This blog post contains an open letter to county councillors about democracy in our NHS. You can add your name to this letter by writing it in the comment box.
What prompted us to write this letter
Proposals in Westminster for another top down reorganisation of the NHS are damaging to democracy. This reorganisation will leave our local authorities with much less say over health and social care. This inherently undemocratic Health and Care Bill has already had its second reading in the Commons yet our County Councillors seem unconcerned? I would expect to hear an absolute uproar from the people we elect to represent our interests locally. Instead we get a deathly silence.
Why we are concerned
This Bill aims to transform our NHS into something closely resembling the US system. This Bill may be an enticing proposal for private corporations and the politicians who invest in private medicine. However, for the rest of us who just want decent healthcare for ourselves and our families, it is catastrophic. Which is why this petition to stop the Bill was set up by Keep Our NHS Public.
So I have written this open letter to East Sussex County Councillors and am inviting you all to add your name to it. If you share the concerns we have raised in this letter you can add your name in the comment section. Alternatively you can write your own letter and send it to your local councillor.
We do need to act as a community and take action if we are to preserve our access to the healthcare we have paid for through taxation. Please have a read of this letter and share it with your contacts.
The Letter to East Sussex County Councillors
We the undersigned, are sending you this letter to raise our concerns about the Health and Care Bill. This Bill is now at the Committee stage in the House of Commons. It is potentially damaging to local NHS and Care services. We also believe it is undemocractic as it will leave the County Council with little say over services.
You were elected to represent our interests at a council level. We are therefore asking all the councillors to start raising the alarm over this Bill and how it will affect the health of the people who elected you.
Details of this Bill that we feel you should be alarmed at
This Bill will force you, as a council to cooperate with the decisions taken by the Integrated Care System. The council will get just one seat on the Board of an ICS and have no right to go against any decision taken by that Board. We are enormously concerned that private healthcare corporations will have seats on these Boards and be drowning out the voices of Councillors.
Why we believe local authorities must retain some say in service provision
We are already seeing healthcare services rationed. More and more people are finding that the treatments they need are no longer available on the NHS. When we have Government handing the ICS a single pot of money to spend on services for local people this rationing will continue. We have paid for our access to healthcare through taxation. We expect the services provided to match the demand, not the amount of money given to an ICS.
It is going to become ever more important for Councillors to be able to scrutinise changes to local services. It is also vital that Councillors retain the right to ask that changes to local services be reffered to an Independent Reconfiguration Panel for review.
What we are wanting you to do
We ask you as Councillors to voice our concerns raised here to politicians at Westminster. We also ask that you take some responsibility for making your constituents aware of possible changes to the NHS and allowing them to have their say.