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NHS Direct Petitions against Health Service Red Tape

Plans to safeguard NHS patients’ lives
Wed, 1 Apr, 2009- Health Direct reproduces the Telegraph’s plans to safeguard patients’ lives after labour’s NHS targets and red tape condemned thousands to early deaths.

Premium rate phone lines to book GPs appointments to be reviewed
Mon, Dec 22, 2008- A ban on the use, by GP surgeries and other parts of the NHS, of premium rate phone numbers which begin with 084 is being considered, say labour ministers.

Health Direct asks if you are happy for your private medical records to be open to all?
Mon, Nov 24,2008- Health Direct asks you to lobby parliament if you don’t want your medical details to be available to all. Please send labour a clear message about the use of patient information.

8 April 2008 Gordon Stalinist Brown received a petition asking:

“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to prevent the use of non-geograpic numbers by General Medical Practioners and out of hours doctor services.”

Details of Petition:

“General Medical Practioners are being persuaded, by telephone equipment suppliers and service providers, to change from the use of local 01 and 02 geographic numbers to a non-geographic 0844 number to book an appointment and 0870 numbers for calls from overseas countries. The patient has to remember a 11 or 12 digit number as againt a 5 or 6 digit local call number. These numbers are also revenue sharing numbers and generate an income for the doctors surgery and/or the telephone service provider and encourage the queing of calls to generate extra revenue. It is not possible to make a 0870 call from most overseas counties and therefore you or a hospital will not beable to contact your doctor for information. After hours doctor services are also using the 0870 number for incoming calls This practice penalises the poor, elderly and other persons who do not have access to a home phone and must rely on a public phone box and is additional un-neccessary burden and cost on illness.”

His feeble response?

Responsibility for provision of local health services now rests with local NHS organisations as they have the specific knowledge and expertise that makes them best placed to plan, develop and improve services according to the needs of the local population. The provision of telephone services for patients and the public is therefore a matter for the local NHS.

However, the message from the Department of Health has made it very clear to NHS organisations that patients should not be expected to pay more than the equivalent of a local call to contact their GPs.

NHS organisations have a duty to ensure that they provide the best possible service to their local populations. We expect Primary Care Trusts and GPs to ensure locally that telephone systems do not place a financial burden on patients.

From: http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page15215.asp

Health Direct feels that the PM’s response was an object lesson in buck passing. He makes the rules, so if he cared- it’s up to him to ban these stealth taxes on ill health.

There are three main petitions live at the moment. One is direct to Tony Bliar on his Downing Street website, the second is to the Health Minister asking her not to include your personal data on her new £12 billion computer– are you happy that 250,000 people will be able to access your personal health information? Thirdly join the Keep our NHS Public forum

Seeing as Tony Bliar has created an online forum for petitions at his Downing Street website, the Health Direct blog has created a petition:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Stop any more NHS hospital closures and health service cutbacks and to fully fund the NHS.

Having seen over 20,000 NHS jobs lost since February we the undersigned want the NHS to be fully funded with a moratorium on any further hospital closures until a sensible funding process can be agreed.

Your annual Payment by Results is an untested and flawed funding arrangement that contradicts the PFI 30 year financing system.

Equally why close hospital and key health services and yet call for more local services?

Please click here now to add your support for the NHS

The petition will continue until the May Regional Elections in 2007, but please sign up now!

The second petition we carried on our Nov 03 06 blog- Warning over privacy of 50m patient files in NHS IT project
Millions of personal medical records are to be uploaded regardless of patients’ wishes to a central national database from where information can be made available to police and security services, the Guardian has learned. Details of mental illnesses, abortions, pregnancy, HIV status, drug-taking, or alcoholism may also be included, and there are no laws to prevent DNA profiles being added. The uploading is planned under Whitehall’s bedevilled £12bn scheme to computerise the health service.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at Cambridge University, believes that patients do have legal rights over their medical records: “Write and insist that you are not put on the NHS data spine,” Prof Anderson says. “If enough people boycott having centralised NHS records, with a bit of luck the service will be abandoned.”

If you are concerned, you should discuss it with your GP. You can put a block on your own data by writing to:

The Secretary of State for Health
Richmond House
79 Whitehall Terrace
London SW1A 2NS

And send the same letter to your GP. It should say:

Dear Sir/ Madam

I require you not to begin processing my sensitive personal data to the proposed NHS Summary Care Record on the Spine. It is likely to cause me substantial unwarranted distress because:

1. No ‘sealed envelopes’ yet exist to limit access
2. No online patient system yet exists to correct errors
3. Data uploaded may include genetic, psychological or sexual information
4. It is intended to make my data available to social workers, researchers and commercial firms
5. My consent will not be asked before beginning processing
6. Adequate criminal penalties against abuse do not yet exist
7. Police and other agencies can gain access to a potentially unlimited range of information about me. There is abundant evidence that computer databases – including police, vehicle licensing and banking computers – are routinely penetrated by private investigators on behalf of clients, including media organisations
8. 250,000 smart cards have been issued granting access to the Spine
9. The department threatens to withhold appropriate medical care to objectors
10. Doctors say there is no necessity to design the Spine in this way

For these reasons, among others, I strongly fear that I am in danger of having false or damaging health information fall into the wrong hands. My privacy is being unnecessarily violated.

Yours sincerely

Health Direct suggests that you write NOW- before this disgraceful plan gathers momentum.

Join Keep Our NHS Public- What you can do:

Get your friends, work colleagues, trade union branch, pensioners group, community organisation or hospital campaign to join up, too, and make a donation to kick off a local campaign.
Set up a local meeting to bring together campaigners to defend your local services.
Set up a local branch of Keep Our NHS Public, or campaign alongside other community groups and campaigners under this banner. Your new group might want to adopt a constitution to set out your aims and procedures.
Get signatures on our petition, lobby local MPs, councillors and NHS organisations demanding a halt to cuts, privatisation and commercialisation of health care.
Build a public event – contact them for a list of possible speakers.
Help us build a movement big enough to force a change. See our campaign checklist for more information and ideas.

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