Camden Keep Our NHS Public

Manchester demo

Camden KONP supporters were among the tens of thousands who demonstrated against the government's attack on the NHS at the Tory party conference in Manchester on 29 September 2013

Camden KONP does not believe that hospitals, general practices or other parts of the NHS should be run by private companies. Our main aim is:

to work to keep the original principles of the National Health Service, with free treatment for all provided by the state

The NHS Health and Social Care Bill has become law, but the need for action against government attacks on the health service has not gone away. Opposition to spending cuts and the government's backdoor privatisation of major parts of the NHS will continue until the threat is abolished and the founding principle of state-run free health treatment for all is restored.


KONP backs 48 hour strikes by junior doctors

Keep Our NHS Public – like the vast majority of the public (almost 70 per cent in a recent poll) – is backing the junior doctors in their series of 48-hour strikes in protest at the government’s imposition of an “unsafe” contract.

We believe the junior doctors are right when they say the government is not telling the truth when it claims the dispute is about a seven-day NHS.

The government has misrepresented data and continues to lie about the seven-day NHS. A seven-day 24-hour emergency NHS already exists. But staffing levels are already at the brink. What we really need is more funding, more doctors, more nurses, more porters, lab staff and other healthcare professionals. 

We also believe the doctors are right when they say the safeguards built into this new contract are inadequate. There is a financial incentive for hospitals to overwork already tired doctors, as it is cheaper to do this and pay fines than hire extra staff to cover the large staffing gaps which are currently there in our hospitals. This is leading to burn out and doctors leaving the NHS. 
The government are not being truthful when they are saying doctors are getting a pay rise of 13.5 per cent. They are not. Most junior hospital doctors who do any out of hours on-calls will lose out between 10-20 per cent. Working more unsocial hours and getting a pay cut is demoralising – is that what the government wants?

 Already we see that staffing levels are getting dangerously low. The gaps in the rota for doctors and nurses are growing.  Doctors and nurses are being asked to do more and more every day because the government are not employing more staff. Frequently on a night shift a doctor is being asked to do the work of three doctors and also being asked to act as a more senior doctor. This is dangerous and puts our loved ones at risk.

 Striking junior doctors are defending a high quality NHS – an NHS run by well-supported staff who are able to give of their best when caring for you. The government will attack the jobs of other NHS staff next: underfunding core NHS services and privatising lucrative areas. 

The NHS is facing a crisis – but it is a crisis of the government’s own making, brought about by its stubborn refusal to adequately fund the NHS. The junior doctors are in the front line of the fight to properly fund the health service. That’s why we support them and why the public back them as well.



The government is pressing ahead with the "reforms" in the Health & Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA) which have thrown England’s NHS into a destructive and dangerous reorganisation now teetering on the verge of financial collapse. 

It has ended the universal right to healthcare, limited access to a number of services and abandoned the principle that health care should be free
for all who need it. More and more contracts are being given to private companies to squeeze profit out of services set up to look after people who are infirm or ill. And billions of pounds that could be spent improving frontline services are being wasted on costly legal and management fees involved in the process of bidding for these contracts, which have no place in a publicly run healthcare system and which the HSCA needlessly introduced.

These changes are happening gradually. Many of the private firms that have entered the health service "market" still use the NHS logo, so people are misled into thinking nothing has changed. That is partly why the public has been slow to realise the huge scale of the changes underway - that large parts of our health services are being broken up and that, if we don't act quickly, our much-valued NHS will be destroyed.

The NHS Reinstatement Bill, which gets a second reading in parliament on 
Friday 11 March, seeks to reverse the changes in the HSCA and enshrine in law the principles that the NHS should be free for all who need it and that services should be publicly run, rather being given to private companies so they can grab billions of taxpayers funding.

The bill is supported by 76 MPs including the Greens Caroline Lucas and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. It has the backing of Keep Our NHS Public.

Its second reading will be on Friday 11 March and there will be actions in support of the bill outside the Department of Health and parliament from 9.45am. See events.

Ask your trades union / party branch / pensioners group / WI branch / mumsnet / your friends and family to support the NHS Bill.  Visit   for a model motion.  


Nurses march on Downing Street

nurses march

Thousands of nurses and supporters on the march to Downing Street in protest at the government cut in student nurse bursaries. The Royal College of Nurses says there is already a crisis with 10,000 vacant nursing posts and withdrawing the bursaries will only add to understaffing, which has huge implications for patient safety

On 9 January 2015, thousands of nurses and supporters – including Keep Our NHS Public – converged on Downing Street to protest against the shabby government move to cut student bursaries for student nurses, midwives and dietitians.

Student nurses work full time hours unpaid for half their three years of training. They spend the remaining time on study assignments. They do not get student holidays. According to the Royal College of Nursing, their unpaid work saves the government more than their tuition fees. 

Eighty-five per cent already take on jobs to avoid debts alongside their unpaid NHS work. Taking away the NHS bursary will force many student nurses to work 70-hour weeks.


NHS protesters target Tories in Manchester

Thousands of NHS campaigners – including a big KONP contingent from London – converged on Manchester on Sunday 4 October for the protest at the Tory party conference.

Up to 100,000 people joined the march, called by the TUC to demonstrate against the government’s austerity policies and the attacks on union rights and the NHS.

The march had the backing of the People’s Assembly. Rights groups said cuts in benefits  have targeted the most vulnerable – including children, the elderly, the disabled, the sick and the mentally ill, as well as the unemployed and low paid – while the government has given millionaires a handout through tax cuts that will vastly increase their wealth.

NHS unions were angry that staff are being laid off or having to work longer hours for less pay. With rising costs, the government’s five-year freeze in NHS funding means further severe reductions will have to be made, which could see hospitals, A&Es and GPs surgeries  plunged into a deepening crisis this winter.

KONP campaigners argued that the crisis has been made worse by the forced marketisation of services, which has allowed private companies to grab billions of pounds of the taxpayer funded  NHS budget. The contracting out has taken more money away from frontline services and given it to business consultants, accountants and lawyers.

Two-thirds of hospitals are already facing deficits averaging 22 million. The overall NHS deficit is expected to reach 2 billion this year.

Thousands of junior doctors also joined the protest to signal their anger at the new contracts health secretary Jeremy Hunt is trying to force through. The doctors leaders say pay cuts and longer hours will result, and that patients could be put at risk if hours are lengthened further.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, in a speech to the rally at the end of the march showed the government was facing opposition. He said the protest was "sending a very clear message" to the government that a fightback was under way.



Britain Needs a Pay Rise march

Part of the Keep Our NHS Public contingent on the 100,000-strong Britain Needs A Pay Rise march in London on 18 October alongside tens of thousands of health service workers, including nurses and members of the midwives union angry at the government's NHS pay freeze who had been on strike earlier in the week for the first time in the union's history 


Say no to private companies running GPs out of hours service and 111 emergency phoneline 

Local doctors treat thousands of patients every day. But if you - or a family member gets ill at night or a the weekend, the GPs' surgeries are closed. If you call for medical help, you will be told to contact the out of hours (OOH) service.

This vital service covers those difficult times, outside normal weekday hours, when people are most in need of urgent medical advice - or a doctor's visit.

That's why it is important the way the service is run. Do we want local doctors, through their local partnerships, to run the OOH service? Or do we want it to be run by a big private company, cutting the service to increas profits?

Five boroughs - Camden, Islington, Haringey, Barnet and Enfield - have taken a decision to combine OOH with the 111 telephone helpline service throughout North Central London. They are putting the contract out to tender without asking the 1.4 million patients who will rely on the service what they think about the proposal.

Keep Our NHS Public groups in all five boroughs do not want the service to go to a private company. We do not hate private companies, only when they are used to exploit our health service is when we are against them. The are very useful for relieving stresses on the health service with such non-essential services as mri scans, ct scans and rhinoplasty surgery. We want local doctors - with their expert knowledge - to run the service.



A draft specification for the combined Out Of Hours (OOH) and 111 phoneline service in north London has just been published. Several organisations, including Camden KONP and 38 Degrees, have already condemned the size of the contract, estimated to be worth between 50 and 100 million. 

The service could be run by a federation of local doctors – as happens in some London boroughs – but a contract that big is likely to exclude local doctors groups and favour a big private company that would put profits before patients. 

Think about the type of service and doctor you would want to call in the middle of the night if someone, perhaps a child or grandparent, is ill and you need help in an emergency.

If you agree that local doctors groups should be allowed to run the service, there is still time to tell the five north London Clinical Commissioning Groups what you think. And, before it is too late, the same message needs to be delivered to the five borough councils Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committees and the combined five boroughs Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  Camden CCG

Camden health scrutiny committee



Delays over commissioning of the Out Of Hours (OOH) service in north London means that the private company Care UK, which operates the service in Camden and Islington, will keep running the service after its contract ends in March 2016.

Care UK will hold on to the service despite fresh criticism of the OOH service and urgent care centres it operates in north London after bad practices were revealed by an undercover reporter in a documentary aired on ITV in July. 

Care UK’s OOH contract in Camden and Islington was due to run out in March 2016.  But continuing delays in the procurement of a replacement to run the service means Care UK will now be given at least a six-month extension of its contract until October 2016.


Save Our Surgeries! 

Fears are growing that a number of local GPs practices are threatened with closure as a result of the government’s latest squeeze on funding. The Bedford Square practice has already closed, Belsize Priory will follow suit and King’s Cross will shut in November.

Camden health scrutiny committee has also raised concerns over the future of a number of practices including Gower Place, Somers Town, Brookfield Park and Rosslyn Hill. How many will be spared the axe or will leave patients in the lurch is uncertain.

KONP is concerned at government moves designed to force out independent GPs and that – even if surgeries are rescued – private companies such as Virgin and UnitedHealthcare are more likely to take them over. Camden health scrutiny committee



Health workers’ wages have fallen by between 12% and 15% since 2010 and this year in England 60% of staff will get no rise at all. This leaves many of those caring for patients on barely more than the minimum wage.

Contact your local NHS workers and trade union reps to offer your support. If you have trouble making contact let us know and we can pass your enquiry on to regional trade union contacts who can help.

UCH pay protest

Health workers protesting outside University College hospital in a day of action calling for fair pay for NHS staff and an end to the government's attack on workers' living standards


KONP/Health Emergency Newspaper

Health Emergency has teamed up with Keep Our NHS Public to publish a campaigning eight-page tabloid newspaper free to download. Printed copies available
More copies available on order for a low price that just covers printing & postage. Contact KONP or ring 07497 434630. Send local stories for next issue to Health Emergency.


ant-austerity march

Saturday 21 June 2014: Camden KONP joined the 50,000 anti-austerity marchers in a protest against government cuts in health and welfare. Doctors, midwives, nurses, radiographers and administrative staff were among the huge contingent of NHS supporters staging a protest outside the Department of Health in Whitehall before a rally in Parliament Square. Camden KONP chair Candy Udwin said: “Privatisation of services is threatening to undermine the NHS with more rationing of operations, longer waits to see your  doctor, massive delays for hospital treatment – and people having to pay charges. So if we want to save the NHS, we have to fight. We can’t let the government get away with destroying it. That was the message of our anti-austerity protest.”


A Labour inquiry has found that privatisation increases inequality, adding to calls for the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to be repealed. 


KONP supporters continue to campaign against profit-making private health care companies having any role in the future of a publicly funded NHS.


A EU/US treaty, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), currently being negotiated, will extend NHS marketisation - the sell-off of large parts of it to private companies - and make reversing the policy and restoring our NHS to public control extremely difficult.

The campaign against the TTIP is growing. Andy Burnham promised Labour would ensure an NHS opt out of TTIP and it has been raised as a major issue at the TUC.

KONP is asking for increased pressure to keep health and social services out of TTIP. Write to your MP and your Member of the European Parliament. And download the leaflet pdf/ttip.pdf

KONP is also suggesting that local groups consider a campaign to presuade their local authorities to declare the council a 'TTIP free zone'. There have already been resolutions to this effect passed by a number of authorities including Southampton, Oxford and Exeter city councils and Lancashire county council. 

Advice on how to plan a campaign and templates for a letter to sympathetic councillors and a motion to put to the council can be downloaded from the national KONP website.

NHS Reinstatement Bill

Peter Roderick and Allyson Pollock have launched consultation on a new Bill to reverse privatisation of the NHS which can be used as part of our campaign to reverse the Health and Social Care Act and to put the NHS centre stage in the pre-election period 


People's Inquiry warns NHS is heading for collapse

people's inquiry logoThe NHS in London is "cash-strapped", "fragmented" and "unravelling", according to the now published report of the People's Inquiry into the NHS, which lays the blame firmly on government cuts.

At the same time as it tightens its squeeze on funding, the government is also handing over more and more health service contracts to private companies that frequently lower standards to increase their profits. The combined effect will be more hospital closures and and a greater burden on overworked GPs and community services. 

Camden KONP submitted evidence to the inquiry. Read the full report and the key recommendations for fighting the government and ending the crisis 

Camden Clinical Commissioning Group governing body meetings 

Check on the workings of the body that commissions Camden health services, 1pm-4pm, Conference Room, St Pancras Hospital, 4 St Pancras Way, NW1 0PE. Papers here: >

For details of other Camden/London KONP meetings and activities, see Events

'Proud of the NHS' pin badge

A small pin to wear with pride whether you work for or use our NHS
1 pin 2.50 or 10 pins for 15 (including p+p)

Useful campaigning information

Latest resouces on the Open Democracy site


History of Camden KONP

Camden KONP was founded to oppose the takeover of the Camden Road surgery by UnitedHealth in 2008 - one of the first interventions by a major private health company in the UK. (See photos from a 2009 demonstration . 

In 2011, UnitedHealth passed the surgery on to The Practice plc. A year later, the Primary Care Trust/NHS North Central London announced with only a few weeks' notice that the lease of the premises could not be renewed and the surgery would close on 13 April 2012, leaving thousands of patients without a GP. 

(For a brief history of Camden KONP see Background story)

Camden KONP submissions to Camden council's health scrutiny committee can be viewed on the council website

Camden KONP is affiliated to the national campaign Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) ( KONP has a Facebook site: 


Media coverage


Background story

Support Camden KONP