Protect the NHS: Scrap the health and care bill

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Protect the NHS: Scrap the health and care bill

This petition had 112,327 supporters

Louise Irvine started this petition to Health Secretary Sajid Javid

We have to stop the Health and Care bill passing through parliament right now before it damages the NHS we know and love. It will mean the handing out of NHS contracts to private companies with friends in the government. We have seen this happening during the pandemic and it’s been a disaster. For example, £37 billion was wasted on a ‘test and trace’ service that simply didn’t work.

I’m an NHS GP. I care deeply about the NHS, not just for my patients but also because my family members have recently received life-saving care from the NHS. I fear this Bill takes our NHS away from its founding principles of lifelong care for everyone, provided by staff whose first duty is to their patients, not to shareholders.

I am very worried that the NHS is already struggling to cope with the pandemic because it has been underfunded, understaffed, privatised, and fragmented over the last 12 years. Rising Covid cases now mean no catch up with the backlog of work and even longer waiting lists. I see the impact of all this on our service every day.

The Bill will not solve the NHS’s problems. It introduces many harmful changes such as,

  • Patients and the public will have even less say than we do now in what happens to our local health services, as the new boards, covering populations of up to 3 million people, will be remote and centralised, with no obligation to be open, transparent, or accountable to ordinary people. This will make it easier for the government to drive through unpopular changes like closing local hospitals.
  • We were able to save Lewisham Hospital with the support of our local council but the new law will seriously restrict councils’ powers to protect local services, giving them only one seat between them on the new boards.
  • The legislation will create 42 new Integrated Care Systems (ICS) in England. The plan contains worrying elements of American style health systems, which have a record of denial of care to patients to profit or save money.
  • Each ICS will have a limited budget leading to more cuts to services for patients, longer waiting times, and an unfair postcode lottery. The private sector, which has shown itself to be greedy and inept during the Covid pandemic will benefit as private companies could get seats and influence on the new Integrated Care Boards proposed by the Bill.
  • NHS staff could find themselves subject to local deals on pay and conditions and this could adversely affect recruitment and retention of NHS staff at a time when this should be one of the highest priorities of the government.
  • The Bill does nothing to improve social care. In fact, it could make it worse. Hospitals will no longer do social care needs assessments before sending people home – a recipe for the dumping of patients without proper support.

    Dr Louise Irvine, GP and member of Keep Our NHS Public
  • further information on bill from KONP

Petition Closed

This petition had 112,327 supporters