'We voted for the Health and Care Bill to be scrapped'

Campaigners during the "Howl of Protest" demonstration called by Hands Off Our NHS campaig

A 2016 protest to Save Our NHS - Credit: PA

The following statement  by Tony O’Sullivan and John Puntis, co-chairs of Keep Our NHS Public, can be found with more information on the website keepournhspublic.com.

"The Health and Care Bill is now on its way to getting Royal Assent as all objections and opposition has been brushed aside. The government has got its way and will divide the NHS into over 40 separate units/integrated care systems (ICS) acting virtually autonomously."  

Shame! Hornsey Pensioners Action Group voted unanimously at its meeting on March 16 for this bill to be scrapped.  

The act includes no increased funding for the NHS. When Covid 19 hit in 2020, the NHS was considerably weakened by austerity policies that resulted in a 40% cut in hospital beds, savage cuts in NHS staff and many health services. Yet NHS workers gave their all; now they struggle to cope with a backlog of patients.

Scrutiny is reduced under the act and local action is urgent. The campaign group We Own It (weownit.org.uk) urges us to write to the designated chair, Mike Cooke, of the North Central London Integrated Care Board with a simple demand: “Rebuild our NHS: Get private profits out!” 

Over the years there have been many attempts to weaken the NHS, to undermine its fundamental role to provide universal healthcare services, delivered where needed and paid for by taxation. We were warned. Many books were published that expose measures designed to introduce marketisation and opportunities for speculators. Some are on my shelves and their details will be listed on our website hornseypag.org.uk.  

Hornsey Pensioners Action Group's Janet Shapiro

Janet Shapiro is concerned about the The Health and Care Bill - Credit: HPAG

Our group will be concerned that the act does nothing to assure members of secure long-term care. This is currently blatantly unfair. Social care delivered by local authorities is means-tested, whereas hospital care is free. The fate of an individual needing care varies according to their illness and living conditions. The rules are complicated – not easily understood by the patient or carers but the consequences can be devastating.  

The recently much lauded increase of the social care cap to £86,000 will certainly benefit the wealthy. However, those with modest savings will see these eaten up very quickly, after which they may anticipate a pauper’s funeral.  

This affects us all. The government must be urged to implement the NPC policy as explained in Goodbye Cinderella at npcuk.org, then everyone can expect good quality, dignified and cost effective care when it’s needed.  

Janet Shapiro is coordinator of Hornsey Pensioners Action Group (HPAG).