Next FHCPT meeting 26 September; Health Bill crunch time

SaveFHC took a hiatus this summer, long needed after the almost constant campaigning of the last three years. Not entirely inactive, however – Finsbury Health Centre Preservation Trust is now a company limited by guarantee, and we are waiting for the paperwork to attain charitable status. The next FHCPT meeting will be on Monday, 26 September, 7.30pm at St Clements Church, Kings Square, EC1. Please note this is a change from the date given earlier this month.

Tomorrow (31 August) is the last day for the Wellcome Trust’s excellent exhibition ‘Dirt’ which features two original Cullen cartoons explaining the design of Finsbury Health Centre.

Health Bill crunch time

The third reading of Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill is scheduled next week for the 6 & 7 of September, after which (if approved) the bill will go to the House of Lords. Not much in the bill has changed in the wake of the government’s ‘Listening Exercise’ earlier this year, and many bodies of health professionals are still calling for the bill to be scrapped. See Keep Our NHS Public’s website for updates and links to more information about the bill and action against it.

There will be events across the country on 3 & 4 September as part of the Big NHS Weekend –  details here. In addition The NHS Support Federation has put up a site for emailing MPs and councillors easily here. The TUC has started an online vigil to coincide with an actual vigil at Parliament starting at 9am Wed 7 Sept. A march is planned to leave from St Thomas’s Wed 6.30 to which will join the vigil at Parliament. GPs have also organised their own petition against the bill here. Earlier this month Dr Wendy Savage of Keep Our NHS Public had this letter published in the Guardian. If you need even more reasons why the bill is such a bad thing the campaign group 38 Degrees has just published this advice from their legal experts who have examined the bill in detail – it also provides a facility to write directly to your MP about it.

If, as seems likely, the bill passes the Commons this week, it goes to the House of Lords. The TUC also has started an ‘Adopt a Peer’ webpage to lobby them against the bill. Privatisation has caused enough disruption to the NHS already, the further encrochment provided for in this bill will destroy it altogether.

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