Health and Care Bill - letter to MPs

NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt has written to every MP asking that they oppose the Health and Care Bill. You can read the letter below



To: All MPs



Dear MP,


We are writing to you to ask you to oppose the government’s Health and Care Bill which is due to have its Second Reading in Parliament on Wednesday 14 July 2021.

The Bill would lead to:


· An increase in the rationing of healthcare – there will be a specific limit on the amount of money given to each Integrated Care System (ICS) in England. [1] Once that runs out, we are worried that people will be forced to go without the treatment they need or they will end up having to pay for healthcare.


· A postcode lottery – ICSs in England will each have to develop a plan for the health needs in their area. [2] There will be different plans for different areas, so we are concerned that the services that people will be able to access will vary depending on where they live.


· Big business at the heart of NHS decision-making and the delivery of services – this will put taxpayers’ money in the pockets of shareholders, and it will mean private companies may well have a say in how public money is spent [3] in the future and which health services are provided in a local area (and which are not).


· NHS bodies simply being allowed to award contracts for clinical care to private healthcare providers without considering other bids [4] – this risks seeing further privatisation and the government handing billions of pounds of public money to private companies.


· Vulnerable patients being put at risk – the Bill removes the requirement for social care needs assessments to be carried out by the relevant local authority before a patient is discharged from hospital [5]; this will leave families to pick up the pieces, and those without family at risk of isolation and lack of care.


· The deregulation of NHS professions [6] – this would have serious implications for the quality of care, as well as the employment status, pay and terms and conditions of a range of NHS workers. We are also concerned that it will lead to the down-grading of roles. This concern was summed up well in a recent article by Professor Kailash Chand, an Honorary Vice President of the British Medical Association, in which he wrote: ‘The core thrust of the new reforms is to de-professionalise and down skill the practice of medicine in this country, so as to make staff more interchangeable, easier to fire, and services more biddable, and, above all, cheaper.’ [7]


The Integrated Care System in England is proposed to be delivered by Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) and Integrated Care Partnerships (ICPs).


It is clear that NHS staff are exhausted as a result of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. Sir David Nicholson, former Chief Executive of NHS England has warned that the government’s impending shake-up of the NHS could prompt a lot of staff who are already exhausted by Covid-19 to quit. [8] Furthermore, there are now more than five million people on England’s NHS waiting list. [9]

The government’s plans would clearly undermine the principles of the NHS on which we have all relied since 1948.


There is also the question of social care reform that remains in the background. The two issues are inextricably linked and we believe you cannot, and should not, seek to reform one and not the other. Funding for care is not a feature of the Bill and as an older person’s organisation, we urge you to ensure that the frailest and vulnerable in society are treated with the utmost respect. Cutting corners on assessments and the quality of care is not what we expect in the 21st Century. A National Care Service funded by taxation to provide a universal care service free at the point of need, publicly delivered and accountable is the way forward for everyone at a time when they need it.

Once again, we ask that you oppose this bill at its Second Reading on Wednesday 14 July.

Yours sincerely,


Jan Shortt

General Secretary


[1] 210140en.pdf (parliament.uk), p. 72

[2] Report template - NHSI website (england.nhs.uk) p. 12

[3] Virgin given seat on ICS Board - The Lowdown (lowdownnhs.info)

[4] Health bill could see NHS contracts awarded without tender process | NHS | The Guardian

[5] 210140en.pdf (parliament.uk), p. 36

[6] *210140en.pdf (parliament.uk), p. 37

[7] Prof Kailash Chand OBE FRCGP on Twitter: "This needs wide publicity.... We can’t afford to take our eye off this! https://t.co/cgSPkHudr7" / Twitter

[8] 'A truly frightening backlog': ex-NHS chief warns of delays in vital care | NHS | The Guardian

[9] Number of people on England’s NHS waiting list tops 5m for first time | NHS | The Guardian


You can download the letter below

letter.mps.nhsreformbill.july2021
.doc
Download DOC • 144KB
 

You can listen to this song devised for all the campaigns and campaigners against the Health and Care Bill, share it widely and use it freely in all your actions and media initiatives. The singer is nurse campaigner Ness Harratt


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