As one might expect, Theresa May delivered a speech full of platitudes and warm words about the NHS at conference. But we aren’t hearing about fundamental new NHS plans from her, health secretary Matt Hancock or the mainstream media.
Selling off our NHS
Campaigners are pointing out that a huge NHS reorganisation is passing by unnoticed. The government plans to break up the NHS into Integrated Care Providers (ICPs) – essentially a rebrand of Accountable Care Organisations. Campaigners say this will break up the NHS into chunks, meaning the government can contract out whole areas to private providers under ‘ICP contracts’.
Keep Your NHS Public gives the following lowdown on ICPs, saying they:
- Dis-integrate the NHS
- Give control to non-NHS bodies potentially beyond scrutiny
- Threaten public accountability
- Hand over control to these non-NHS bodies for 10-15 years
- Manage multi-billion-pound contracts for blocks of 500,000 population
- Open the door to private companies winning these contracts
Under pressure from Labour and campaigners, the government has agreed to launch a consultation on the ICP plans. Members of the public have until 26 October to respond with their thoughts on the change.
Some have been getting involved on social media:
I went to one of the consultation sessions for this and couldn’t believe how blatant the language was from NHS England.we are not patients anymore, we are “service users” it’s being dismantled by government on purpose that is a fact. The call is coming from inside the house.
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— Louise Thomas (@Louise2112) October 6, 2018
The government want to package up our NHS to be sold to privatisers like Richard Branson.
We're fighting back.
Sign here to tell NHS England to SCRAP these dangerous new plans: https://t.co/I65c1oriRl
— We Own It (@We_OwnIt) October 5, 2018
Theresa May knows that one of the key objectives of American trade negotiators in a trade deal post-Brexit is to secure access for American private health companies to swallow up the NHS. It’s no secret.
Acquiescence with Brexit just isn’t an option. For the sake of our health.
— Rachael Swindon #GTTO (@Rachael_Swindon) October 6, 2018
Since entering government in 2010, the Conservative Party has critically cut NHS budgets while dramatically increasing privatisation. In 2016-17, for example, non-NHS companies won 70% of contracts in England. So given the government has given no guarantee that it won’t hand huge ICP contracts to private sector, campaigners are very concerned.
If our NHS is privatised, we will only have to buy services back at a higher cost as a result. Shareholders will syphon profits out of the service. It’s not that we can’t afford the NHS, it’s that we cannot afford life without it.
– Sign the petition to scrap these ICP contracts.
– Give ’em your thoughts through the government’s consultation on the ICP plans.
Featured image via ITV News/ YouTube
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