‘WITHDRAW HEALTH BILL’ – urge Public Health Doctors

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An emergency meeting of public health doctors has called for the withdrawal of the Health and Social Care Bill and for other medical Royal Colleges and other bodies to oppose the Bill.

On Wednesday 25th January, there was an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Faculty of Public Health.

The Public Health for NHS Group had called for this meeting to take place.

The following Public Health for NHS Group motion was overwhelmingly passed in all its parts.

‘That this meeting

a) considers that the Health and Social Care Bill, if passed, will damage the NHS and the health of the public in England

‘b) calls upon the Faculty of Public Health to demand complete withdrawal of the Health and Social Care Bill

‘c) calls upon the Faculty of Public Health to seek an alliance with the RCGP, and other medical Royal Colleges and other bodies to oppose the Bill.’

Meanwhile, health experts, writing in the Lancet yesterday warned that the Health and Social Care Bill 2011 would end entitlement to comprehensive health care in England.

They write: ‘The National Health Service (NHS) in England has been a leading international model of tax-financed, universal health care.

‘Legal analysis shows that the Health and Social Care Bill currently making its way through the UK Parliament would abolish that model and pave the way for the introduction of a US-style health system by eroding entitlement to equality of healthcare provision.

‘The Bill severs the duty of the Secretary of State for Health to secure comprehensive health care throughout England and introduces competitive markets and structures consistent with greater inequality of provision, mixed funding, and widespread provision by private health corporations.’

Their article adds: ‘Fundamental to the Bill are provisions that transform a mandatory system into a discretionary one with structures that permit the introduction of charging for services that are currently free under the NHS, as well as a system in which much delivery would be privatised.

‘Under the current statutory framework the government has a legal duty to secure comprehensive health care, whereas, under the new system, substantial discretionary powers will instead be extended to commissioners and providers of care.

‘These measures will increase inequalities of provision.

‘Clauses 1 and 12 of the Bill will dismantle key sections of the 1946 founding legislation of the NHS by repealing the unifying duty from which all other legislative powers and functions flow.’