The Health & Care Bill, which has just been passed by Parliament, is an attack on the NHS, breaking it up into 42 regional and separate units, called Integrated Care Systems (ICS),
These Integrated Care Systems cover huge areas. The North West London ICS, which includes Ealing, covers eight boroughs with a population of over 2.2 million. It will have a massive budget ( tightly controlled by Central Government) and total control over who delivers services and indeed what services are provided across the whole of North West London.
As each ICS is effectively autonomous they can choose which services to prioritise and which not to prioritise thus creating a postcode lottery. There is even a threat to national pay and conditions for NHS staff.
THE THREAT OF EVEN GREATER PRIVATISATION
One of the most publicised threats to the NHS has been that the Bill will open the doors to even greater privatisation. Decisions on awarding contracts will be taken by new Boards of ‘Directors’ called Integrated Care Boards (ICB)
Lots of campaigning was done to stop private companies sitting on these Boards but was unsuccessful. Instead the Chair of the ICB has the power to decide whether an appointment to the Board “could reasonably be regarded as undermining the independence of the health service”, which doesn’t actually preclude private companies from sitting on Boards or other committees and therefore able to influence decisions on what care is provided, by whom and for whom.
The one thing private companies won’t have to do anymore is compete with each other or the NHS to provide services, as the Health & Care Bill abolished the requirement to put contracts for NHS services through a competitive tendering process. However as the British Medical Association (BMA) has argued, without making the NHS the default provider, scrapping competitive tendering only opens the door to contracts being handed out to private companies without transparency. In other words – more cronyism!
A SNAPSHOT OF OTHER ASPECTS OF THE BILL
- Undermining terms & conditions of NHS Staff – to meet Government financial targets ICSs will be under pressure to reduce costs by using fewer staff or less qualified staff or even introducing local pay.
- Deregulation of NHS professions – downgrading nurses and doctors could now be on the cards
- Discharge from hospital without assessment – no check to see if patients or carers can cope!
- Powers for Secretary of State to intervene in reconfigurations – so they can push through closures of hospitals or A&Es like Ealing
- “Digital first” approach to NHS – making online GP and hospital appointments the norm
- Sharing of Patient Data – more profits for private companies, who can target patients for private treatment
- Social Care Cap of £86,000 – good news for well-off people!
- Emergency Care no longer specified as available to all those present in the area – so people not registered with a GP may be turned away – an undermining of a basic principle of the NHS.
KEEP OUR NHS PUBLIC ON PASSING OF THE BILL STATEMENT
Keep Our NHS Public nationally and groups like Ealing Save Our NHS have been campaigning vigorously against the Bill.
You can read their response to the passing of the Bill here
YOU CAN DO SOMETHING TO STOP THE PRIVATEERS
The national anti-privatisation campaign – ‘We Own It’ has launched their ‘Rebuild our NHS: Get Private Profits Out’ campaign to build pressurise on ‘local NHS leaders’ across England.
The campaign’s demands are simple:
- Ban private companies from being on our local NHS decision making boards & committees
- Ban private companies from deciding who provides NHS services
- End outsourcing and privatisation of NHS services
‘We Own It’ want help to get 3,000 emails sent to each Chair of the new 42 Integrated Care Systems (ICS).
They have made it very easy for you to send these emails.
All you have to do is click on this link and write in your postcode and in two minutes an email is on its way to Penny Dash, Chair of our ‘local’ North West London ICS.
PLEASE JOIN US IN SUPPORTING THIS CAMPAIGN