'The NHS and Care Bill will be very bad for all of us'

A pharmacist stocks shelves at a chemist in Dublin as Health Minister Mary Harney was urged to be ca

There is a consultation on aligning the upper age for NHS prescription exemptions with State Pension age - Credit: PA Images

Local pensioner groups like ours are struggling but it is "us oldies" that give "wake-up" calls to younger generations, trying to expose what is happening under cover of Covid.

Webinars were launched in June by National Pensioners Convention, presenting expert speakers on a range of issues affecting older people. View these on npcuk.org

One important issue raised was that the NHS and Care Bill will be very bad for all of us, young and old. Despite quoting "integration", the bill will make the NHS more centralised and less accountable. It will favour private providers, ration services and cut costs using less well-qualified staff. The NPC works with We Own It and Keep Our NHS Public (KONP), the latter carrying clear details about the bill on its website keepournhspublic.com

Janet Shapiro says Freedom Passes lead to well-being in pensioners.

Janet Shapiro says Freedom Passes lead to well-being in pensioners. - Credit: Archant

The bill passed its second reading on July 14 and returns to parliament after the recess and must be opposed, but before then please respond to a consultation published by the Department of Health and Social Care on July 1 for eight weeks. See consultation on aligning the upper age for NHS prescription exemptions with state pension age - gov.uk 

A call for reduced public expenditure from stalwart supporters of the government had led to this consultation seeking views from the public on options for implementing a change in the age at which people in England become eligible for free prescriptions from the current age of 60 to state pension age. Many of those affected would fail to take the prescribed medicines, their deteriorating health placing additional burdens upon health and care services.

Speakers at the NPC webinars included Professor Michael Marmot who drew attention to long term stark inequalities in the UK and the slowing down in deprived areas of earlier increases in life expectancy. Daniela Jenkins spoke on Women’s pension. Her group, the Women’s Budget Group, had produced a report claiming economic benefits from an investment in social care, three times what would be achieved by the same investment in construction.

Live meetings are badly missed, but we stay alert and speak out hoping that good sense will prevail.

Janet Shapiro is from Hornsey Pensioners Action Group.


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