Bradford East MP, Imran Hussain has today blasted the Government’s new Health and Care Bill, stating that measures in the Bill to allow private companies onto local health boards will undermine the NHS’s responsibilities to the public and encourage further privatisation.
Under the Government’s Health and Care Bill to be voted on by MPs today, local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) which were created in the last round of NHS reforms in 2012 will be abolished and replaced by Integrated Care System (ICS) Boards.
However, as the British Medical Association (BMA) have warned, the Bill leaves open the possibility for corporate healthcare providers to gain seats on ICS Boards, allowing them to influence the Board’s strategy and risking conflicts of interest in commissioning decisions, which has been strongly criticised by Mr Hussain as a dangerous threat to the future of the NHS.
The Bill has also been criticised for putting the NHS’s workforce under threat, as despite there being over 100,000 FTE vacancies listed in the NHS before the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, of which 40,000 were nursing vacancies, the Bill does nothing to boost recruitment in the NHS nor anything to address the concerns of the quarter of NHS workers who YouGov found are likely to quit because they are unhappy about their pay, frustrated about understaffing or exhausted by Covid-19.
Speaking on the Government’s Health and Care Bill, Imran said:
“Two years ago we managed to fight off plans to introduce privatisation by the back door at hospitals in Bradford, yet despite the huge public support for this campaign and immense opposition to allowing the private sector in our NHS, the Government’s Health and Care Bill will allow private companies to take seats on local health boards.
“I have always been clear in my opposition to the creeping privatisation that is taking place in our NHS, and I am just as clear that private companies whose first responsibility is to shareholders, not patients, should be nowhere near the decision making process on contracts and care. The Government should therefore listen to the public and drop this incredibly dangerous piece of legislation.
“The timing of this new Bill is also deeply alarming as telling hardworking and hard-pressed NHS staff, doctors and nurses to prepare for another top-down reorganisation rather than helping them to deliver better care, cutting waiting times and giving them a proper pay rise as they grapple with a global pandemic is incredibly irresponsible.”