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 https://saveournhskent.org.uk.
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.