care has forced more and more of those involved to speak out against the damage being caused by austerity. But many of those who are being damaged have no voice. Poor people, disabled people and the chronically ill have fewer opportunities to make their case as their benefit and treatment rights become eroded. NHS staff are generally gagged in one way or another. Exit can be the only escape leaving the NHS still weaker and now less and less able to recruit staff from overseas.

Large national demonstrations and industrial action by junior doctors, nurses and others have made the strength of feeling around the country quite clear, to the extent that even the Conservatives have got worried enough to promise the outlines of a new financial deal this summer. But will it be too late? Certainly it will be insufficient to undo the damage inflicted since 2010. Meanwhile the stress on services which affect the need for healthcare becomes more and more acute. The unspupported costs of Social Care (which is subject to means tested charges) is driving local authorities to bankruptcy.

Another threat is the developing reorganisation into Integrated Care Systems (previously known as Accountable Care Systems) which threaten to become Accountable Care Organisations. In our local area the Integrated Care System covers Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster and Bassetlaw as well as Sheffield. (See posts below.) Increasing pressure from campaig
ners and within the Labour Party is deterring local councils to sign up to these in case they become vehicles for further cuts and privatisation.

Across South Yorkshire resistance is building to the threatened implications of the ICS for local services and South Yorkshire Save Our NHS have formed a political party to stand in the Sheffield City Region Mayoral election on May 3rd 2018. See also Barnsley Save Our NHS.

NHS21END_(Small)NOT KILLED OFF YET. Campaigning does work whether on the streets, in the press or, increasingly in the lawcourts. The government's high-handed tactics are being subjected to an increasing number of judicial reviews. At national level these have forced a public consultation on Accountable Care Organisations starting in May 2018.

Cartoons by Samantha Galbraith @sgalbraith47

For more national information see Health Campaigns Together and Keep Our NHS Public


April 14th 2018 11.45 Regional Demonstration to Save the NHS Leeds

April 25th
Soviet Healthcare via Targets: Are Governments Bringing it into the NHS? Roco 2pm or 7pm

April 28th Sheffield Demonstration against proposed closure of the Minor Injuries and Walk-in Centres (see main website for details)

June 27th The NHS is 70 - but what is its life expectancy? Festival of Debate / SSONHS panel discussion and social. Roco 7pm - 11 pm.

June 30th Health Campaigns Together march for the NHS in London See main wesbite for details.

SSONHS planning and information meetings are generally on the first Monday of the month, except for bank holidays. They are usually at 6pm at the United Reform Church. Chapel Walk/Norfolk St S1

To contact us email


In 2016 abnd 2017 we worked with Sheffield Festival of Debate and other colleagues to promote realistic discussion of the issues facing the NHS. On 4th May 2017 we had a lively meeting debating the future of hospitals and in 2016 we mounted an exhibition on NHS privatisation to coincide with a play, A DUTY OF CARE about Labour and the healthcare market. On 22nd November 2016 we held a panel-led debate on the future of the NHS with local NHS leaders, academics and campaigners. We also held a public meeting on 4th July 2016 to celebrate the NHS anniversary, discuss the STPs, the implications for privatisation in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire and the consequences of the EU referendum result.

In March 2016 we held a successful workshop Taking Back Our NHS

We supported the Junior Doctors throughout their action because we felt they were being unfairly treated and were being treated as the advance guard for Hunt's uncosted, unfunded and misconceived ambition for a 7 day NHS. (For one of our supporter's views at the beginning of the dispute see this column in the Sheffield Star

For our questions to 2017 General Election candidates and canvassers about the NHS see our
website campaign page

2016 8th-22nd November Exhibition on NHS privatisation How come we didn't know by London photographer Marion Macalpine
Theatre Delicatessen, The Moor

22nd November SSONHS Festival of Debate event
Why is the NHS Under so much pressure? How can we save it for future generations?
Speakers included Dr Tim Moorhead, Chair, Sheffield CCG, Kevan Taylor (Sheffield Health and Social Care Trust) and Professor Sarah Salway (University of Sheffield, Public Health) + local campaigners

Taking Back Our NHS SSONHS workshop

Saturday 12th March 2016, 10am - 2pm


Tuesday 22nd September, 7pm screening of Sell Off, attended by well over 100 people.

Campaigning for GP practices at risk of closure

2nd July Successful SSONHS public meeting addressed by Ray Tallis and speakers from Devonshire Green and Unison.

2nd May SSONHS stall in city centre from 11.30 Come and see us.

The 38 degrees ambulance will also be in Surrey Street at 12pm and conveying the 38 degrees petitions to local Hallam candidates at Wesley Hall in Crookes for 3pm.

25th April - March through Sheffield Hallam, with the People's NHS and 38 degrees

28th February 38 degrees petitioning around Sheffield

22nd November Leafleting in Sheffield City Centre from 12.00 pm in support of the NHS strikers. For A5 and A4 copies of the leaflet which has more information on it see the Campaigns Page at our website

24th November NHS picket lines from 7am to 11am. Rallies at the Hallamshire and Northern General (Herries Road) at 10 am.

We were proud to support the Jarrow to London march for the NHS, organised by Darlington Mums passing through Sheffield on August Bank Holiday Monday. Thanks to everyone for helping and joining in.

24th JULY 2014 Public Meeting jointly with Sheffield Medsin

Is our NHS really in crisis? Behind the headlines and soundbites
Panel discussion led by GPs and health experts from the NHS and universities.

For past activities see our website

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Health and Social Care Bill July - August 2011

The cost of the government's plans to restructure the NHS is rising at almost £1m a day -

The Bill finished its second committee stage before the recess, with the Coalition using its majority to get its amendments through.  It will return to the Commons on 6th September for report with a vote on 7th September and then be passed through to the Lords.

Meanwhile Andrew Lansley published the government's first response .
This document instructs PCTs to consult about "extending choice" for 8 services, of which each PCT is to choose 3.  This is to be done during September/October.  Details of this instruction are in the operational guidance -

The Bill is not a done deal and Evan Harris, a doctor and former Lib Dem MP who led the opposition at the Lib Dem Conference, says that despite concessions in the small print, the core privatisation principle remains.  Let's hope the Lib Dems can still be persuaded to vote against it - not to mention the Lords.  Pressure on MPs and peers must be maintained.  The Bill can still be defeated in the Commons if all the opposition MPs vote against it.

38 degrees now have funding to examine the legal issues in much more detail and will be reporting on this soon.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

NHS Sheffield responses to questions put at the 5th July Public Meeting

NHS Sheffield offers the public the opportunity to ask questions of the Board at its public meetings.  To celebrate the 63rd birthday of the NHS we posed three sets of questions particularly around what the NHS might look like in 2013 when it reaches 65.  The Chair of the PCT was anxious to assure us that they were working hard to ensure that they achieve the best handover possible.
The PCT meeting itself was a long one because of the care homes issue so we only got to ask verbally the first of our questions about the reforms - but we were assured we will get written answers to the questions about patient involvement and privatisation and we had brief but friendly conversations with some PCT directors before the private part of their meeting began.  
The question we did ask centered around what the local NHS structure might look like under the amended Bill (part of the question about additional costs will be answered separately as well). 
As had been said earlier in the meeting, the situation changes week by week if not day by day and David Nicholson, the head of the NHS, will be making a key speech on Friday.  Some of the national information plus a minor leak is at
We were told that the government does appear to have rowed back from its original intention to place the support organanisations for commissioning into a market.  The Guardian article above refers to quite a large NHS commissioning Board at national level, with, presumably, local outposts.  As of this week there will now be four Strategic Health Authorities (divisions not yet decided) plus, I think, London. To these will report a number of PCT clusters  but these will not necessarily by the same as the ones which have just been developed (ours is currently South Yorks + Bassetlaw).  The clusters will have clinical commissioning groups , one for each local authority area (to fit in with the new health and wellbeing boards) and GP consortia will be represented on these - along with the other reps added under the Bill amendments.  Associated somehow with these groups will be the specialised regional networks (like the cancer network) which Lansley originally wanted to abolish.  Also somehow associated will be the amendments' new construction of a 'clinical senate'.
Commissioning will be supported by a Community Support Services organisation with Community Support Units covering populations of around 1.5 - 2 million (? the size of a cluster?).  The government's original intention was to put this out to tender but it now seems possible that this will not happen and the new organisations seem likely to be formed out of existing staff (for my comment see below.)  
The 4 current consortia in Sheffield will work together and possibly move to forming one organisation but with a strong local service focus.  Although GPs will have the key involvement in commissioning, fewer of them will actually be involved directly than seemed likely under the original Bill.  More GPs in Sheffield are interested than there will be places, but others are getting put off as the bureaucratic implications become clearer. 
The issue of the transfer of public health to local government etc awaits further pronouncement later this month. 
The Bill's intention is that Clinical Commissioning Groups, once approved for competence by the National Commissioning Board, will be legal entities beginning from April 2013 when the PCTs will be abolished if the Bill becomes law.  The National Commissioning Board itself will be established as a Special Health Authority in October this year.  Clincial Commissioning groups will act as committees of the PCT Cluster Boards and operate as 'shadows' until they become legal.  The Chair of the PCT commented earlier in the meeting that 'there are many transitional arrangements and they are not 100% clean" i.e. clearly defined.
I will only make two comments:
1) What on earth has been the point?
2) The remarks about the move away from a market for support organisations may provide some reassurance, but the status of the organisations is unclear (Will they be NHS? How will staff be employed there? Will they have to wind up their jobs and re-apply to the new organisation?  Will they be TUPE'd.).  There still seems to be no absolute guarantee that private organisations will not be involved.