Today I want to cry about the NHS.

I am writing to my MP instead. Please write to yours.

It is hard to believe how much will change and how permanent that change will be because in the UK we have been lulled by the slow rate of privatisation in the NHS over the last three decades.  But even with this thin end of the wedge, we have already seen the businesses that want to take a profit putting the health and lives of patients at risk so they can cut costs by cutting back on nurses and doctors.

There is just one month left to make objections to the Health and Social Care Bill before it automatically becomes law.

Here is what will happen then:

The health service is being put out to the highest bidder and profits for a few people will come before people’s lives and health.  For example, if a firm wants to run a hospital or a clinic it will not be able to bid based purely on quality as we were promised. Instead, EU competition laws will apply. This sounds innocuous  but it means companies don’t need any experience in running hospitals, clinics or other health services, instead they must be chosen on a commercial basis.  In fact, the bodies who run the tender process (the Clinical Commissioning Groups or CCGs) will be fined if they require bidders to be experienced health service providers. The CCGs can be sued by disappointed companies who do not get the work, draining away their money and time.

The process will favour big corporations with large teams skilled in bidding for work, but not necessarily skilled in doing it and will disenfranchise all other groups.

Businesses will be able to cherry-pick the services they offer and allowed to undercut the local NHS provider by, taking their money out of the system by offering the “safe”, “easy” and profitable work, and leaving the hard, expensive and unprofitable work to local publicly run services.

There is still time to object, though very little.  Please do what you can

  • Contact your MP – Look them up here and write them a letter or email them 
  • Pass this on to your friends and relatives and get them to contact their MP

The message is simple:

  • The NHS is one of the great achievements of this country, or any country, in the 20th Century (look at the way it was celebrated in the opening ceremony of the Olympics), and its importance transcends party politics.
  • Whatever faults and issues there were in the past the NHS should not be made subject to EU competition law or offered up for global corporations to profit form. The fundamental principles are valued by everyone and this legislation will wreck them.
  • Take the time to find a better solution. Regulations in the terms currently laid before Parliament should not proceed. And the matter should be properly debated in both Chambers rather than going through on the nod without proper consideration by MPs who are our elected representatives who are being asked to respond to the concerns of their constituents.

What else you can do:

This was first published here as a note on Facebook.

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