The new bill would lead to the biggest and most disruptive reorganisation in the history of the NHS, at a cost of £2bn; creating more quangos with unclear roles, meaning more money spent on bureaucracy, not less.
Even without these changes fully finalised, the NHS is facing real cuts now, and services are struggling.
David Cameron categorically pledged not to cut the NHS and to increase funding every year in real terms; he said he could be trusted with the NHS, but it’s clear that he cannot.
Already, government figures show an £800m funding drop in real terms for the NHS in the Coalition’s first year, and this is only going to get worse as inflation soars under Tory management.
Meanwhile the government’s drive to make £20bn of efficiency savings in England by 2015 is putting a tight squeeze on services. ‘Efficiency’ is simply translating into cuts and service reductions across the country.
We now see hospital bed numbers declining, nurses losing their jobs, patients being denied drugs, specialist services being cut or closed – including cuts to the services badly needed by the most vulnerable in our society, as baby units, children’s services and elderly care services suffer harsh cuts.
The stretch on hospitals is being felt locally – at Medway Maritime Hospital the number of patients waiting more than four hours in A&E has more than doubled in a year, and many other patients have not been treated within recommended time limits. The proposed merger with Darenth Valley Hospital is also raising concerns.
Cllr Teresa Murray, Medway Labour’s spokesperson for Health and Adult Social Care said,
“We recently held an NHS Weekend, during which many Medway residents signed a petition and spoke to us about their concerns, including lots of NHS workers who stopped to share their experiences of the cuts they are already facing at work.”
“Likewise, people are very worried that the Tories real intention is to privatise the NHS. We hope our motion to Council will respond to some of these concerns.”
“I strongly urge the Council, as well as local Tory MPs, to listen and work to oppose the legislation”
Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour’s Deputy Leader said,
“Residents should never forget that the Tories opposed the creation of the NHS in the 1940s, 60 years on they are trying to dismantle it and sell it off to the highest bidder. During our Save the NHS weekend, hundreds of residents spoke to members of the Labour team urging us to do all we can to save our NHS. We will work with residents to oppose this barmy Tory legislation”