Managers oppose the ‘enormous risk’ of the NHS White Paper


NHS managers have warned in a report from the NHS Confederation that the Lansley NHS White Paper will lead to hospital closures and constitutes an ‘enormous risk’ to UK health care.

As well as hospital closures, the Tory privatisation plan will bring in treatment rationing and lower standards of patient care, add the managers.

They sum up their position by describing the proposed transfer of the entire commissioning power to GPs as ‘extraordinarily risky’.

The Health and Social Care Bill is set to be published on Wednesday.

Under it, the Primary Care Trusts are to be abolished and the commissioning of £80bn worth of treatment and services (80 per cent of the NHS budget) will be handed over to GP’s, who are then expected to bring in private companies to commission the treatment and services from other private companies.

GPs will be sending patients to private providers and encouraging ‘price wars’ thereby shutting down NHS hospitals and other NHS facilities.

This constitutes the crudest possible bid to privatise and scrap the NHS.

The managers even complain that, ‘The absence of any compelling story about why the reforms are necessary or how they will translate into improved outcomes is of concern.’

They add that they are being got rid of on the eve of the introduction of the ‘reform’ that they have been pushing, stating that the government is indulging in ‘unpleasant’ and ‘demotivating’ attacks on managers whom it is purging, while still urging them to drive the reforms through.

The managers’ report follows on from a letter signed by over 100 doctors to the BMA chair Doctor Meldrum complaining at the way the BMA leaders have been working with the Lansley plan.

It stated: ‘The White Paper has not even been published as a Health Bill as yet. It will then need to be read in Parliament and then go through the legislative process. We are therefore very concerned that the BMA and more specifically the BMA General Practitioners Committee (GPC) is treating proposed policy (i.e a White Paper) as if it is policy.’

The letter continued: ‘It is therefore clearly time for the BMA to withdraw its “critical engagement” policy with the coalition government and start to engage properly with the membership. It is remarkable that despite “the most radical restructuring of the NHS since its inception” [8], BMA Council recently voted against holding a Special Representative Meeting (SRM) of the BMA to allow its membership to debate the current proposals.’

It added: ‘We believe that the BMA and more specifically the BMA GPC currently has no mandate from the BMA membership to continue with the “critical engagement” policy that it is still clearly employing.

‘We have serious concerns that the White Paper reforms will fundamentally undermine the founding principles of the NHS by creating a much more expensive and inequitable market-based healthcare system. This “Curate’s Egg” is a rotten egg. However, we also believe that it is not too late to save the NHS by derailing the White Paper reforms.’

The 100 doctors called for a Special Annual Representative Meeting precisely to ‘derail the White Paper reforms’.

There must be such a meeting, and all the health trade unions should be invited to send delegations to participate and observe.

This will create the conditions for organising TUC-supported industrial action throughout the NHS and the rest of industry to save the NHS by smashing and defeating the NHS White Paper and The Health and Social Care Bill.

This must become policy as must be the occupation of all NHS hospitals and facilities that the Tory-led coalition attempts to shut down and close. They must be kept open at all costs!