An idea we must all support

We should all be able to get healthcare when we need it.

The NHS makes this powerful idea possible, but despite the immense efforts of NHS staff, our health service has been struggling for some time to care for all its patients, and now with COVID, it’s far worse.

We know how important the NHS is, most of us rely upon it. but our appreciation must convert into meaningful support: not only by recruiting more staff and boosting resources, but also through more effective organisation, but we have been publishing evidence that tells a grim story.

It shows how recent governments have consistently failed to provide enough support and how policies have undermined safety. NHS staff tell us how these failures stop them from providing proper care and have created delays, suffering and deaths.

And yet ministers often provide a different picture, that is misleading, and in our experience rarely provides the clarity or honesty that the public deserves.

Yet It is more important than ever for us all know what is happening in our NHS, what is being done in our name, and what support our NHS needs.

This is why In 2019 we set up The Lowdown to produce evidence-based, campaigning journalism and research for the public and NHS staff. A new dedicated insight service, to work alongside all those that already do so much to fight for the NHS.

Working together we want to create the change the NHS needs; by supporting a more truthful and informed public debate, by helping to empower NHS supporters and by challenging our politicians to do better.

We are delighted that since our launch we are engaging a whole new audience.


    • Alert the public to threats to the idea of health care for all  
    • Counter misinformation and false claims, 
    • investigate key issues like privatisation, staffing and patient safety 
    • Publish evidence about how to solve the crisis, 
    • Publicise the campaigns and views of NHS staff and the public


The NHS does not To help watch over the NHS and to build a community of informed NHS supporters, who can influence and safeguard its future. 

Many people are doing fantastic work in support of the NHS; staff, campaigners, trade unions and other journalists and our work is designed to give them the evidence and analysis they need. 

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“It is a classy fount of investigative journalism,” David Baines, Senior Lecturer in Journalism, Newcastle University

‘Great journalism giving campaigners the evidence we rely on to defend the NHS – a really valuable asset.” Tony O’Sullivan, Co-chair Keep Our NHS Public


Paul Evans (NHS Support Federation) and Dr John Lister (London Health Emergency, KONP and HCT), with over 50 years combined experience between them as researchers and campaigners are leading this project to build a news and investigation unit to inform NHS supporters and workers.

We have a small staff team and a growing community of freelance contributors. we are non-profit making, independent and our work is evidence based and freely available.

We are committed to helping to train and support the next generation of health journalists, as they are an essential tool in holding our politicians and health leaders to account and getting to the truth.


We have watched the NHS become a punch bag, hit by constant reform and a series of failed policies; leaving it where it is today – understaffed, underfunded and struggling to plan and deliver care in all the ways that our population needs.

Even so, NHS staff still manage to care for millions of patients successfully everyday. So in the NHS we have a brilliant concept, that has worked in practice for over 70 years but which has been regularly under supported and undermined by government policy.

A crucial factor is that the public has been consistently misled about national policy. And locally, decisions about the planning of our services have become more remote from the public.

However, we have seen some powerful interventions by local communities, campaigners and trade unions, often defending services that are under threat. They have proved that when people have the information and get organised they have can engineer impressive change.

These experiences inspired us to develop a resource that can help build a bigger community of NHS supporters who are knowledgable and prepared to defend the values of the NHS.


We alert people to threats and help them get involved.

Last year we raised the alarm about plans to privatise a world renown NHS cancer scanning service in Oxford, which were proceeding against the advice of NHS staff. 

We published briefings about the plans and investigated the company that won the contract, reporting the story week by week. Our researchers published evidence about the impact of outsourcing in other areas and talked to staff about the potential impact. 

The result of the local campaign was a climb down from the plan, confirming that local people can influence policy when they work together. 

We have written over 500 news, analysis and explainers on the key NHS issues.  which we promoted across social media every week and make available with no pay wall.


Thousands of young people rejected by mental health services

American firms scooping up NHS mental health contracts

Real anger unites Northern Ireland’s health unions striking for fair pay

50 contract failures found in NHS outsourcing review (2013-2019)

Election: fact Vs fiction on all the key NHS issues


We rely on our supporters to do the work we do – standing up for health care for all – Please help us with a donation 


Supplying the national media with evidence

Our researchers work on key issues like privatisation, tracking changes and investigating the activities of companies. By working with journalists like Denis Campbell at the Guardian we have provided evidence and comment on string of stories to show the public the scale and impact of privatisation.

It was our work that first revealed the scale of Virgin Care’s role in the NHS. All this work is uploaded on to the NHS for sale website and now through The Lowdown  we can keep raising this issue much more regularly.


Countering misinformation

More prevalent than ever, misinformation pollutes the public view of our NHS. How often do we hear health ministers declare that the NHS has the funding it needs, or will never be privatised, or has record numbers of staff and that new hospitals will soon be built. It is crucial to sort the fact from the fiction and to challenge the source, which is what we do.

Promoting debate about the solutions

There ais alreday a wide range of well searched ideas about what direction our health service should go. There is experience that we can draw upon from other countries. There are issue like social care kicked into the long grass by politicians,  but we stcik with them.


Work alongside campaigners and trade unions

By talking to communities, NHS staff and trade union members we stay in touch with their experience of the health service. We publish their views when it helps to inform the public about whats happening inside their NHS.

A good example is the transfer of thousands of NHS staff into private companies, created by the NHS itself – which is happening in many areas few people know about it and we are working with trade unions to alert people to the impact through a whole series of stories and explainers that we promote across social media.


With your help we can alert, inform and connect NHS supporters across the country to defend their local services and push for the support that the NHS needs.


Thanks you all you help and support, please donate if you can.

Dear Reader,

If you like our content please support our campaigning journalism to protect health care for all. 

Our goal is to inform people, hold our politicians to account and help to build change through evidence based ideas.

Everyone should have access to comprehensive healthcare, but our NHS needs support. You can help us to continue to counter bad policy, battle neglect of the NHS and correct dangerous mis-infomation.

Supporters of the NHS are crucial in sustaining our health service and with your help we will be able to engage more people in securing its future.

Please donate to help support our campaigning NHS research and  journalism.