We are hoping to launch ‘Groundswell: The Grassroots Battle For The NHS And Democracy’ on the internet after Christmas. This will be the feature-length 78-minute version.
Meanwhile we have some more screenings and Q & As coming up in January and February. These events have attracted strong and positive reactions (see Reviews) and I’m happy to do more if requested by those prepared to arrange their organisation.
For screening bookings contact me via email: email@example.com
Facebook page: http://bit.ly/GroundswellNHSFilm
My updated 1-hour version of ‘GROUNDSWELL: THE GRASSROOTS BATTLE FOR THE NHS’ has been given a wildcard entry at the Byline Festival in Sussex next Monday 27th, 11.15am – 12.45pm inc Q & A. It’s one of 20 docs being screened.
The last-minute invitation came via media journos hangout The Frontline Club, partners in the Festival, which it describes as ‘four days of independent journalism, comedy, music, dance, workshops and free speech for anyone concerned.’ With John Cleese, Gary Lineker and Carole Cadwalldr, the brilliant journo who exposed the Cambridge Analytica scam, amongst its acts it sounds an interesting, eclectic and fun do: http://www.bylinefestival.com
Getting the ear of opinion formers to start taking on the mainstream media’s constant misrepresentation of the ‘NHS crisis’ is now a priority. The Frontline Club has decamped to the Festival for the weekend, so I’m looking to get some hacks’ interest there.
My precis of campaigners’ take on what’s happening to the NHS, the whys and the wherefores, can be found below in The True Story Behind The NHS Crisis.
There won’t just be one show, it seems, but two. I’ve somewhat suddenly found myself embroiled in a couple of NHS-related events which draw together much of what I’ve been working on over the last 3 1/2 years.
The first is an ‘NHS Myth-Busting’ do at Hammersmith Town Hall’s cavernous main Assembly Room – capacity over 1000 inc 750 seated – on Sunday July 1st, 2.00 – 5.00pm. Organised by our 38 Degrees Chelsea & Fulham Group it’s intended as an antidote to all the Government/NHS England guff about the NHS’ 70th Birthday.
The second event is a screening of ‘Groundswell’ at the Regent Street Cinema on Monday July 2nd at 6.30pm followed by a Q & A. Programme notes and bookings: https://www.regentstreetcinema.com/programme/groundswell-the-grassroots-battle-for-the-nhs/
I’ve been surprised and gratified by the very favourable responses the film has been getting from test screenings and private viewings.
The screening came about through the unlikeliest of circumstances. Checking into the Brompton Hospital two weeks ago for a small heart operation – to correct an electrical fault quaintly known as ‘atrial flutter’ – I fell into conversation about the film and the NHS with the receptionist Maria Moats-Boyer. She immediately wrote to her friend Shira MacLeod, the director of the Regent Street Cinema. The day after leaving hospital Shira booked the film! I should get admitted more often.
Here’s a shameless plug for the campaign to stop the Americanisation of the NHS. When I told my new-found relative and Blondie keyboard player Matt Katz-Bohen about this just before their Brighton gig last Wednesday night his baffled response was “They (the healthcare corporations) just want to make loads of money and kill everybody!” He was happy for me to publish this photo and his comment.
I’ve become closely involved with raising CrowdJustice crowdfunding for a legal action on the US-originated Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) now being introduced and contracted by NHS England. The action against Health Minister Jeremy Hunt is by a group of eminent campaigners led by Professor Allyson Pollock, co-author of the NHS Reinstatement Bill and a mainstay of the Save Our NHS campaign for over 25 years.
They are calling for a judicial review into the lack of the Parliamentary scrutiny and legislation required for the kind of radical restructuring of the NHS that the ACOs involve and also into the lack of proper public information and consultation on them.
Last Friday we raised the £23,000 needed for the legal fees in just 16 hours! What was touching was that the majority of the donations were in the £5 to £25 range, pointing to support from across the social spectrum including many with small means.
999 Call For The NHS are also pursuing a judicial review that challenges the legality of NHS England’s ACO contract which could threaten patient safety and access to comprehensive treatment. They successfully launched a CrowdJustice crowdfunding appeal for their legal action which similarly showed wide-ranging popular support, a testament to their very real ‘street’ origins. It’s a big step in the remarkable journey of this truly indie grassroots campaign group started by working mum Joanna Adams from her Darlington living room.
The twin forces of darkness – the Government and its self-confessedly pro-US Health Minister Jeremy Hunt and NHS England under its former US health insurance corporation senior exec Simon Stevens – now face a triple-barrelled challenge from campaigners (the Guardian ran a substantial piece on its potential impact). This represents a notable step-up in the NHS campaign, a matter of urgency as the contracting of ACOs by NHSE is under way (for an explanation of the NHS Americanisation/ACO threat see my August blog ‘American Pie’).
Apart from helping draft the CrowdJustice appeal my main contribution was to get the legendary Time Out graphic designer Pearce Marchbank to design a great badge logo. “If it needs words to explain it it’s not doing its job,” the maestro pronounced. “It should be like a road sign!” Might it become another of his iconic works? http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/sep/04/london-greatest-design-icons-regents-park-brick-lane-m25.
New assembly edit of GROUNDSWELL: WHOSE NHS? A GRASSROOTS JOURNEY now completed. Will Labour Really Save The NHS? Hopes rise during the September 24th-27th 2017 Labour Party conference in Brighton. With another General Election possible at any time the conference was a watershed moment under the newly invigorated Corbyn leadership, with an NHS motion described by its proposer Dr Alex Scott-Samuel as “the most important motion on the NHS since 1948”. Why could what happened prove a significant moment in Labour’s commitment to saving the NHS. And wonder yet again at why this went totally unreported in the media.
At one point in filming I found myself having to forsake my filmmaker’s duties to help promote the NHS Reinstatement Bill’s inclusion in the motion, using a leaflet I’d composed with 999’s Steve Carne. Having brought the leaflets down to Brighton I was the only available pair of hands on the day to distribute them amongst the voting delegates. With more hands subsequently we managed to get one to almost every voter. It was gratifying to know that they played a part in the outcome of the vote. Watch the viddie!
New assembly edit of GROUNDSWELL: WHOSE NHS? A GRASSROOTS JOURNEY – Turning Points? now completed. It covers the General Election and the recent Professor Stephen Hawking event. Both were boosts for campaigners but “Will the Labour Party see sense?” asks 999-er Steve (Carne).
Apparently the Guardian likes to keep their letter writers as occasional contributors and rarely allows follow-ups. So I was surprised to have another letter published last week again prompted by the Hawking v Hunt spat.
There were other strong letters from Professor Allyson Pollock and many medics on that page and an articulate demand to the Labour Party on another.
Professor Stephen Hawking’s recent coming out in The Guardian on the privatisation and Americanisation of the NHS has clearly touched the privatisers’ nerve judging by the speed and vitriol of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s response. That a figure of Hawking’s standing has publicly raised the ‘Americanisation’ question is a notable moment in the campaign to save the NHS.
A letter I wrote following my filming for GROUNDSWELL at Hawking’s Royal College of Medicine address last Saturday has been published today in The Guardian.