Opposition to NHS reforms – Letter in local paper!
I am writing in response to the recent letter you published from Marcus Jones MP regarding the Health and Social Care Bill
I would like to make it clear from the start that I am not a member of the Labour party, I am simply a concerned member of the public who is intelligent enough to realise that opening up the National Health Service to ‘any willing provider’ is never going to be a good idea, at least not for those of us who cannot afford private health insurance.
I wonder if Mr Jones is aware that the Royal College of Nursing issued a press release on the subject on 2nd September 2011 stating their continued concerns over the Bill:
Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said:
“The Bill being placed before parliament next week has enormous ramifications for patients and for our members. While we acknowledge that the Government have listened to our members in a number of areas, we still have very serious concerns about where these reforms leave a health service already facing an unprecedented financial challenge.
“The Government has now changed the bill in response to calls from nurses and others, setting out what will happen if providers fail either financially or clinically, amending the language of Monitor’s role in competition and ensuring that nurses will be represented on the Clinical Commissioning Group boards. We have also welcomed the government’s commitment to maintain a system for professional education and training within the comprehensive health service.
“However, at a time when the NHS needs to find £20 billion in efficiencies, tackle waste, work harder to prevent ill health and deal with an aging population, we are telling MPs that this Bill risks creating a new and expensive bureaucracy and fragmenting care. This fragmentation risks making inequalities worse, and preventing health providers from collaborating in the interests of patients. We must avoid a situation where existing NHS providers are left with expensive areas of care while private providers are able to “cherry pick” the services which can be delivered easily. As the Bill enters this final phase, we will be working to ensure that there are checks and balances to avoid these very real risks.”
BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum wrote a letter to MP’s saying that despite the recent ammendments the Bill still represented an ‘unacceptably high risk to the NHS, threatening its ability to operate effectively and equitably, now and in the future.’
I think Mr Jones assumes that his constituents are not intelligent enough to know the full facts of the Health and Social Care Bill. I can assure him that there are many of who are fully aware of the ramifications and costs it will cause to us personally. There will be no limit to how many beds an NHS hospital can use for private patients. He is correct when he says that the NHS is in debt, many of our hospitals are struggling, while being ordered to make spending cuts, or efficiencies as the Government like to call it (unprecedented efficiency savings totalling £20billion across the NHS by 2015). Is Mr Jones aware that our own George Eliot hospital is considering being taken over by a private franchise? Is he aware of what that means? Their other option is a merger with another hospital.
Far from scaremongering, people are arming themselves with facts instead of burying their heads in the sand. The NHS is a free healthcare service, free for everyone. The Secretary of State currently has a duty to provide a fully comprehensive health service, the Health and Social Care Bill could change that. The campaign group 38 degrees sought legal advice to clarify this and their findings were indeed frightening to millions of people across the country who rely on the NHS for their healthcare.
Many of Mr Jones’ constituents wrote to him and signed a petition in the town centre opposing the Bill. This appears to have fallen on deaf ears as our MP has decided to write to the local paper with an anti labour rant. It is not only Labour party members who use our health service, I use it too. The NHS delivered my children, they saved my father’s life, they performed the operation that enabled one of my children to regain her hearing and most importantly of all they save millions of lives across the country, for free. Their patients do not have to pay for their treatment, that’s something special. That’s why we love our NHS and we will fight to keep it public.
Could Mr Jones please explain to us all why, since the current Government moved into Downing Street, waiting times have risen? Official figures show there were 19,939 people still on an NHS waiting list in July having been referred for treatment more than 52 weeks earlier. In total, 2.61million are still waiting for operations such as hip and knee replacements, while fewer are being seen within the 18-week target. Perhaps this is because his Government is forcing the NHS to make ‘efficiency savings’ of £20 billion! Wards are closing, hospitals are at risk of closure, and millions are still waiting for much needed tests and operations. That’s not scaremongering, that’s the hard, raw facts!
Perhaps Mr Jones could ask his party leader, Mr`Cameron to reverse the target for ‘efficiency savings’ and actually get the money pumping back into our National Health Service, instead of promoting a Bill that the majority of nurses, GP’s and the general public have little or no confidence in, and having a rant about the opposition.