Statement from NHA Party co-leader Dr Clive Peedell in reaction to King’s Fund condemnation of Government’s NHS reforms
The National Health Action Party was launched in 2012 specifically in opposition to the government’s intended NHS reforms. The NHA Party repeatedly warned how damaging the reforms would be. Now, nearly 3 years later, we have been vindicated. It gives us no pleasure as it means we have had three wasted years under a government hell-bent on pursuing ‘damaging and distracting’ reforms that have taken the NHS to the brink and totally lost sight of who the NHS is for – the patients.
The report also confirms what we have said all along – that David Cameron misled the public over promising no top-down reorganisation when that is exactly what he recklessly went on to do, wasting billions of pounds of our money.
While the King’s Fund says the reforms have not produced widespread privatisation of NHS services, we say ‘not yet’. This is because the effects of the Health & Social Care Act are only starting to kick in. A third of NHS contracts that have been tendered so far have already gone to the private sector (1) and private healthcare companies have admitted they are expecting to see an upturn in business as the NHS continues to see its budget squeezed and are optimistic Tories will speed up expansion of private sector role in NHS. (2)
It’s also important to point out that the private sector only wants to take on some areas of NHS work. They will never want all or indeed most of the contracts as most NHS work is not profitable. They cherry pick the profitable contracts leaving the NHS with the costly complex work. So it’s misleading to look at the overall percentage of private sector involvement.
An experienced health commissioner wrote a few months ago explaining why the full impact of the government’s legislation has yet to be felt: “I can explain the workings of the clinical commissioning groups. We will begin to see radical changes to where the NHS budget is spent only once CCGs have rewritten the documentation for invitations to tender. The first wave of contracts will be let next April; then I expect the volume to increase in subsequent years. Therefore Oliver Letwin is perfectly correct, if he indeed said that the NHS will no longer exist in five years.” (3)
The NHA Party has so far announced it’s fielding a dozen candidates at the general election – and we are about to announce more. We hope the public will punish the government for unleashing these disastrous reforms.