17.09.2012 What is happening to our NHS? New leaflet to download
17.02.2012 5 Things you need to know about the Health Bill False Economy
13.02.2012 Teach yourself Lansley by John Lister
Ten things you can do to stop the bill by Dr Eoin Clarke
06.02.2012 Upicking the spin. Leaflet by John Lister
12.01.2012 Excellent NEW colour leaflet from Keep Our NHS Public to download and distribute: Keep Our NHS Public Leaflet
09.12.2012 FAQ about the Health and Social Care Bill
Older leaflets (2011) below:
Click here for a PDF version of the text below with references instead of hyperlinks (better for printing)
Click here for a Kill the Bill Colour Poster by John Lister of London Health Emergency/ Keep Our NHS Public
The coalition government has produced a Health bill which proposes some enormous changes to the NHS.
Please write to your MP and local paper and tell your friends. I think the most important points are as follows:
- The changes are without an electoral mandate. Before the election the Tories promised there would be no more top-down changes to the NHS. Click here for details
- There has been no public debate and no adequate justification for the extraordinary degree of change. The government is being dishonest about deaths from heart attacks and cancer in order to try to make a case for change. Excellent overall rebuttals from Ben Goldacre, and blogger RedEaredRabbit. There is an excellent analysis of cancer statistics from a medical student writing in the Economist and a BMJ editorial on UK cancer survival statistics
- We are in the middle of a recession and yet the health bill proposes the biggest, most expensive changes in the history of the NHS estimated to cost up to 3 billion pounds that could and should be spent on patient care.
- The government promised: “We understand the pressures the NHS faces, so we will increase health spending in real terms every year.” In fact there will be a decrease in funding. The cuts are worse than any in the last 30 years.
- They are doing this without the support of doctors, nurses or patients. In a recent poll for the Royal College of General Practitioners, two to one were against the reforms.
- At the same time as spending billions changing the structure of the NHS they are slashing NHS services and cutting thousands of NHS jobs.
- The NHS as we know it will be replaced with private and voluntary sector organizations, paid NHS money to do NHS work. They will have to be licensed with Monitor which will enforce competitiveness, registered with the Care Quality Commission and ‘Kite-marked’ with the NHS Commissioning board. NHS Hospitals will be forced to become Foundation Trusts and compete with these providers. If they cannot compete with others who have cherry-picked profitable hospital services they may be allowed to go bust. If they go bust they may be forced to close, merge (like these 3 West London hospitals) or be taken over.
- Before the process of turning the NHS into a market began in 1990 GPs and patients could choose to be referred to any NHS consultant or hospital anywhere in the country without the need for expensive and time consuming commissioning contracts. In 2003 a team of researchers at York University concluded that the NHS’s administrative costs had risen to about 14%, up from about 5% in the mid-1970s.[i] Most of the increase was evidently due to the added costs of operating the NHS as an ‘internal market’.
- The administration costs associated with commissioning will increase the need and cost of management.
- Providers that GPs refer their patients to will be able to compete to give the cheapest service rather than the best quality at a set price or tariff. This has been shown to lead to a dangerous deterioration in quality. Competition in health care leads to higher costs and worse outcomes for deaths amenable to health care.
- To cover the extra costs, private companies are saying that patients will be expected to pay extra for services they now get for free.
[i] Karen Bloor, Emma Harvey and Alan Maynard, ‘NHS Management and Administration Staffing and Expenditure in a National and International Context’, report for the Department of Health, University of York 2005. The Department sat on the report for five years.
We know that what patients overwhelmingly choose is a doctor who knows them and a local hospital that provides all the care they need. They didn’t vote for NHS money to go to private companies and their shareholders.
Please write to your MP and tell them what you think and what you want from the NHS.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make comments to the Committee scrutinising the bill before report stage.
See the British Medical Association online lobbying toolkit
See this excellent letter from a hospital doctor to his MP