The National Pensioners Convention response to NHS England’s recent consultation on Integrated Care Services doesn’t pull its punches. It rejects integrated care systems that it says will not fix existing problems of NHS underfunding, means-tested and marketised social care and politically-motivated rationing of NHS and care services.
Their response calls for the replacement of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act with the Reinstatement of the NHS Bill along with the return of accountability for the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care. It dismisses the piecemeal proposals in the consultation document which, the National Pensioners Convention says, amount to more of the same NHS cuts and privatisation and underfunded, means-tested social care.
Britain’s biggest independent organisation for older people, which represents around one thousand local, regional, and national pensioner groups with total of 1.2m members, has told the quango that:
“The NPC understands the role that ‘integration’ can play in delivering quality health and care services, but the experience on the ground so far is sadly mismatched to the claims in the consultation document.
“In reality, we have seen:
- Between 1987/88 and 2019/20, the total number of NHS hospital beds in England fell by 53 per cent – from 299,4000 to 141,000. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/nhs-hospital-bed-numbers#hospital-beds-in-england-and-abroad
- Closure of A&E departments, Stroke Units, Maternity Units and other significant services in the NHS.
- Removal of services to ‘hubs’ that are not exactly accessible to those without transport (personal or public)
- Loss of ‘support services’ either to private providers or just not there anymore. The NPC ‘Goodbye Cinderella’ advocates preventative services being widely available to enable individuals and their carers to maintain their independence, health and well-being and social inclusion wherever they are.
“There is no data provided in your document as proof of the ‘success’ of ICS projects. This must be provided before any further actions are taken. It would be remiss of NHS England to imagine that given the above list of ‘on the ground’ failures, that giving ICS legal standing will dramatically change delivery.
“In our opinion, the consultation document lacks perspective, has no data to show outcomes either positive or negative and is, in effect, a meaningless exercise.”
You can download and read the whole response from the National Pensioners Convention here:
If you were unaware of this important consultation, which ran for 6 weeks over Christmas with very little publicity or public awareness, and you would like an opportunity to respond, here is information about how to contact your MP and ask them to take action to extend the consultation and publicise it properly.