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Keep Our NHS Public meeting in Merseyside

Keep Our NHS Public Merseyside | 06.09.2006 10:30 | Health | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements | Liverpool

7:30 pm Wednesday 13th September
Lydiate Parish Hall
286 Southport Road, Lydiate
(near the 'Scotch Piper')

Plans to provide GP services in Maghull through a
profit-making private company have been kept under wraps for
at least a year. Despite media speculation, the public do
not actually know for certain:

- which companies are bidding for the contract;
- their track record in the UK or elsewhere;
- the details of how provision will be regulated to ensure
standards and service levels are maintained;
- how the scheme will relate to existing NHS provision;
- what consequences the privatisation will have for other
GP's and the NHS as a whole;
- who took the initial decisions in South Sefton PCT and the
Department of Health to pilot GP privatisation in Maghull;
- whether any serious effort has been made to recruit new
GP's for Maghull through the normal NHS channels;
- why the privatisation scheme is being implemented at all.

On 13th September, South Sefton PCT holds its next Board
Meeting. In the evening, Keep Our NHS Public Merseyside
invites you to our public meeting with health professionals
who know the NHS inside out.

This is a big decision and you should have the right to know
and discuss the facts before making up your mind. Plenty of
health professionals including GPs think that privatising
Primary Care is a big mistake.

Dr. Elizabeth Barrett is a Derbyshire GP helping to lead the
community fightback against United Health, the US
transnational awarded a contract to take over a GP surgery
in Langwith. Local people have just won a Court of Appeal
judgement to re-start the process as they were never
properly consulted. Dr. Barrett's own bid for a community
based practice arising out of 20 years experience in the
area was bypassed in favour of United Health Europe. "No-one
in the area had ever heard of UHE. We were told that this
was a 'young British company'. It was, in fact, the largest
private health corporation in the US. There had been no
public discussion about the implications of this decision,
either locally or nationally."

Debbie Abrahams resigned as Chair of Rochdale PCT this
summer in opposition to the whole trend of Government
policy. "I have seen a steady stream of national policies
introduced - foundation trusts, choice, independent
treatment centres and now commisioning a patient-led NHS -
which threaten the values and future of a NHS that is
equitable and free at the point of need."

Dr. Alex Scott-Samuel lectures in public health at one of
Liverpool's universities. He says the Government has swapped
"Evidence based policy making" for "Policy based evidence
making" when taking strategic decisions on the NHS. Alex is
a founder member of the national and local Keep Our NHS Public
(KONP) campaigns. The British Medical Association voted to
support the aims and principles of KONP.

Marie Lloyd is chair of UNISON North-West Regional Health
Care committee, representing UNISON healthworkers throughout
the region, and employed at Southport & Ormskirk Hospitals.
All the health unions are strongly opposed to NHS
privatisation. One factor behind the Maghull scheme is the
new GP contract.

Prof Allyson Pollock and David Price of the Centre for
International Public Health Policy at the University of
Edinburgh, say the government is giving
commercial companies a free hand to run many GP and hospital
services while at the same time reducing doctors' freedom to
act in patients' interests. The new GP contract provides a
way of breaking up NHS primary care so that it can be taken
over by commercial companies, including large US
corporations that specialise in cutting costs by denying
patients care.

It's our NHS. Let's keep it that way.

Dr. Elizabeth Barrett GP (Langwith, Derbyshire)
Debbie Abrahams, ex-Chair, Rochdale PCT
Dr. Alex Scott-Samuel, University of Liverpool & KONP
Marie Lloyd (invited), Chair UNISON North-West Regional
Health Care Committee

Chair: Chris Tupman, Amicus Health & KONP
Supported by: Sefton TUC, Merseyside TUC

Keep Our NHS Public Merseyside