Scrap section 75 – NHS England’s other legislation proposals are ‘business as usual’

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KONP rejects all except one of NHSE’s proposed changes to NHS laws

[Read our full response to NHS England here and read the paper with NHSE’s legislative proposals here]

We join with ‘We Own It’ in calling for Section 75 to be scrapped

  • NHS England (NHSE) is proposing an end to enforced competitive tendering of clinical services ie the abolition of Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act.
  • But NHS England is NOT proposing an end to all contracting.
  • KONP calls for a complete end to competitive tendering in the NHS
  • KONP and We Own It support the demand for an end to section 75 (s75)
  • Write to NHS England (deadline 25 April) using the letter from We Own It ‘Stop private companies suing the NHS’. Over 8000 people have already written!

 What are Section 75 regulations and why do we support their repeal?
Section 75 regulations are part of the implementation of the much-hated 2012 Health & Social Care Act (implemented April 2013). KONP campaigned vigorously against both. We correctly argued at the time that serious damage would be done by s75 regulations, enforcing competitive tendering of clinical services. Amidst other related dangers – including the spectre of Integrated Care Providers and the ICP contract – the damage done by s75 regulations is real and present.

Scrapping s75 will help campaigners oppose local privatisation plans as we can more easily challenge a local CCG’s decision to tender a contract – the CCG would no longer be able to hide behind the excuse that the law compels them.

 We ask campaigners to engage with this consultation

We ask individuals and organisations campaigning for the NHS to make their views known so that silence is not interpreted as agreement.

We argue that there is no sensible reason why campaigners, who fought to prevent this Act ever going through, would not support the scrapping of one of the most damaging sections of the act – section 75 – that has led to the carve-up of the NHS through multiple contracts and a competitive market.

We do not support the rest of the proposals

Why? Because their aim is primarily to facilitate the setting up of Integrated Care Systems and new Integrated Care Providers – using the ICP contract we have already campaigned against and explained why we oppose it.

NHS England is proposing to continue with the contracting and marketing framework. Their aims are clear in the Long Term Plan:

  • to deliver a cost-control framework involving rationing of many services and withdrawal of many others from NHS provision
  • to get NHS trusts to maximise their privately earned income
  • to set up large integrated care systems with the aim that these will evolve into integrated care providers, which will be managed through long-term commercial contracts and will continue to sub-contract
  • to impose a highly centralised process of officer-led bodies in NHS, giving more power centrally and without guarantees of local democratic accountability. Supporters of Lansley’s 2012 Act thought (wrongly) that it was about decentralisation; now NHSE is reverting to centralised control once again.

 KONP calls for:

  • an end to contracting and privatisation altogether, beyond an end to s75 and its regulations
  • a return to the NHS being run by wholly public bodies – with no involvement or influence from private company interests in the running of public statutory bodies, committees-in-common or partnership boards
  • wholly public statutory bodies, meeting in public: their papers and minutes available to the public; their proposals for change subject to public consultation and scrutiny of elected councils; and with them subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.
  • an end to the 2012 Health and Social Care Act
  • the reinstatement of the NHS as a wholly public service. 

We call on NHS England to respond to these proposals.

NHSE states that it wishes to limit the damage done by compulsory tendering.[1] But it is absolutely clear by NHSE’s actions that it is seeking fewer, and very big, network contracts for pathology, specialised imaging and indeed – the ultimate aim – Integrated Care Provider organisations managed through commercial contracts.

It is very clear from the NHS in Scotland and Wales that health boards can deliver the NHS without compulsory tendering and with the involvement of the local authorities. We call for the setting up of Health Boards instead of integrated care systems and the return to geographically based responsibility for the health of local populations as set out in the NHS Reinstatement Bill.

What you can do

  • ‘Stop private companies suing the NHS’ – respond to NHS England’s public engagement using We Own It’s letter (deadline 25 April)
  • Join KONP  – see below
  • Find your local group and join with us in our work

MORE INFORMATION

Join Keep Our NHS Public today!


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5 Comments

  1. This report is well thought through and argued but my position is that competitive tendering regulations act as an obstacle to ill thought through NHS strategies.
    In these circumstances it is clear that the main motivation of the NHS is to facilitate the creation of accountable care organisations without the complication of competitive tendering but not ruling out private sector involvement. This is a very dangerous development.
    It would be better given the limited availability of Parliamentary time for a better package of new legislation to be presented dealing with social care funding, capital funding following the demise of PFI funding, a better set of measures to deal with the staffing crisis in the NHS, and for measures to ensure proper local accountability and control of health services and away from the current drift of health policy into new unaccountable STP structures lacking in democratic legitimacy and a coherent place in legislation which remains structured around the purchaser/provider split and the internal competitive NHS market in health services.
    The NHS doesn’t need tinkering it needs a comprehensive rethink.

    • Thank you Roger. The problem is not just the limited parliamentary time but the total lack of any chance whatsoever in this Parliament of more progressive legislation. I agree of course that a comprehensive rethink is necessary – which is why I and KONP have been supporting the Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill since June 2014. The political question is: in the context of our strong and ongoing campaigning for long-term comprehensive change – if offered the option of ending section 75 and its regulations tomorrow, thus ending compulsory tendering and protecting hundreds if not thousands of NHS services up and down the country, would we want that? Yes, in my view. And our strong campaigning against ACOs/ICOs/ICPs will continue.

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