Southwark KONP Lift Off!

The founding meeting of Southwark Keep Our NHS Public took place on 27th February 2019. It was attended c. 25 people with apologies from many more, including  some Councillors and MPs. This work has grown out of the campaign, run by SPAG members over many years, who objected to the closure of A & E services at the Maudsley Hospital and have been campaigning for a 24/7 Place of Sanctuary service to be opened. Tributes were paid to SPAG members Tony Lynes, Stan Hardy and Tony Farsky, who just before his death last October encouraged us “not to morn but organise”. The meeting heard brief presentations from Elizabeth Rylance-Watson and Dr Tony O’Sullivan who referred to a number of national and local issues and said there was a great deal to do to strengthen the activists’ voice. In particular the following recent developments were highlighted:
  • The merging of 8 GP practises into Nexus Health
  • GroupGP At Hand run by Babylon deprives GPs of funding and has led to a  £659,000 loss registered in Southwark as a result of young healthy patients registering with this private, digital service and effectively de-registering (often unknowingly) from NHS practices 
  • The government promises integration in the NHS with a Long Term (10 year) plan but the Government has been fragmenting the service for the past 15 years. KONP promotes integration between health and social care, hospitals and community services. 
  • From 2010 onwards The NHS has been consistently underfunded.  By 2023 it is estimated it will be underfunded by c. 30%. Training has been cut and it will take years to train the sufficient number of staff to catch up and meet demand.  
  • Privatisation: “If a government causes a service to fail, it strengthens the argument for that service to be taken over privately”. Only 8% of the NHS budget is currently in private hands but this is growing by stealth. There is everything to play for to reverse the privatisations and to restore the NHS to its founding principles.Pathology services are being forced to merge. These networks will be privatised by 2020 because it is too expensive for the NHS to bid for it. One of the first is Guys and King's (Pathology) merging with SERCO, a private company frequently judged to “deliver poor service”.
  • PFI contracts have wasted c. £2 billion to date.
  • There are huge vacancies at all levels and in all areas causing excessive reliance on agency staff (and costs). There needs to be a workforce strategy.
The meeting then had a wide ranging discussion and those present highlighted particular issues they felt should be the basis of campaigning. Gathering information and research was felt essential. The meeting then discussed the following possible issues and campaigns in Southwark


  • GP services – continuity of contact/appointments/catchment area
  • Cherry picking/salami slicing
  • Role of Specsavers as an audiologist
  • Dulwich Hospital facilities, services and developments
  • King’s College Hospital
  • Mental Health services
  • Integrated Care
A Steering Group was formed and met on 2nd April. They noted a briefing paper on Southwark KONP had been sent to all councillors and MPs and discussed research campaigning in more detail and it was felt the following local meetings and issues needed attention:

  • Patient Participation Groups at GP surgeries (PPG) – the recent formation of a GP federation in the north of the borough under the brand NEXUS and it’s recent CQC report were very worrying developments
  • Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
  • Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB)
  • Our Healthier South East London (OHSEL) the Sustainable and Transformation  Partnership (STP) for the area 
  • Local (Primary) Care Networks (LCN)
  • The situation (and deficit) at King’s
  • The reorganisation of the midwife services
  • Emergency services for the mentally ill
  • The state of social and nursing
It was noted over 70 people had been signed up to Southwark KONP and more were expected. Contacting and recruiting young people/students (schools, colleges, medical schools were mentioned) was seen as a priority. It was agreed creating a register of supporters/contacts was important and a subscription fee will be considered at the next meeting on 14th May.  See Diary Dates on the Navigation Bar for details of meetings.

If you haven’t already, PLEASE JOIN US. Staff at the Pensioners Centre have registration forms you can complete.

Alternatively, If you'd prefer to use the Contact Us form on this website and mention your interest in the KOPN group, your information will be passed to the Southwark KOPN organisor