Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/675/12216
Con-Dem health plans ignore patients and staff
Terry Pearce, Chair Bracknell Unite (personal capacity)
The Socialist's coverage of the Con-Dems' destructive Health and Social Care Bill has exposed the government's privatising agenda. Alongside £20 billion worth of cuts to services and jobs, we see the start of the fragmentation of the NHS as pieces are hived off to the private sector.
The NHS is the centrepiece of the post-war Labour government's reforms and the working class will not easily let this ideologically driven government destroy it.
We must also vigorously challenge the total lack of democratic accountability of the proposals by patients and staff. The plan to dismantle Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and replace them with GP consortiums has not gone through parliament, yet the process has already begun. Many PCTs are being run down and in many areas 'pioneer' GP consortiums are in place.
The PCTs themselves were far from democratic, but there was an element of democratic accountability with the involvement of councillors and patient groups.
But the rapidly growing GP consortiums appear to have no checks on their activities. Such GP consortiums will be responsible for spending £80 billion of our money and at present they are virtually unchecked.
The government plans to create or adapt bodies to monitor the consortiums' activities. These include Health and Wellbeing Boards, Healthwatch, the misnamed Monitor as well as the Care Quality Commission (CQC). At present only CQC appears to be in place and, judging by their pathetic role in regulating private care homes, we can have little confidence in their effectiveness.
Despite David Cameron's recent protestations that Monitor's main role was "promoting the interests of patients" its major role will still be to 'encourage' more competition in the NHS, in other words privatisation. Health and Wellbeing Boards and Healthwatch have yet to be established in most areas and where they have been, they are at an embryo stage.
In my area the GP consortium refuses to talk to the democratically elected LINks (local health watchdog) and ploughs on with no control over its activities.
Most people have no idea what's going on in their name. Except for a few Patient Participation Groups there is no accountability to the local community.
The health unions and local anti-cuts groups must take up these questions of democratic accountability and demand that no decisions are taken in our names without accountability to patients and health employees.
- No to privatisation of any part of the NHS.
- Reject the Health and Social Care Bill.
In The Socialist 15 June 2011:
Fighting the cuts
NHS news & campaigning
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis