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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

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Supported Living Services in Sheffield and Doncaster

Sheffield Council has issued a competitive tender for Supported Living services including the Learning Disability service which has been provided by the NHS for nearly 40 years (not over 50 as previously stated). They want to 'stimulate the local market' in order to find cheaper solutions which avoid costly external placements. This follows dramatic overspending in 2013-14 which led to the suspension of the Head of Learning Disability Services.

If the NHS fails to win renewal of its contract, Unison estimate the loss to local NHS revenue of around £6m. Instead the contract would go to an organisation like Care UK, with possibly similar results to those in Doncaster. At the moment it is not even clear whether TUPE would apply. The Council has delegated the contracting decision to officers and Sheffield Unison is (belatedly) running a campaign against it.

So what is happening in Doncaster where Care UK workers are on strike?


"The above Dispute concerns a Supported Living Contract where Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council are the client, but the NHS has run the service on their behalf for many years. Regrettably last year, prior to the new Labour Mayor being elected, DMBC let the contract to Care UK. Late last year Care UK announced that they wished to change the terms and conditions of those employees who transferred with this contract, in some cases the changes mean a cut of 50% to their take home pay, by ending weekend and night working enhancements and Bank and Public holiday enhancements. It is clear that the employer intends to de-skill and dumb down the skill base enjoyed by the current staff and replace them with minimum wage carers, thereby reducing the quality of the service provided. Indeed evidence of this has been obtained from the local job centre where a care worker for this contract was recently advertised on a pay rate of £6.73 per hour for a 40 hour week, with no additions or enhancements for evening or weekend working or for bank or public holiday working and also no pension provision.

"In response to this UNISON have tried to negotiate with Care UK who refuse to change their position. This led our 150 members in Doncaster to request a ballot for industrial action, where over 90% of those voting, voted for a combination of strike action and action short of strike action. Our members have already had a period of 7 days strike action, followed by action short of strike action in the form of withdrawal of goodwill, working to contract, non-use of company or personal cars on business, etc. Our members also undertook a further 7 day period of strike action, commencing on Wednesday, 19 March 2014.

"Up until the beginning March, the employer had refused to negotiate with us and despite an approach from us to use ACAS, they had indicated that they were willing to use ACAS but had advised that they had nothing to offer.

"This changed and discussions were held under the auspices of ACAS, unfortunately the employer was only prepared to increase the protection offer by a mere two months which was completely unsatisfactory and the talks broke down. In addition to this the employer has approached individuals participating in the action, as well as other employees currently not involved, and tried to get them to sign up to the new terms and conditions, indicating to them that if there are any improvements conceded they will honour them for any who sign up to the new terms. To say this has incensed our members is putting it mildly.

"Our members subsequently voted for further 3 day and 4 day periods of Strike action the first of which took place on the 6,7 and 8 April with a further 4 days commencing on the 18 April (Good Friday), 19 April, 20th April (Easter Sunday) and 21 April (Easter Monday).

"At the Strike Rally on the 18th April our members voted for a further 14 day period of strike action, subsequently through the auspices of ACAS, UNISON negotiators met with representatives of Care UK to try and reach a resolution to the dispute. Regrettably, Care UK were not prepared to negotiate they merely restated their position and said they were not prepared to make any concessions. In a letter sent after this meeting to local MP’s they made outrageous, misleading and inaccurate claims to have made concessions on their initial proposals and even went as far as to claim that ACAS supported their view. This has been categorically denied by ACAS and our lead negotiator has written to Care UK asking for an explanation of just what ‘concessions’ they think they have offered."

The Doncaster, District and Bassetlaw health branch has launched an appeal to help members who are taking action. Please make donations payable to Doncaster, District and Bassetlaw Health Branch 20511, and send them to the UNISON Office, Jenkinson House, White Rose Way, Doncaster DN4 5GJ. Send solidarity messages and requests for speakers to: Click here to download an updated collection sheet. Obviously there will be collections at the Saturday events.

For more info see here and here

Visit the strike Facebook page ‘Doncaster Supported Living Unison Strike’

Meanwhile in Bradford there is another problem involving Care UK and caused by competitive tendering.

1) Bradford: Private Provider muddle
1000 people have signed a petition started by a teenager to save the Eccleshill health centre in Bradford which offers NHS services but is run by Care UK under contract to Bradford CCG. The contract expires on July 7th. The contract was put out to tender and the CCG judged that no bid was acceptable including a renewal bid from Care UK. According to the local MP, LIb Dem David Ward, the CCG have stated that they are looking at all alternative options to ensure that the current services provided by the Treatment Centre continue to be provided for patients within the area.

This illustrates another ridiculous and dangerous side of the competitive tendering system. Unless the CCG is actually trying to cut the services we have a situation where the process is just going to leave a blank. It's not surprising that local people are upset but I imagine few of them are clear whether they are campaigning for the NHS or for Care UK. The CCG hasn't managed its communications well either, probably not helped by the commercial confidentiality around the procurement process. The CCG should be able to say clearly why the tenders were not acceptable - then people would know if it was something to do with Care UK - like what is happening in Doncaster.