Kent campaigners call for rejection of NHS Health and Care Bill

Sonik campaigners

Kent health campaigners are calling on the county’s politicians and medical authorities to reject the NHS Health and Care Bill which receives its final reading today (March 30).

In an open letter Save Our NHS In Kent (SONIK) claim the bill threatens to totally undermine the NHS as a comprehensive universal public service and will facilitate its privatisation.

Carly Jeffrey of SONIK said: “The bill has been steered through the House of Lords by a man who has a track record of lobbying for free market organisations that question whether the NHS should exist. And if it becomes law private sector organisations could be allowed into the heart of NHS decision-making.

“In a myriad ways, if it goes through, this bill will enable the destruction of our NHS and its replacement by a semi-privatised shadow of itself modelled on an American-style free market outfit in which profit not people comes first.”

SONIK has detailed concerns about what the bill will mean to people using the NHS in Kent and is calling on local NHS bosses to act to protect the health service in the county.

Carly said: “We are asking the NHS in Kent and Medway to halt and reverse NHS privatisation and make sure that NHS organisations – not private companies or charities and third sector organisations – to provide NHS services. We want an NHS that’s publicly owned, comprehensive, universal, employing its staff on the basis of national conditions, and free at the point of use.”

For more details see SONIK’s open letter which is here

SONIK has called a “promenade for the NHS” in Broadstairs at 12 noon on Saturday 2 April, meeting on the seafront near the Royal Albion Hotel — all welcome.

What the Bill includes

Government says the purpose of the Bill is to establish a legislative framework that supports collaboration between the NHS, local authorities and care providers rather than competition. Many of its proposals have been informed by the NHS’s recommendations. The Bill also contains new powers for the Secretary of State over the health and care system, and targeted changes to public health, social care, and quality and safety matters.

The Bill will mean each part of England has an Integrated Care Board and an Integrated Care Partnership responsible for bringing together local NHS and local government, such as social care, mental health services and public health advice.

Key measures include:

The NHS and local government planning health and care services, including moving services out of hospitals and into the community.

The development of a new procurement regime for the NHS and public health procurement, reducing competitive tendering – this is the area which has raised concerns about an increase in the number of contracts awarded to private providers, with campaigners saying it will lead to a gradual privatisation of the NHS.

A package of measures to deliver on specific needs in the social care sector including the introduction of powers for the Secretary of State to directly make payments to adult social care providers where required.

Supporting the introduction of new requirements about calorie labelling on food and drink packaging and the advertising of junk food before the 9pm watershed

The Bill is expected to come into effect in April 2022.


  1. As usual with these things…. It’s a wolf in sheeps clothing…. These things keep coming up and they always have horrific things hidden in them. They know what they are doing.

    Like Grayling and the law changes he made. To erode workers rights.

  2. They clearly do not know how it all works at the moment. The key to a comprehensive and publicly owned health service is ‘free at the point of delivery’ which is not the same as all service providers being public sector owned or employed. Lots of NHS surgery is undertaken with no charge to patients in private hospitals with only the surgery and anaesthetic conducted by an NHS employee. Without the ability to make flexible use of private hospitals in this way our waiting lists would be very much longer than they are at present. Every GP is a private sector employee and has been since the inception of the NHS in 1947. As Michael Caine would say ‘not a lot of people know this’.

    This is also not political. The biggest use of the private sector to clear waiting lists for tests, investigations and elective surgery was delivered by a labour government.

    • This government is using the NHS as a mechanism for moving public money into private pockets as quickly as possible.
      Previous “New” Labour were no better, with their PFI schemes saddling hospitals with huge debts for decades to come.

  3. Perhaps they do know how it works – south east health authority run a medical standard based on the prison system. I have just escaped from William Harvey heart unit where treatment in the first hour was brilliantly efficient but deteriorated into a windowless ward with the lowest possible food standard and night staff making comments about colleagues that would have had me arrested if I had made them

  4. Just take other privatised sectors for example – Profits before service. This is the beginning of our NHS going the same way. It should be stopped but all these greedy Tories care about is their shares in such companies. What is Sir Rog or Mack doing about saving our services in Thanet? Absolutely nothing. Remember this at the election. We need a complete change of administration throughout the land. Complacency that nothing can be done has hit the population. Make your vote count next time.

    • What we really need is for local candidates to state clearly they support a Unitary Authority for East Kent which would bring our hospitals under local control and out of the hands ofKCC.
      Little hope as council hierarchies want to defend their petty fiefdoms.

  5. No need to worry Boris Johnson promised the NHS would get £350 million a week if we left the EU, or was that just another one of his lies? But the nurses and other NHS staff should be alright they got a pay rise recently, how much was it, Oh, yes, lower than inflation, so it was effectively a pay cut! Well done Boris, and the Tory party, for fixing Social Care, Oh, hang on it still means those people with the funds, and property will have to pay upwards of £86,000 for their Care in a Care Home, but someone in the next bedroom without funds or property pay nothing! This Conservative government couldn’t organine a P*** up in a brewery, Oh, hang on they did, several times at No 10, but it was a bring a bottle party!

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