This coming Thursday, 28th July, is the day on which South West Strategic Health Authority will meet to approve plans for all services provided by Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust to LEAVE THE NHS on 1st October. Locally, qualified NHS staff will leave the NHS and transfer into a ‘social enterprise’. Although the government claimed this month to be ‘pausing’ its unpopular NHS plans, the board of NHS Gloucestershire (unlike other neighbouring health authorities) is rushing ahead, saying it doesn’t need to consult local people – which is why you may not even have been aware of these plans!
There will be a demonstration outside Stroud General Hospital at 12.30pm on the 28th July at which people from anywhere in the county can show their opposition.
These untested plans are being pushed through without proper consultation of NHS staff, who are deeply concerned. In every Trust that has been balloted on similar changes, 90%+ of NHS staff have opposed them & changes have been overturned, but staff have not been balloted here.
5 REASONS WHY THIS MUST BE STOPPED:
- It is a BIG STEP TOWARDS PRIVATISATION of our health service. The social enterprise will only have a short contract to provide care for 3 years – after that, our local health service would be opened up to multinational healthcare companies, many US-owned. Some services may be privatised sooner. Social enterprises’ own representative body says that social enterprises that have taken over large NHS PCTs would find it hard to stop takeovers by private companies in future. In Hull, the first NHS social enterprise, several clinics have already been fully privatised.
- It is a FIGLEAF FOR CUTS, POORER CARE AND LONGER WAITING LISTS. Whatever rumours are being spread about new hospitals, there is no new money – instead, £20billion of NHS cuts have already started. The Royal College of Nursing has talked of ‘stealth cuts’ to staff – up to 50,000 frontline job losses. Private companies will only provide money for buildings and services if they can make a profit by charging more than the public sector, and/or providing a poorer service (as the last government admitted happened with the private treatment clinics and with PFI building projects). So we will all end up paying more either as taxpayers, or directly as patients. The cap on hospitals & clinics earning income from private patients will no longer apply, meaning that our hospitals and clinics would have no choice but to prioritise those who can afford to pay, at the expense of those who can’t, and NHS provision would gradually wither away.
- There will be a LOSS of quality, trained staff as the terms and conditions of staff around Gloucestershire will no longer keep pace with those of NHS staff in neighbouring NHS Trusts.
- All decisions, including the awarding of multi-million pound contracts, would be made BEHIND LOCKED DOORS. Freedom of information laws would no longer apply and we would have no right to see records of decisions or about possible conflicts of interest, incompetence or corruption. This was the same lack of transparency that allowed Southern Cross to implode so devastatingly. Some of those making decisions now already have business interests in private health companies and turning hospitals into luxury flats – would we even be able to know this, in future?
- It will require MORE, NOT LESS BUREAUCRACY, including more committees, new logos, different uniforms, tax disadvantages. Other PCTs have pulled back from the social enterprise route when they have realised the colossal waste of money involved.
‘The NHS will exist for as long as there are people left with faith to fight for it’
Nye Bevan, founder of the NHS