Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Safe in their hands or their hands in our Safe

The NHS that we know and love is under threat. The government plans to re-shape the NHS as proposed in the Health Bill, which has the potential to damage patient care and waste vast sums of public money.

The plans will turn the NHS into a business where our taxes will increasingly pay for profit-driven companies to provide our healthcare.

We must ensure that the NHS continues to be a public service that gives us quality services that are local, easy to access and free when we need them.

What would the proposed Health Bill do

* Transfer the responsibility for the NHS from the Secretary of State (SoS) for Health to a new NHS Commissioning Board appointed by SoS.

* Abolish Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) responsible for planning services for a regin and overseeing PCT's.

* Abolish all 152 Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), which receive money from the SHAs and buy services for their population.

* Create 300-600 groups of GP's called consortia which would take on the commissioning (purchasing) of services. A number of pathfinder groups, sometimes called 'pilots', were set up in January.

* Force all hospitals to become Foundation Trusts (FTs), encourage them to become employee-led social enterprises, and remove the cap on private patients.

* Increase the powers of Monitor (who oversees FTs) as sole economic regulator and enforce competition.

* Strengthen Care Quality Commission (CQC) to become effective regulator and license provider (with no extra money).

* Encourage 'any willing provider' who will be licensed by Monitor and CQC.

* Transfer Public Health to Local Authorities and set up a new body Public Health England.

* Set up Health and Wellbeing Boards - without powers to oversee GPC and without any community or professional representation.

What is a GP consortia?

The Government is planning on dissolving NHS Primary Care Trusts and establishing GP Consortia's across the country.

These new bodies will be reponsible for around £80 billion of public funds and will buy health services across communities in your area.

GP Consortia's will be free to buy in support from private companies to help them commission and put more local services into the private sector.

This government is using the crisis caused by the banks to introduce reforms that will lead to privatisation and services run for profit.

What you can do

* Northumberland MP's have signed up to the campaign although letters from constituents are still effective.

* Sign the petition at www.nhscampaign.org

* Tell your family and friends about the campaign

* Ask your Dr. questions, see a sample below

Questions to ask your GP

Are you going to be on the GP consortia and if so; why?

How will you carry out your job as a doctor and run the consortia without compromising patient care?

Would you let the local GP Consortia commission services through a private company?

How much will the GP consortia cost and is it cheaper than the NHS Primary Care Trust?

What training and education will be provided to GPs running the Consortia?

How will the Consortia be accountable to local people and elected councillors?


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