By Lucette Davies

Our Government is planning another top-down reorganisation of our NHS which should alarm us all.

The proposals have resulted in a barrage of misleading information from the media most of which is fictitious.

Our campaign has had a number of people contacting us to ask for our interpretation so this column will explain how we responded.

As has been said before – every new policy on the NHS needs to be viewed as a stepping stone towards an end goal.

We need to look at the direction we are heading in rather than judge each step on its own. So, to the many who have asked us if this will be a reversal of privatisation our answer has been a very definite no.

NHS policy particularly since the days of Thatcher has always been about enabling business to gain more profit from the NHS. Since the Health and Social Care Act (HSCA) 2012 the opportunity to profit from ill health in the UK has risen dramatically.

The HSCA 2012 resulted in Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) putting services out to tender. Many services are now run by private healthcare providers such as the Horder Centre in Eastbourne which provides physiotherapy. But delivering healthcare has proved less profitable than many would like. The HSCA 2012 also ended up less successful at controlling spending than expected.

This reorganisation is going to give a legal basis for Integrated Care Systems which we actually already have. These systems are designed to control how much is spent on healthcare so will please the bean counters of Downing Street. But look across at America and you can see that their ICSs known as Healthcare Management Organisations (HMOs) are where the big bucks are really made.

Our Government intends to reorganise the NHS to give them a means of reducing spending and their mates in big business the chance to make more profit. Only recently we saw a Court declare that Matt Hancock acted unlawfully by handing out massive contracts during the pandemic without proper competitive tendering. Unsurprisingly they intend to give Matt Hancock greater power – they don’t want that sort of embarrassment again.

In East Sussex we saw two smaller Clinical Commissioning Groups merge to give us East Sussex CCG. In West Sussex the hospital trust is merging with the trust in Brighton. Eventually all CCGs will be disbanded and 42 ICSs created. In this area the ICS will govern over East Surrey and the whole of Sussex so we will lose all local accountability.

We have discussed this loss of local accountability with County Councillors in Eastbourne. We have also asked East Sussex Healthcare Trust which of their services will be taken over by the new trust.

These are frightening times – our country has the highest death rate in the world from this pandemic. And as anyone who is watching the People’s Covid Inquiry will realise this was entirely avoidable. Our NHS is being mismanaged.

The future is bleak unless we unite and fight back together. Please email me, lucette888@hotmail.co.uk if you would like to help. I truly believe we can do this.

More Information: https://esussexsavethenhs.org.uk