EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY

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.

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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.

>>> ARCHIVE

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