Have your say on new law that will downgrade and privatise England’s NHS and care services
The public have been largely kept in the dark over how badly the new Health and Care Act will impact on struggling services in England from next month.
To outline the full implications and discuss how people can campaign to save their much-valued local NHS and care sectors, the National Pensioners’ Convention – the UK’s largest campaign group run for and by older people – is holding an interactive summit on 16th June 2022.
Chaired by NPC General Secretary, Jan Shortt, this free-to-attend opening session of the NPC’s 2022 Annual Convention - will hear from Sharon Graham, General Secretary of Unite the Union which represents 100,000 health workers, along with Dr Tony O’Sullivan, Co-Chair of the Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) campaign.
Our panellists will discuss the issues for patients and hard pressed health workers, along with concerns over the weakening of public accountability of local and regional services – and what NPC members can do in response.
The event will also give attendees a chance to have their say in ‘breakout sessions’ and suggest how people can still influence the strategy of the 42 new Integrated Care Systems Boards (ICSBs) being set up from 1st July to manage their local health services.
The webinar comes midway between two national protests against the changes to the NHS, triggered by the Act: The We Own It: National Day of Action on Saturday, 11th June (https://weownit.org.uk/act-now/lets-push-more-join-our-ics-day-action); and the TUC Rally in London on Saturday 18 June, in protest at the cost of living crisis, which will be addressed by the NPC’s Jan Shortt (www.tuc.org.uk/DemandBetter)
Jan Shortt, General Secretary, NPC, said: “Far from improving our NHS, this new legislation will not tackle the immediate pressures facing the health and care system, or replace those services already lost, or shorten waiting lists. It will further fragment services, reduce key funding to create a postcode lottery for services, while downgrading the medical qualifications and terms and conditions of key staff. It opens the door for private companies to win contracts with ICSBs, giving them influence over the decisions on what care is provided, by whom and for whom.”
Sharon Graham, General Secretary, Unite the Union, added: “The Health and Care Act is part of an ongoing assault on the NHS that will bring in more privatisation by the back door. It will also lay the path for lower standards of care and further undermine the pay and conditions of NHS staff.”
Dr Tony O’Sullivan, Co-Chair, Keep Our NHS Public, said: “The Health and Care Act is a travesty - a bad piece of legislation, pushed through during the pandemic, that fragments and undermines the NHS and clearly shows the Government cares for private interests not public health. It does nothing for the workforce crisis in health and care, it facilitates private interests in further parasitising the NHS. It allows hospital patients to be sent home without a care plan and minimises the local authority scrutiny of health plans so important for safe decisions.”
The new Act will see systemic changes to the organisation and accountability of regional health services, starting with the replacement of CCGs (Clinical Care Groups) by the new ICSBs from 1st July. It also gives the Secretary of State more powers to direct NHS England, and intervene on decisions over changes to local services, including the ability to de-regulate individual ICSB’s directly.
Giving just one example of the NPC’s concerns, Jan said: “The Act’s ‘discharge to assess’ scheme means that an individual can be discharged from hospital without having been assessed for their needs, on the basis that Community Services will do it in their home, but we all know Community Services are at breaking point.”
Jan has outlined a full list of the NPC’s concerns in this month’s Health & Social Care Working Party newsletter: www.npcuk.org/post/health-social-care-news-june-22
*TO REGISTER for the free interactive NPC webinar on 16th June - THE NEW HEALTH & CARE ACT - WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOUR LOCAL NHS SERVICES? – visit:
Download the press release