Doctors who care about the NHS
That describes us in a nutshell. We’ve been around for over 30 years. We were the NHS Consultants’ Association. We’ve achieved a lot in that time (for example, the NHS Federation produces detailed analyses on changes affecting the NHS, and we fund it).
But then things started to happen which made us decide we needed to change. The Health and Social Care Act (2012) was the latest in a long (and to our mind ignoble) line of legal steps which undermined the founding principles of the NHS. The increasing fragmentation of the NHS concerns all doctors: we turned to our GP and trainee colleagues, becoming Doctors for the NHS.
Key members of our Executive Committee (which consists of 21 members and meets bi-monthly) are detailed below. There are over 700 members nationally – and we want more to join us.
Dr Eric Watts – Chair, DFNHS
Eric has wide experience in medicine and medical management.
He became interested in medicine whilst being treated for a spinal tumour as a teenager, he is a keen advocate of patient centred medicine and supporter of patient empowerment and self-help groups.
After qualifying in 1971 he worked in general practice in London and in rural Canada where he also ran the community hospital.
He was a consultant at Basildon Hospital for 22 years where he built a strong department that won awards for innovation. He was Clinical Director in charge of diagnostic departments for 10 years and was elected to positions in the Royal Colleges of Physicians , Royal College of Pathologists, and the BMA. He has been a Vice President of the Association of Clinical Pathologists and in that capacity has represented the UK at International meetings.
He has been committed to continuous improvement and was invited to chair a National Patient Safety Agency working party on safety in blood transfusion. He firmly believes in Bevan’s maxim that the NHS should achieve excellence through generalising best practice.
Dr Peter Fisher – President, DFNHS
Peter is a retired consultant in General Medicine and Gastroenterology.
He qualified in 1957, at the University of Cambridge and The Middlesex Hospital, London. He held house jobs in Hemel Hempstead and Cornwall, followed by 3 years in the South Pacific Health Service – Fiji and Western Samoa.
On return to the UK, he worked as a Registrar in Northallerton (North Yorkshire) followed by 4 years in Liverpool as Registrar and Senior Registrar. He was appointed Consultant at the Horton General Hospital, Banbury, Oxfordshire, in 1969. He chose a whole-time (no private work) contract and maintained this position throughout his career.
Peter was a founder member of the NHS Consultants’ Association in 1976. He was Chair 1989-98, President from 1998 onwards and has remained President of Doctors for the NHS. He is a founder member of the NHS Support Federation in 1989 and of Keep Our NHS Public in 2005.
He has been a local election candidate on five occasions and was a Councillor on Oxfordshire County Council, 1981 – 93, where he was Social Services spokesman for a party group.
He has a keen interest in fell walking and history.
Dr Paul Hobday – Vice-Chair, DFNHS
Paul qualified at Guy’s in 1979 and spent over 30 years in general practice until retirement from clinical medicine in 2013.
He is a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners. He has been involved in medical politics since qualifying as a GP. He was a GP representative at local and national level , a BMA representative , and currently chairs the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells BMA Division.He was co-founder of one of the country’s first out-of-hours GP co-operatives in 1989.
As a passionate believer in Bevan’s NHS, fighting for the restoration of a publicly funded , publicly provided and publicly accountable service, he is a member of Keep Our NHS Public, and joined the National Health Action Party at its inception. He stood for Parliament in Maidstone at the 2015 general election. On the Executive from 2013 , he became interim leader of the Party in July 2016.
Dr Peter Trewby – Treasurer, DFNHS
Peter trained at Cambridge University and St George’s Hospital. After junior posts in London he moved to Darlington as a consultant gastroenterologist and general physician, a post he occupied for 30 years before becoming an Acute Physician. He has been Royal College of Physicians Regional Advisor, CME adviser and Censor, and national and international MRCP examiner. His work with international graduates in the UK resulted in the BAPIO award for services to International Graduates. He has retired from clinical work but is President of the Association of North of England Physicians (ANEP), and RCP Associate International Director for International Graduates.
He is passionate about the NHS, believing that wherever possible local services should be available for local people and that the benefits of specialist tertiary centres are often exaggerated. He believes that the goodwill and altruism of doctors is at least as important in ensuring the delivery of equitable, high-quality healthcare for all as the often politically driven management structures and imperatives.
Dr Andrea Franks – Executive Committee member
Andrea grew up in Sheffield. She graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge, and did her clinical studies in Oxford. Posts in various mainly medical specialties (Bath, Oxford, Cardiff, medical registrar at the London Hospital), then started part-time dermatology in London after the birth of the first of three children. She spent 5 years in New Zealand: a year in Auckland during part of husband Roger’s training, a paediatric cardiothoracic surgeon and also a member of DFNHS, and 4 years in Wellington where he was a consultant. Both then returned to Liverpool, where they still live. Andrea was appointed as consultant dermatologist in Chester in 1996.
She joined NHSCA (now DFNHS) about 12 years ago (she can’t remember when exactly!) and she has been an active member of Keep Our NHS Public Merseyside for about 9 years.
Andrea could not face looking back after the destruction of the NHS and knowing she had not even tried to save it.
Any organisation relies on the individuals who join it. They can achieve so much more than anyone can acting alone. So:
If you care about the NHS.
- If you believe every effective treatment should be free at the point of delivery.
- If you believe the NHS should be democratically accountable at all levels.
- If you see the separation into purchaser and provider as completely inappropriate.
- If you grow alarmed with the increasing pressures put on staff in the name of ‘efficiency’.
- If you see the breaking apart of the NHS as fundamentally wrong.
- If you believe that it is your patients and colleagues who are going to continue to suffer because of all this.
Please…join us. Talk to us. Be with us. We know there are many colleagues who are as frustrated and as deeply concerned as we are. We are asking you to join us, and give the NHS the future it deserves.
Make a difference – join us now.
Alan Taman – Media and communications contact
We employ Alan Taman as our media and communications contact (part time).
He has many years’ experience as a health journalist and has worked in the NHS as a senior communications manager. He has also campaigned for standards in health journalism and public relations. He holds a Masters degree (MA in health journalism, Coventry), researching the ethics of public relations in the NHS, and his first degree was in biochemistry (King’s, London). He received his editorial training on the British Medical Journal.
He has written on public relations in the NHS, and most recently contributed to First Do No Harm (2014, Libri), an e-book written for journalists covering health. He recently chaired Reporting the NHS, a ‘Masterclass’ about health reporting and public relations run by the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). (You can download the highly useful Up to date figures on the NHS produced for that meeting.) He has spoken to groups of journalists about the ethics of public relations.
He was involved with the Campaign for the NHS (Reinstatement) Bill 2015, and now also works part time for Keep Our NHS Public, which we support. Alan can be contacted by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone (07870 757 309) at any time.