Submission to the House of Commons Health Select Committee inquiry into NHS finances

Here is Calderdale & Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS’s submission to the House of Commons Health Select Committee inquiry into NHS Finances. You’re welcome to use this as a template for your own submission, if you like. You can download it as a .doc file here

Dear Sarah Wollaston,

I am worried that much of the written evidence presented by NHS Providers, the NHS Confederation and the Chief Executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners to the Health Select Committee inquiry into the state of NHS finances, is extremely dangerous.  If acted upon, it threatens the continuation of the NHS as a comprehensive health service, free at the point of use and based on patients’ clinical needs.

Altogether, this written evidence from all three sources serves to normalise and validate what the NHS Providers, private health companies and CCGs are already doing with accelerated cuts and privatisation through secretive, undemocratic Sustainability and Transformation Plans.

If the Health Select Committee accepts this evidence – which includes suggestions about changing NHS policy to fit the STPs’ de facto abandonment of the principle that the NHS is a comprehensive health service, free at the point of use and based on patients’ clinical needs – it would amount to the conclusive dismantling of the NHS.

On behalf of Calderdale & Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS (a group that campaigns to protect the NHS from cuts and privatisation, and to restore it as a properly publicly funded, run and managed health service that the Secretary of State has a duty to provide and that is comprehensive and free at the point of need)  I am asking you to make sure that the Health Select Committee considers the need for:

  • Adequate funding – as the sixth richest country in the world we can perfectly well afford to fund the NHS properly.
  • Recognition that the problems of rising demands on the NHS are not down to people who are obese, mentally ill or addicted to alcohol or other drugs –   as Sustainability and Transformation Plans like to make out – but are the result of years of growing inequality and poverty that are taking their toll on people’s health, and equally, of years of undue influence over government by sections of the food industry that produce junk food.
  • An end to the privatisation and marketisation of the NHS and the restoration of a fully publicly owned, run and funded NHS that is comprehensive, the duty of the Sec of State to provide, and free at the point of use based on clinical need – apart from anything else, this will save at least 10% of the NHS budget that is currently wasted on the costs of marketisation and privatisation
  • An end to the 5 year Forward View and STPs, which aim to impose a US-style private health care system on the NHS, complete with its payment systems, care models, and workforce models.

I note that the terms of reference for the Health Select Committee inquiry into the state of NHS Finances are exactly as NHS Providers suggested. This is disturbing.

The NHS Confederation (the organisation that represents the interests of private health companies in the NHS) has also submitted written evidence from its Chair, Stephen Dorrell, who is also a senior adviser at KPMG –  a position he took up while still an MP, leading to calls for his resignation because of the obvious conflict of interest.

Once he stepped down as an MP at the 2015 General Election, Stephen Dorrell sped through the revolving door to advise private  health firms how to capitalise on NHS changes. He told them the NHS should no longer be seen as a “national religion” but a “service sector” with huge economic value.

Dorrell’s “evidence”  extols Simon Stevens’ 5 Year Forward View and its fast track implementation by Sustainability and Transformation Plans. This is driven by private health companies’ self interest: Sustainability and Transformation Funding commits to an increase in NHS privatisation. This was a condition of the extra money made available for the STPs in the Autumn 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review.

Corporate Watch reports on the influence over the NHS Confederation of the NHS Partners Network, a group of private health companies that successfully lobbied Andrew Lansley – Jeremy Hunt’s predecessor – on the Conservative’s “draft bill” that went on to become the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

The Chief Executive of NHS Clinical Commissioners has also given written evidence to the inquiry, saying that 31 CCGs ended 2015/16 in deficit and more CCGs are entering into and predicting future deficits for the first time. Their proposed solution?

They:

“agree with the NHS Providers that there are some stark choices to make…around…having a serious debate about what can be funded and the routes to access within the existing financial envelope, moving ahead confidently with service reconfiguration and controlling the cost of the NHS workforce.”

What do they mean, when they say “the routes to access within the existing financial envelope”? Whose routes to access, to what? Do they mean patients’ access to NHS services and treatments? If so, is this code for charging? And/or cherrypicking only some patients who will be able to access treatments? No wonder euphemisms litter the page.

Please will the Health Select Committee get to the bottom of what these euphemisms really mean, and why the NHS Clinical Commissioners are unable or unwilling to communicate clearly?

They say “We strongly believe there must be a national debate about the future of the NHS and the funding pressures on the service” – but they are not calling for the government to relieve the funding pressures by investing properly in the NHS.

Instead, they say – outrageously, in my opinion:

“Politicians must support commissioners to make decisions locally about how to allocate finite resources.”

Surely, politicians must support the public who elected them, in making sure that the NHS is properly publicly funded, owned and run, and remains a comprehensive health service that is free at the point of use and based on patients’ clinical needs. And the duty of the Secretary of State to provide such a health service must be restored, since it was removed by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act that was implemented without any democratic mandate, since it was not in either the Tory or LibDem 2010 General Election manifestos.

Altogether, we are very worried about the terms of this Health Select Committee inquiry, and the written evidence that NHS Providers, the NHS Confederation and NHS Clinical Commissioners have submitted to the inquiry. We hope the Health Select Committee will consider our evidence too.

Advertisements

3 comments

  1. Thank you so much for your letter to Dr Sarah Woolaston which I used as the basis for a submission by Save Our Hospitals (www.saveourhospitals.net) based in Hammersmith and Fulham. We are campaigning to save Charing Cross and Ealing hospitals against a 54-page STP which is a “wish-list” for NW London, not a plan. Cuts are mentioned on almost every single page….

    Like

    • Thanks Una, glad it was useful. I haven’t watched the Health Select Committee inquiry on tv but it should be on the Parliament website. The CCGs are guarding the West Yorkshire & Harrogate footprint STP like dragons, so we haven’t seen what’s in it. But we know it will mean cuts and more privatisation, we just don’t know where these will fall.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s