NHS crisis: Into the Red Zone
Keep Our NHS Public has produced a briefing paper for MPs, councillors and health campaigners in England, on the crisis facing the NHS in the period immediately following the June 2017 election.
NHS Crisis: Into the Red Zone is written by Dr John Lister, co-chair of KONP and editor of Health Campaigns Together, it is available as a very informative and fully referenced text version and in magazine format.
Our executive summary introduces the serious issues facing the NHS, which have escalated since the general election. We are asking campaigners to share this executive summary with their local MPs, local authority scrutiny leads and councillors.
We feel there has never been a more urgent moment for elected representatives to be well informed about the NHS and to stand up and be counted in its defence.
Many have misunderstood NHS England’s Sustainability and Transformation Plans. They may see only the positive messages and be blinded by the impossibility of achieving them whilst the NHS experiences unprecedented austerity. They may then not see the dangers and loss of democracy in installing US-style accountable care systems, which are attempting to bypass local authority scrutiny and to overrule individual CCGs.
We outline the dangers inherent in the Government’s adoption of the Naylor Review, and intentions to sell off £5bn of NHS estate – gone for ever to pay today’s bills: Theresa May committed to this terrible policy during the election
We also highlight the insidious Capped Expenditure Process. NHS England and NHS Improvement have imposed this on 14 STP areas, by secretive directives exposed just before polling day. This is serious – with threats of special measures imposed on trusts of CCGs if they overspend in order to protect the health of their population, faced with unacceptable reduction in required rate of funding.
We are calling on our elected representatives to put pressure on the Government for an urgent change of policy towards the NHS and social care, and an end to further damaging cuts, closures and mergers contained within the 44 STPs. We ask them to lobby for a halt the Capped Expenditure Process and a rejection of Naylor-inspired sell-off of NHS estates.
We are imploring councillors to use LA democratic processes, backed by their MPs to slow and halt the STPs and the moves to cash-capped accountable care systems driving through cuts. City & Hackney CCG has recently questioned the legality of the imposition of a single accountable care officer to the East London Health and Care Partnership (ie the local STP board) and the Health in Hackney Scrutiny Commission has supported the CCG’s challenge.
Lastly, we comment on how the Commonwealth Fund findings (Mirror Mirror 2017) – leapt on by NHS England and Jeremy Hunt as proof of the success of the NHS in the UK – need to be interpreted with caution, with major caveats including the need to see it as a largely qualitative comparative survey based on data already two years old or more. The NHS has suffered greatly since 2014/15. It must not be used by the Government as a screen to hide the desperate situation facing the NHS.
The NHS urgently needs your help. Please read our briefing and join us to take positive steps.
Download the cover letter to MPs and councillors here
Download the executive summary here
The full report in text with live links to references here
The magazine version here
HCT 4 November conference for campaigners – book now
Tony O’Sullivan and John Lister, co-chairs, Keep Our NHS Public