North Durham STP

North Durham CCG is in the Northumberland STP: see message below to access draft plan and to respond.

Message from:
Daniel Blagdon
Engagement Lead
NHS North Durham CCG
0191 389 8617, 07775 508 260

As you may already be aware, NHS North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working with other partners in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear to produce what is called a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP). This draft plan has been developed in response to NHS England’s Five Year Forward View (5YFV).

The draft version of the plan is now available on our website for you to see. On the website you will find a copy of the full technical version of the plan, a summary of the plan and some frequently asked questions. There is also an online opportunity for you to share your views on the draft plan.

What is the STP?

The Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and North Durham describes an approach to how the vision of the 5YFV could be delivered locally by 2021.It sets out proposals to:

§ Improve health inequalities

§ Ensure safe and sustainable local health and care services

§ Fill a funding gap that could be as large as £641m by 2021

What is happening now?

This is very much the start of a conversation regarding the future of local services. The publication of the draft STP starts an initial programme of engagement that runs until 20 January 2017 in order to raise awareness of the proposals and listen to any ideas or concerns about the detail of the draft plan.

The outcomes from this phase of engagement will help to shape the next version of the STP. Any subsequent proposals regarding major changes to NHS services will be subject to a programme of formal public engagement and consultation in the future.

How can I be involved?

If you can kindly share this information out through your contacts and networks to make people aware of the plan and what is happening that would be fantastic. There is an online survey that you and others can use to share comments and feedback on the draft plan, alternatively you can send comments back by post or email –

Details of opportunities to participate in discussions with the CCG about this directly will be published in the next couple of weeks. If you would like to discuss the possibility of us coming to you and your members at an existing forum then please do get in touch with me on the details below.

We look forward to hearing from you and having you involved.


Footprints March, 22-29 October

The Footprints March against cuts and closure of services.

On the night of the 25th October the marchers will be staying at Redhills. We will be providing food and drink for the marchers (see list on Stalls page) and more offers are welcome.

Relevant March stages:

  • Tuesday 25th October: Shotley Bridge Hospital to University Hospital of North Durham
  • Wednesday 26th October: University Hospital of North Durham to Hartlepool Hospital

Contact details for March:





“Don’t believe the myth that the NHS is unaffordable”

“Don’t believe the myth that the NHS is unaffordable” says Neena Modi in the Guardian on 9 February.

In her article she makes the following points:

“The complexity of our part-privatised service wastes billions. Why are we copying a failed US-style model?”

“The balance of evidence is that for-profit healthcare is poorer quality at greater cost.”

“Universal healthcare, free at the point of need and funded through general taxation, is cost-effective, increasingly justified by evidence, and morally right.”

“Don’t let our NHS fall apart”

“Professor Ahmet Fuat has put his head above the parapet by writing passionately about the fragmentation and commercialisation of the NHS he has served for three decades.” “When fire ripped through his doctors’ surgery in Darlington, the experience left Professor Ahmet Fuat, a GP in the town for 30 years, feeling angry about the state of the NHS.”

Northen Echo article and editorial

Prof Fuat’s article “Don’t let our NHS fall apart”

Editorial “Wake-up call for the NHS”

Meeting on 5th October

The next meeting of KONP Durham will be on Monday 5th October, 8pm at Antioch House (upstairs room), 66 Crossgate, Durham City, DH1 4PR. This will be our first meeting since the General Election.

Agenda for the meeting:

1. Welcome and Apolgies
2. Foundation Trust: problems, e.g. the deficit, reorganisation of services
3. University Hospital North Durham (aka Dryburn): problems, e.g. lack of A&E consultants
4. Way forward for KONP Durham
5. Date of next meeting

NHS privatisation soars 500% in the last year

Study of recent figures on NHS contracts being awared to private companires. By Paul Evans, director of the NHS Support Federation, which campaigns to protect the NHS from being undermined by commercialisation.

“We are often told the NHS only spends 6% on the private sector. But this figure actually relates to 2013/4 – and so it tells us very little about the impact of the Health & Social Care Act. The Act only came into force in April 2013, and the process of making the first round of decisions under it, typically took another year or more. So today’s evidence from 2014/5 is the first to begin measure the true impact of the new competition regime. And it is shocking. Over the last year private firms have won £3.5bn worth of new clinical contracts – an increase of 500% on the previous year, our research shows.”


Letter from Liberal Democrat Candidate

Dear Craig Martin,

As a voter in your constituency, I am writing to ask – if you were to be elected at the next general election – whether you would be willing to support inclusion of a Bill in the first Queen’s Speech after the election that would reverse 25 years of marketisation in the National Health Service, abolish the purchaser-provider split, establish Health Boards and other public bodies and fully restore the NHS in England as an accountable public service. I urge you to do so.

The key elements of such a Bill are set out in the cross-party National Health Service Bill presented in the House of Commons by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas on 11th March 2015 and supported by 11 other MPs from the Liberal Democrats, Labour, SNP and Plaid Cymru. The NHS Bill

Reply from Craig Martin
29 April

Thank you very much for getting in touch with me.

It is always a pleasure to hear from those passionate about making Durham and our country a better place.

If you would like to find out more about the Liberal Democrat’s stance on the issue you’re concerned with and many more, please follow the link below:

Hopefully we’ll get the chance to meet during the campaign.

Kind Regards
Craig Martin
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for City of Durham

Further reply 2nd May

Dear Carole,

This automated email gets sent out sometimes to those with genuine questions.

I do not believe the current Health and Social Care Act is perfect and I am concerned about the privatisation of the NHS. This is one of reasons why the Lib Dems wrote into this that any competition within the NHS cannot occur based on cost, only on patient care and outcomes.

We must appreciate the outstanding work everyone that works in NHS has done through this top-down, complicated reorganisation. I’m concerned about introducing any new legislation that would cause any major changes to the NHS. The staff of the NHS are very clear, they do not want any further reorganisation.

Craig Martin
Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for City of Durham


Letter from Labour Candidate

I copy below a letter from Roberta Blackman-Woods in response to a request from me to know what the Labour Party will do about the reinstatement of the NHS after the very damaging legislation passed by the Coalition, in particular the health and Social Care Act 2012. Carole Reeves

From Roberta Blackman-Woods
1st May 2015

Dear Carole,

Thank you for writing to me recently about the NHS.

I believe Britain needs an NHS that is true to the principles on which Nye Bevan founded it in 1948 – public provision, free at the point of need for all who need it, and accountable to them – and which is also capable of providing the best possible care for all throughout the 21st Century.

It is a huge challenge which certainly can’t be met by introducing more competition.

This Government’s Health and Social Care Act has removed the Secretary of State’s legal duty to provide a health service and created Monitor to remove “anti-competitive” practices in the NHS – together a charter for privatisation. The Act also wasted £3 billion, which could otherwise have been spent on patient care.

Over £70 million of public money has been spent on competition lawyers and related administration because of the Act. The biggest private deal in NHS history, worth £780 million, has recently been agreed by the Government and an even bigger deal, worth over £1.2 billion, is proposed in Staffordshire. NHS as well as private bodies have been invited to bid; but the Guardian has reported that the leaked tender document included requirements to minimise VAT payments. NHS bodies are exempt from VAT altogether.

I strongly welcome Labour’s manifesto pledges to repeal the Health and Social Care Act; to exempt the NHS from the TTIP trade agreement and other forms of commercial competition law; to invest an extra £2.5 billion a year in the NHS to provide 20,000 more GPs, 8,000 more nurses, 5,000 more home care workers, and 3,000 more midwives; and to begin the integration of health and social care services, reducing “bed-blocking” and ensuring dignified care for everyone who needs it.

Labour’s plan to integrate health and social care, and greatly raise the profile and quality of the latter, is the only way to safeguard the future of our NHS.

If Labour is elected in May we will have a difficult job to make sure our NHS remains a world-class service free to all at the point of delivery. But it must be done if, to paraphrase Nye Bevan, we are to continue to call ourselves a civilised society.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me on this important issue and please don’t hesitate to contact me again if I can be of any further assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Roberta Blackman-Woods
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for the City of Durham

Health Hustings Notes

KONP Durham held a ‘Health Hustings’ at Durham Town Hall on Tuesday 14th April from 6.30 to 8.00 pm.

Panel members

  • Chair: Nigel Speight, KONP Durham
  • Carole Reeves, KONP Durham
  • Roberta Blackman-Woods (Labour Candidate)
  • Rebecca Coulson (Conservative Candidate)
  • Jonathan Elmer (Green Candidate)
  • John Marshall (Independent Candidate)
  • Craig Martin (Liberal Democrat Candidate
  • Apologies were received from Liam Clark the UKIP Candidate

The attached notes comprise brief summaries of the questions asked and the candidates’ answers. Hustings Notes

NHS struggles to manage private contracts

“NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers” Independent news story covering Report by CHPI. ‘The Contracting NHS: Can the NHS Handle the Outsourcing of Clinical Services’

Extract from report, p.7
“The contracting NHS: key facts

  • 53,000 – estimated number of contracts held between the NHS and the private sector for healthcare in England, including for primary care services.
  • £22.6bn – total value of NHS contracts with the private sector, including primary care services.
  • 24% – percentage of NHS England’s total budget of £95bn which is spent in the private sector, including for primary care services.
  • £9.3bn – amount spent by CCGs on contracts with the private sector for NHS services in 2013-4.
  • 16% – per centage of the total Clinical Commissioning Group budget of £65bn which is now spent on the private sector.
  • 15,000 – estimated number of contracts between CCGs and the private sector.
  • 90 – average number of contracts with the private sector held by each CCG.
  • 25,000 – number of staff employed in CCGs, CSUs, and NHS Local Area Teams to commission, administer and enforce NHS contracts.
  • £1.3bn – combined budget of CCGs and NHS England Local Area Teams for commissioning, administering and enforcing NHS contracts.
  • £700m – amount spent by CCGS on CSUs to administer, monitor and enforce their contracts with NHS and private sector providers.”

“The Centre for Health and the Public Interest (CHPI) is a dynamic health and social care policy think-tank, which aims to promote evidence-based health policy in keeping with the founding principles of the NHS.” Website