Support the NHS challenge Hunt in judicial review

Hurrah. A group of NHS staff and patients announced today that they have instructed Bindman’s LLP solicitors to investigate judicial review proceedings.  Excellent news. So what is it all about and how can we the public help?

What is a judicial review?
It is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. So in this case the Health Secretary would have to provide evidence to justify the decisions he has taken and show that they are reasonable, viable and legal. Through this process, the group will uncover whether the government has considered the full implications of the dangers of this contract imposition, and whether the decision was legally made. I think we all know the answer to that one but unfortunately we have to go through the process to get it. 55,000 NHS staff wrong or a few MPs? Hmmmm.

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The review
This will be a far-reaching judicial review centering on the detrimental impact of the proposed new contract on patient safety and stability of the NHS. While the BMA has already announced a legal action last week on grounds that the Health Secretary has failed to carry out an Equality Impact Assessment, the group of NHS staff and patients’ challenge is significantly broader in scope, examining many other aspects of the decision to impose a contract on junior doctors with issues of patient safety at its heart.

Dr Ben White said “Forget the lies and propaganda. The imposition of the junior doctors’ contract affects all NHS service users. Staff know that the lack of workforce planning, lack of cost modelling, plus rota and staffing issues, create a perfect storm where patient safety will inevitably be compromised. We must challenge this contract in the High Court. A judicial review would consider all relevant factors and hold the government accountable for decisions it has made. Ultimately, this is about public safety.”

The truth and lies behind the junior doctors’ strike
Dr Jacky Davis wrote a guest post a couple of weeks ago and in it describes the facts about the change in contracts and provides the information you need to know if you are in any doubt that what Hunt is imposing is safe for you and your family.

Dr Francesca Silman said “It is clear the government has not considered the implications of their plans- financially, practically or in terms of impact on patient safety. In a recent Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee review, it was suggested that the senior department of health chief, Charlie Massey, was ‘flying blind’ on this issue.  We cannot tolerate politics placed before patient welfare.”

In the same Public Accounts Committee review, David Mowat, MP, said “I am surprised that you can put this [7 day NHS] policy in place without having some idea of the implication for staffing levels at the headcount planning level … or, indeed, for cost and budget.”

Why is this review important?
Dr Phil Hammond, Vice-President of the Patient’s Association said “No one can say whether the new contract will be better or worse for patients than the existing one. Medicine is littered with examples where expert and political opinion has trumped proper scientific evaluation, at huge cost to patients. Please support this judicial review” He has already said “Test the science”, Hunt’s way and the doctor’s proposal, in different hospitals and see what works and he said a lot more sense too:

What can we do to help right now?
The group, backed by prominent medical staff and patient safety advocates are crowd funding through Crowd Justice. At the point of writing this the initial £25,000 needed to start investigation proceedings had been raised. It is unknown just how much needs to be raised in total as it will depend on how strongly the issues are disputed, whether other parties decide to support the challenges, how lengthy and complex the research will be, how many hearings will be needed and how long the final hearing is.

So please contribute to the fund. The page and more information can be found here: Crowd Justice donation page: Crowdjustice.

What else can we do to help?
If you want to help then there ARE things you can do and some of them will only take a few seconds of your time and all will help raise the profile of all the issues.

  1. Please read about what is happening to the NHS and its staff  and think about joining a campaign or a local patients group.
  2. Practical action could also include writing to your MP and to national and local papers to support the juniors, turning up at the picket lines on days of action
  3. The continued use of social media to dispel the lies put out by the government
  4. Share this post with friends and family
  5. Join the campaign – Keep Our NHS public
  6. Read up on the privatisation of the NHS at NHS for sale
  7. Follow and rt @keepnhspublic
  8. Sign the petition Consider a vote of No Confidence in Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary
  9. Sign the petition Jeremy Hunt to resume meaningful contract negotiations with the BMA
  10. Sign the petition Labour Party and TUC – call a national demonstration to support the junior doctors!
  11. Sign the letter asking asks David Cameron to show the BMA his plan for extended seven-day services here.
  12. Join the thunderclap here takes place 6.30pm 14th March 2016

Together we can save our NHS, please help. If you want the NHS to fight for you and your loved one’s health in the future you have to fight for it now, because otherwise it may not be there just when you need it.

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7 Questions you should ask yourself if you don’t complain!

It’s National Consumer week. A good time to ask “Why Complain?”

Because it’s fun! Well it can be. Nothing the British like more than a good complain. Or is it a moan? Well there’s the difference I feel. Complaining effectively gets results and it is about consumer rights. Your rights as a consumer.

I don’t waste time looking for things to complain about. I don’t waste time complaining about trivial things (oh ok sometimes just for a laugh but rarely) and I don’t make up complaints. So don’t accuse me of doing so.  I am effective complainer what type of complainer are you?

So, to those of you who accuse the complainers of wasting their life, making things up and only after freebies I ask you these questions.

1) If you have a bad meal do you just accept it?

You do? FOOL. You legally don’t have to accept it. Rather than causing a scene or complaining in writing later you think just putting it down to bad luck makes you better than the complainer? Really? I complain – I get a voucher and I go back. Win win situation for restaurant and me. Your way, you don’t go back, lose lose or is that just “LOSER”?!

2) If you buy something faulty do you keep it?

WHY?! Do you take it back and get a replacement when you don’t trust the product any more and you’d like to buy a different one but you accept it because you don’t want to assert your legal rights or perhaps you don’t know them? I buy something faulty I get my money back, buy what I want and get redress on top if I have been inconvenienced in anyway or if anything else has been damaged in the process of using the item. How is that wasting my time or not having a life? I’ve improved it. You are stuck with something you don’t want.

3) You say you don’t have time to complain?

No, I don’t really, but that’s why I claim for my time. Simples.

Only once have I ever thought I would rather not have had to complain. I let out my flat and about 3 years ago a washing machine leaked in the flat above. Twice! My tenant was basically without a usable kitchen for 18 months. I was lucky he didn’t leave. AVIVA staff were appalling as were the contractors to do the work. The printed off email correspondence was over an inch thick. I think I’d still be getting the work done now if I hadn’t had to complain nearly every day. I did get about £800 and I have no idea what that works out as an hourly rate, but even I would rather have just had good service!

Still want to insult the complainers? Need more convincing?

4) Don’t you want to improve things for other people? Are you selfish?

Many of my complaints have resulted in companies changing policies, the way they do things, retraining staff etc. That improves service to all. I am undertaking a public service I feel! Look at what Chris has achieved through his dreadful experience. Three years on and at last Scottish Provident is making changes. He continued his complaining even after eventually receiving redress. If you use life cover in the future with any company, you look at that article and thank him!

There are more examples of how complaining and spreading the word helps too!

5) Are you a man/woman of principle?

Look at my taking Tesco to court. Now, some people think it was a poor return for the money. It was the principle of the thing!! They took my money! In fact the legal process was very quick, it was trying to sort it before that took the time! I’ve had lots of people say they had problems with the Tesco vouchers and they just let it go. Hopefully now, after raising the profile of consumer power people will come to me if it happens again this Christmas. Then, I’ll put the case together and they can all go as one case, time saved, money back. I wonder just how many people lost money last year and didn’t complain? Do you think that’s right? It’s okay for a large company to make money from people who can’t won’t complain? I flipping well don’t and you can call me all the names under the sun, I think I was right to do what I did.

Then there’s the hobby…

6) Can you enjoy it?

When I’m doing the actual complaining I’m frequently quite annoyed (hence as in my tips I rarely doing it in person) but I know I’ll get redress, often it’s of interest guesstimating how much I will get and whether I will be complaining again about their reply. So, call it a hobby, just like writing up my complaints on here is,(which incidentally is sharing experience and advice so helps people!) like any blog writer. So, a hobby. Do you have a hobby? My hobby takes up a little time and costs me no money. I don’t do sport, it avoids sporting injuries. But I don’t have a go at people for their hobbies so don’t have a go at me for mine I say!

Still think I’m the fool for complaining?

7) Would you want people to have poor care?

My father was in hospital for 6 weeks just over two years ago before he died. The treatment he received was appalling. I didn’t want any family to go through what we did or any patient to endure what he did. At times like that people don’t want to complain. That is understandable and I get that, but I wanted to change things for other people. This wasn’t about asserting legal rights, getting money or anything like that. It was about making change happen. I wrote 8 pages of 48 bullet points about his care and a 2 page letter to go with the log. I received back a 7 page letter. This is copied from the letter they sent:

“In conclusion the following will or has been addressed:
Share the complaint with the ward
Review how pain control is managed including training
Review documentation
Arrange training on oral care
Ensure staff know the procedure on escalation if patient dependency is higher than staffing levels can manage
The requirement to inform relatives if a patient falls
Ensure staff work with patients/relatives to complete adult  assessment forms
Improve communication on the ward”

Often people say all they want is an apology. That is very true and we got a lot of sincere apologies in that letter too.

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So, complainers don’t have a life? Are sad? Have too much time on their hands? You remember that when you have your bad meal, had to fork out for a bad service, are stuck with a faulty item and you are out of pocket for something. You remember that when you are able to get a decent life cover policy. You remember that when your Tesco vouchers work this year. You remember that when you have an elderly relative in a hospital in Somerset where the care was good. Perhaps it was because someone took the time to tell the powers that be of problems that they didn’t know about so they could put them right.

So, who still thinks they are better for not complaining? Would love to hear your reasons for not doing any of the above that I and people like me have done. I love a good argument. Provide a good argument for not complaining in the way I do and I’ll publish it. (But don’t think I won’t argue with you!) Alternatively, join in sharing your successes, that’s what I like to see!

Top 20 Tips for Complaining Effectively

 

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

Need help? GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow BBC Breakfast TV Discusses How We Complain in the UK

Top five tips to getting your money back after poor customer service | ITV News