Hancock may have gone, but the bill is still on the table!

Press release – Rally and public petition stall will take place this Saturday, 3rd July – the NHS’s 73rd birthday – in Exeter’s Bedford Square from 12 – 2pm, with the theme “For Patients – Pay Justice – End Privatisation.”

Exeter NHS campaigners say that former Secretary of State for Health & Social Care has now gone, but his Bill is still on the table, and it’s one we should all refuse to accept.

Keep Our NHS Public (KONP), along with other campaigning groups like We Own It, and NHS Staff Voices, are calling on the public this Saturday, 3rd July – the NHS’s 73rd birthday – to show their opposition to the Government’s Health and Care Bill, laid before Parliament in May. A rally and public petition stall will take place in Exeter’s Bedford Square from 12 – 2pm, with the theme “For Patients – Pay Justice – End Privatisation.”

Local KONP member Dave Chappell said: “The 2021 Health and Care Bill’s plan for ‘Integrated Care Systems’ (ICS) may sound innocent enough, but in practice we believe these will further undermine the NHS we all want to see. For example, the proposals would give private companies seats on NHS boards, NHS contracts agreed without competition (as we’ve already seen during the pandemic), and more access to confidential patient information, with no clear protection for patient privacy.

“What we need is a national high quality, well-funded, and public NHS for everyone, not the increasing marketisation that successive Governments have pursued for decades. A poll last year showed 3 out of 4 of us want our NHS properly reinstated as a fully public service after the pandemic (the NHS Reinstatement Bill campaign is at http://www.nhsbillnow.org/)”

Contacts:

Dave Chappell (07790727965); davejchappell@gmail.com

Gordon Read (01392 278452); gordon.read.55@gmail.com

Background information and more notes:

Matt Hancock’s disingenuous White Paper ‘Integration and Innovation: working together to improve health and social care for all’ (Feb 2021) sets out proposals for a future management of the NHS and Social Care, merging NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups with other care providers – including Local Councils – into 42 ‘Integrated Care Systems’. The Government has chosen to drive these changes through during the worst pandemic for 100 years, when health and care professionals are exhausted, and local representatives distracted, and when people want to know the reason for excessive deaths from Covid-19. The Bill will not “improve health and social care for all”. It is bad news for patients by making it harder to get treatment, requiring more cuts to NHS services, while there will be more profit for private companies. Added to that is the sneaky attempt to force GPs to give NHS Digital all patients’ personal information, likely to be sold to private companies. This complex legislation needs careful analysis to identify Key Concerns:

·         NHS services will continue to be lost at a local level – community and district hospitals, surgeries, walk-in centres, community clinics and minor injury units (and North, East & West Devon is already over £400 million short).

·         The NHS will no longer be accountable to Local Authority Councils’ scrutiny.

·         Council representatives will be in a permanent minority on the joint decision-making ICS boards.

·         Impoverished Councils will remain responsible for delivering all community health and care but without control over how budgets are allocated within the ICS local health and care system.

·         Rationing of hospital-based care will place greater demands on social and community services (as well as on GPs who provide primary care).

·         Digital – online – Health will be prioritised for development and in time will become the first line of access to the NHS, with online advice and diagnostics replacing face to face consultations with GPs & specialists. 

·         Patients’ voices and concerns will be lost in merged provider networks and bureaucratic systems.

·         Private interests are being embedded into the NHS – not just providing care but running organisations, sitting on boards, deciding budget allocations and models of care, and providing major parts of NHS infrastructure (especially digital and logistics).

·         Corruption and cronyism will become rife, as contracts are awarded with no transparency or competitive tendering.

·         Personal health care records will be available to private corporations.