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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

Saturday, 14 December 2013

What's going on in the NHS?

It’s quite difficult for people to get a grip on what is happening in the NHS at the moment. Even the trade unions seem to have gone quiet despite the success of the march on 29th September. At national level the government is slowly realising some of the consequences of the distortions it has created through the Health and Social Care Act and looks like being caught in a trap as the NHS tries to move forward (e.g. by introducing more service availability at weekends etc) but finds itself tangled up in competition law and continuing financial and resource issues. The Conservatives are probably not too displeased at the drip drip exposure of actual or alleged poor practice in parts of the NHS since it softens services up for tendering out once the time is right. This process will be eased by new measures being slipped through such as making it easier for administrators of failing hospitals to insist on changes in neighbouring services (Clause 118 of the Care Bill to be debated in the Commons on Monday 16th Dec), and the looming negotiation on the EU/USA free trade pact. However privatisation is itself in trouble. Serco is abandoning contracts for GP services in Cornwall and hospital services in Braintree and admits that its operations in Suffolk are not producing the profits it had hoped for. Serco now says these services are no longer core to its healthcare strategy. So once again the promises of the private sector have no more value than tinsel. When problems start they just walk away, leaving the public sector and the taxpayer to clear up the mess. Desperate for the NHS not to be too much of an election issue, the Coalition is applying financial sticking plaster over issues such as winter pressures. Meanwhile the rising profile of patient safety has forced some government induced practices (including trying to save money by reducing nursing staff) into reverse. At local level things appear on the surface to be on fairly even keel in Sheffield, though there are major threats to the current configuration of services in Rotherham. There is concern across South Yorkshire that there may be quite a lot of outsourcing going on for smaller services which only people working in the NHS may realise is happening. Also, as hospitals come under pressure to increase the ratio of qualified nursing staff on wards, they may try and compensate by substituting qualified staff in community services by different types of health ‘assistant’ with lower level training. There is real concern about the quality of service such assistants may be able to deliver, not least because their knowledge may not be wide enough to deal with the different issues they may face. Late December and early January will see a series of national and local policy announcements which are likely to spark off further campaigning. The principles for calculating CCG financial allocations from 2015 are expected to be agreed at the NHS England Board meeting next Tuesday, when we will know if the age of local populations will be used as the main weighting for allocation adjustments, rather than measures of deprivation. This will lead to major cuts, especially in the north of England. Sheffield Health and Wellbeing Board have made what they say are vigorous representations and briefed MPs for recent publicity. Allocations for 2014-15 will probably be announced just before Christmas. In January the CCG will consider the future commissioning of musculoskeletal care. Meanwhile local partnership organisations are concentrating on finding ways to improve primary care.