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Jun 12th, 2015

NHS Victory! People power in Staffordshire

By Rebecca Falcon

This is amazing news: people power has helped stop what could have been the biggest privatisation of cancer care in NHS history.

Together, 38 Degrees members and local campaigners in Staffordshire demanded that the NHS, not a private company, runs cancer services in the area.

Over 60,000 of us across the UK stood with the people of Staffordshire and signed a petition against the sell-off. We funded a powerful video – seen by over a million people – that showed the importance of keeping Staffordshire’s cancer care in public hands. All of this helped pile the pressure on local decision makers.

Local campaigners with the ‘Cancer – Not for Profit’ campaign really pulled out all the stops to keep their NHS safe. They held marches, public meetings, campaign stalls, and got TV and radio coverage.

It worked! Gail, from the local campaign says, “If it weren’t for our campaign, I’m convinced Staffordshire’s cancer contract would have gone to a private provider months ago. Thank you to all the 38 Degrees members who signed our petition and really helped add to the pressure.”

The campaign isn’t over in Staffordshire and the contract won’t be finalised until December, but this is a big step forward. It shows what can happen when we come together, locally, to protect our NHS.

A wholesale privatisation of cancer care in Staffordshire could have opened the floodgates nationwide. But now we’ve proved that when enough of us get involved, we can challenge plans to privatise local NHS services – and win.

We’ve got the best health service in the world. NHS doctors and nurses are there to care for all of us in our best and worst moments, regardless of how much we can pay. That’s an incredible thing! And it’s why we all need to fight, like the campaigners in Staffordshire, against politicians trying to cut costs or break up the hospital services that we all rely on.

What people have achieved in Staffordshire is a big deal for our NHS – it’s inspiring, and shows what we can do when we work together. So let’s pause, celebrate this amazing victory for cancer care, and keep it up.

If you’d like to chip in to support local NHS campaigns like the one in Staffordshire, please consider giving a few pounds a week. 38 Degrees is funded entirely by small donations – that means local campaigners can build huge petitions, get support for their campaigns, and stand up for our NHS. Please click here to chip in.

If you’re involved in a local fight for the NHS the staff team would love to support you. Please email us on emailtheteam@38degrees.org.uk and we’ll get in touch.

What can you do next?

Getting NHS providers into the winning bid, that could have been completely privatised, is a massive victory for campaigners. But the fight isn’t over. Three cancer care providers have grouped together to win the bid: two NHS trusts and one private provider. Now local campaigners are pushing to make sure the NHS trusts are leading this group.

Health Minister Ben Gummer had said that the group would be led by the NHS trusts, but the chair of the CCG groups says it’s not been decided yet.

It’s clear that people-power has had a big impact on their decisions so far. Can you send an email to Staffordshire’s CCG groups (the people in charge of deciding) to ask them to make sure an NHS trust is in charge?

Click here to email Staffordshire’s CCG groups now, there are tips on what to say and it’ll only take a couple of minutes.

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