Eastbourne campaigners were fighting the corporate take-over of our NHS last Saturday. While many people dressed up as witches and ghosts for Halloween, we were wearing Richard Branson masks. Because really, the threat of large corporations taking over our NHS is far more terrifying than even the most gruesome of Hallowen costumes.
But sadly our MP, Caroline Ansell, who claims: “the NHS is in my DNA” has voted in favour of a Bill that would result in a corporate take-over of our healthcare.
We were taking part in a national day of action organised by the campaign group We Own It. And they provided us with a letter for our MP which detailed why we feel so concerned about this Health and Care Bill.
It is vital that the general public are equally aware of the dangers of this Bill. We need to raise awareness of exactly what this Bill will mean. Because the more our population understands the easier it will be to protect our NHS.
This Health and Care Bill has already had its second reading in the Commons. It is now at a stage where a Committee will examine it in more detail and propose possible amendments, before the final vote.
We oppose this Bill in its entirety but owing to the fact there is an 80 strong majority in the Tory party we are also backing certain amendments. These amendments may now be the only chance we have of protecting our NHS.
These are our main concerns:
- This Bill will reshape our NHS to mirror the US system. We know this is the most expensive and inefficeint healthcare system in the world.
- This Bill proposes removing the requirement for services to be put out to tender and bids assessed before a contract is awarded. But it does not replace this requirement with anything else. It will lead to a continuation of the cronyism we saw in the pandemic. It is better that we have a proper process of tendering than Government cronies being handed contracts regardless of their capacity to deliver.
- Our local NHS services will be managed by a corporate Board. Many representatives from private healthcare and health insurance corporations will sit on these Boards. These corporations are involved in order to make profit not to help keep our population healthy. The NHS will cease to be a national healthcare service.
- Our healthcare system will become efficient at maximising profit not at maximising the amount of healthcare delivered.
- Our healthcare will be managed by a Board responsible for the whole of Sussex. We will lose our Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee from East Sussex County Council. Just one representative from a local authority will be allowed to sit on the Board. Local accountability and local democratic control of our heallthcare will be non-existent.
What you can do.
- Make sure you are well informed. There is a wealth of information that is easy to access on YouTube with some powerful and eloquent people making videos on the subject. We Own It is also a good source of information. You can also read more about this Bill on our website.
- Write to your MP if you feel concerned. You can check how they voted on the second reading of this Bill by following this link.
- Ask your local councillors what action they are taking against the attack on local democracy.
- Sign our open letter to East Sussex County Councillors calling on them to act.
- Follow this campaign on social networks, and sign up to our email mailing list.