WE ARE Tower Hamlets Keep Our NHS Public
- campaign for local services, freely accessed by all – and against NHS migrant charges
- support local health workers
- monitor the NHS locally and nationally
- oppose the re-organisation, privatisation, marketisation and financialisation of the NHS
- share information through leafleting, public meetings, talks, demos, press releases and social media
- challenge local health commissioners, and
- lobby/brief MPs & councillors.
We are affiliated to Keep Our NHS Public nationally. We work with four other NHS campaign groups as part of NE London Save Our NHS (NELSON).
Go to our Twitter and Facebook feeds for real-time information on our activities and views.
18 March 2022
Tell NE London Clinical Commissioning Group:
Don’t sell our NHS GP surgeries!
In March, after weeks of talking to patients, mainly outside primary schools, we handed over 237 signed petition/leaflets calling on NHS commissioners to let local GPs keep their contracts.
St Andrew’s, St Paul’s Way and the Barkantine are currently run by groups of local GPs. But they could soon be outbid by profit-seeking private companies.
Last year, we lost four surgeries in Shadwell to the UK subsidiary of an American health giant. Patients were clear: we can’t let that happen again.
Our message to commissioners:
Let local GPs keep these contracts! They know the area and their patients. They run the practices for patients – not profits for shareholders. The practices are well run, with ‘Outstanding’ and ‘Good’ CQC ratings. The middle of a pandemic is a bad time to make big changes – even if some of the current staff choose to stay.
We expect to hear the decision on these surgeries in the summer.
21 November 2021
Thank you to Tower Hamlets GPs
On 19 November, 12 members of Tower Hamlets Keep Our NHS Public, in four groups, walked or cycled a total of 17 miles around the borough to thank the teams running NHS GP surgeries.
We went to every GP surgery to hand over special ‘thank you’ posters in English and Bengali, featuring selfies from patients.
Eight councillors took part on the day and we got full support from MPs Rushanara Ali and Apsana Begum, as well as our GLA member Unmesh Desai.
We wanted our GP teams to know that in the current crisis for general practice, we back their calls for more doctors and nurses, more practice staff, and the funding and supplies they need. We will not stand by and let this Government and the mainstream media blame loyal GPs for Government failings.
20 May 2021
Judicial Review will challenge Operose Health takeover of GP surgeries
Help us to stop the takeover of GP Surgeries by a UK subsidiary of the giant American health insurance business, the Centene Corporation.
Islington patient and local councillor, Anjna Khurana, is taking North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group to court, to prove they acted unlawfully in making their decision to allow Operose Health to take over existing NHS GP contracts. She is asking for the decision to be quashed.
A decision in her favour will also affect similar decisions taken in NE London.
Back Anjna and back the campaign to reverse the Operose decision by helping us to crowdfund this Judicial Review.
People’s Covid Inquiry
We can’t wait for Johnson’s Government to hold an inquiry into the handling of the pandemic. Called by Keep Our NHS Public, The People’s Covid Inquiry has brought in expert witnesses, frontline workers, NHS staff and members of the public, to give evidence to a prestigious panel, in eight online sessions. These have been devastating so far. View the sessions online.
22 April 2021
Patients protest takeover of four Tower Hamlets GP surgeries by US Health insurance giant
Tower Hamlets patients and health campaigners joined forces today, to protest against the corporate takeover of four GP surgeries in the borough by Operose Health – a UK subsidiary of US health insurance giant the Centene Corporation.
Protestors leafleted and talked to passers-by in English and Bengali outside the Idea Store in Watney Market from 3pm, before making their way to the East One Health practice in nearby Deancross Street.
Similar protests took place in Brent, Haringey, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Southwark, Newham, Lewisham, Leeds and Nottingham. Meanwhile, a simultaneous national protest was held outside the headquarters of Operose Health at 77 New Cavendish Street, W1 6XB. It was addressed by Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, and Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse.
24 February 2021
13 NE London GP surgeries taken over by US health giant
Thirteen NE London GP surgeries, including the four Whitechapel Health and East One sites, have been taken over by Operose Health – a UK subsidiary of the US health insurance giant, the Centene Corporation.
In all, Operose have taken over 49 sites (under 37 contracts) across London and SE England – which will affect 390k patients.
Added to the 21 surgeries they already own around the country, this almost certainly leaves the Centene Corporation as the biggest provider of GP services in the English NHS.
Watch our video, first broadcast on Jenny Fisher’s Tuesday Show on 23 February to view the breathtaking story of how this was allowed to happen.
16 February 2021
Post Covid: Where’s the NHS heading?
NE London Save our NHS (NELSON) umbrella group held a teach-in for 40+ local health campaign activists on the new Integrated Care Systems that are being rolled out across the NHS.
Find out what ICSs are, how they will work and why they inevitably mean more privatisation, an assault on the jobs and working conditions of NHS staff, and less local accountability.
13 January 2021
Covid crisis – how the NHS in Tower Hamlets is coping
Our report on what’s happening at the Royal London Hospital & how local GPs are leading the local vaccination effort featured on Jenny Fisher’s Tuesday Show on 12 January (see from 37 mins).
(Jenny is the Editor of East London News and her VodTalks air live at 10pm on Tuesdays.)
We strongly support the campaign to make sure the new Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone genuinely meets community needs. It’s clear that decisions taken now will have a knock-on effect on hospitals and services across the whole of NE London.
The rebuild is long overdue and we welcome the commitment Barts Health NHS Trust has made to complete the new hospital by 2026. With architects appointed and work beginning to prepare the site – formerly a nurses’ home – the plans are really taking shape.
But at this critical stage, we are deeply worried about some of the emerging details.
- Despite the area’s growing and ageing population, the plans include slashing 51 beds – on the assumption (no evidence provided) that cash-starved community services will take up the slack.
- The Government has promised just £400m towards the costs – so the rebuild depends on selling off a large chunk of NHS land at the site to private developers for housing. Whipps Cross would struggle to expand to meet future needs, while staff already struggle to find affordable homes in the area.
- Barts is proposing the new hospital could be a Centre of Excellence for the care of frail and older people – but we need to be clear what that means in practice.
The campaign is calling for:
- more beds, not a cut of 51
- guarantees there will be a 24/7 blue-light A&E and all the facilities to support this
- more Government funding
- a truly sustainable hospital and site for patients, staff and our planet
- key worker housing that really is affordable, and
- community involvement in the whole process – the Redevelopment Board must be open to the public, with no decisions taken behind closed doors.
Post-Brexit trade deals: a real threat to the NHS
TH KONP members are playing a key role in the campaign to hold the government to account over post-Brexit trade deals.
The government has said the NHS won’t be included in its post-Brexit trade deals. However, it refuses to introduce legislation to protect the NHS.
Fears for the NHS include the possibility that:
- the UK will agree to substantial drug price rises, to meet the demands of the big US-based drug companies. This would make the NHS unsustainable;
- trade deals will protect overseas investors by allowing corporations to sue the UK government if its policies affect their profits. This would make privatisation of NHS services almost impossible to reverse;
- the UK will be pressurised to weaken regulations for data privacy, while making NHS data available to off-shore, multinational companies; and
- standards for food, chemicals, toiletries, animal welfare, drug testing and agricultural practices will be lowered in line with those of countries like the USA, with serious consequences for public health.
Unlike elsewhere, the UK Parliament is being largely kept in the dark about trade talks, with limited opportunities to scrutinise or debate what’s being negotiated, and no way of definitively vetoing a bad deal.
Tower Hamlets KONP members have joined campaigns by national KONP and groups like We Own it, Trade Justice Movement and Global Justice now. Our recent actions have included:
- lobbying MPs and members of the House of Lords to support amendments that aim to protect the NHS from trade deals and increase Parliamentary scrutiny;
- submitting evidence to parliamentary committees on risks to the NHS, especially from the UK-US trade deal;
- researching what US digital trade rules mean for the NHS.
Tell Barts Health, migrant charges are racist too
The Board of Barts Health NHS Trust discussed two important reports in July 2020. One confronted racism. One ignored racism. We are calling on Barts Health to stop ignoring the elephant in the room. Migrant charges in the NHS are racist too.
Confronting racism: We welcome the Barts Health report: Co-creating a truly inclusive organisation (published in July 2020). We want Barts Health to succeed in unpicking racism in our local NHS and to use its influence for the good in the wider community.
But Barts Health can’t and won’t succeed, if at the same time it ignores the racism behind charging migrants for healthcare.
Ignoring racism: The Trust’s Overseas Visitors Annual Report for 2019-20 focuses on the revenue generated by 977 patients who were denied free in-patient care in our hospitals. The racist hostile environment policies introduced by recent governments mean that people who live in NE London are now charged as ‘visitors’ if they can’t produce the right papers to prove their official status in the UK.
We call on Barts Health to start reporting the effects its charging policies are having on our ethnic minority communities. It must include this issue in its work around racism.
Test-isolate-care-trace: An emergency call to councils
As the pandemic took hold, we called on the NE London boroughs to set up local test and trace systems.
We could see that testing run by Deloitte, alongside contact tracing organised by Serco could only fail catastrophically. This is exactly what has happened in the months since.
We ran a petition and lobbied to put pressure on our councils to stand up for our communities by insisting on using their existing pandemic plans and public health resources to take a lead on test and trace.
With Government policy changing by the hour, some of our councils are beginning to work with primary care and the community to bring key elements of test and trace back where it belongs – in our local neighbourhoods.