What the Coalitions Healthcare bill really means now for your NHS

The Government introduced the Health & Social Care Bill to widespread opposition, inparticular from all the areas of the medical profession, but even after reviews ,a listening period and independent critiques of the Bill, the Government still persisted on progressing with its changes – It is apparent from the Governments obstinacy to change its course, the reasons are not improvements in efficiency or better quality standards, but profits for business – Welcome to the end of a truly national health service (http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/allyson-pollock-david-price-peter-roderick-tim-treuherz-david-mccoy-martin-mckee-lucy-rey)

The NHS has suffered from decades of constant erosion through botched change after change. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/jul/09/nhs-history-reforms-health-policy) Since the Coalition came to power we have lost 3,500 nurses from the NHS and there are another 2,500 more estimated to go, by the Royal College of Nursing (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9063039/Ed-Miliband-cost-of-health-Bill-could-pay-for-6000-nurses.html)


This is the beginning of a cycle of upheaval and cuts – and is the reason why Our World Our Say opposes the Health and Social Care Act for five clear reasons

1. The Act will cost, at latest estimates, £2 billion to implement

The government estimates the cost of implementing the Health and Social Care Act are £1.3 billion, Labour claim £3.5 billion, independent analysts estimate at least £2 billion. All money we can ill afford to spend at this time (http://fullfact.org/factchecks/NHS_reorganisation_transition_costs_PCT_allocations-3298)

The claims that the Act will save money in the long run are paper thin, the Parliamentary health committee has stated that it is only likely if standards of care are cut.

£1 billion is being spent on redundancy for managers, only for many to be rehired as consultants. Whilst OWOS conducted its own research with NHS staff, identifying waste and spending associated with the pre-implementation of the Act at all levels of service

NHS Impact Assessment (http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_123582.pdf?)

2. More bureaucracy

At present (apart from the transitory bodies already set up) the NHS is run by three levels of management

  1. The Department of Health
  2. Strategic Health Authorities
  3. Primary Care Trusts.

Under the Bill that will be replaced by seven:

  1. The Department of Health
  2. NHS Commissioning Board
  3. Strategic Health Authority clusters
  4. Commissioning Support Organisations
  5. Clinical Commissioning Groups
  6. Clinical Senates
  7. HealthWatch.

Plus the creation of two further quangos – Monitor and the NHS Board

“At a national level, it is difficult to see who, if anyone, will be in charge of the NHS.” – Chris Ham, chief executive of the King’s Fund

3. Your waiting time will be longer– unless you go private

Hospitals will be allowed to allocate up to half of their beds to private patients under the Bill and also reduces the guarantees on NHS waiting times.

4 Standards of care will depend on where you live

The Bill will break up the NHS removing national standards. There will be countrywide variations in treatments available on the NHS, some people may even have to pay for private treatment for conditions that would have previously received NHS treatment, whilst Scotland and Wales will continue to provide services denied to patients in England.

5 Profit not medical treatment will be the priority

Private companies will be in control, nominally called Commissioning Support Organisations (CSO’s) they will plan and commission healthcare, even though the bill says GP’s will undertake this task, leaked papers have shown the government expects private companies called to take over this role. (http://www.nhsca.org.uk/docs/cliveprivate.pdf)

However even if it were the GP’s undertaking the role, it is a highly complex duty and should not be done as an add on to patient care.

CSOs will decide how care is delivered but there will be no democratic control over them.