By Lucette Davies 26 August 2021

Caroline Ansell displayed little regard for local democracy when she voted in favour of another top down reorganisation of our NHS. The Health and Care Bill 2021 is not only an attack on local democracy but a devastating blow to the NHS as a whole. And our County Councillors has shown no sign of even noticing this is happening.

This Bill will result in the UK health service being arranged in true American style. We will have 42 different bodies, called Integrated Care Systems or Providers across England. Each of those will be given a single pot of money to provide all the health and care for the area they are responsible for.

This Bill is laying out what the structure of these bodies will look like. They are allowing one seat on the Board of an ICS for the local authority. But private providers such as Virgin Healthcare will also get a seat. It is highly unlikely that Virgin Healthcare, which once sued the NHS, will use their position on an ICS board for anything other than their own gain. They, and many other private healthcare corporations even use complex tax avoidance schemes to avoid paying the taxes that help fund our NHS. It’s hard to imagine they would give an iota of thought to protecting public health.

We will no longer have the local authority overseeing and scrutinising the healthcare services we have available locally. They will simply become just one voice in an array of other voices when decisions are taken. So while we still have the Health Overview Scrutiny Committee surely they should be using their voices to stop this attack on public health?

We have written an open letter to our County Councillors calling for them to start using their voices while they still can. This open letter is on our website and anyone can add their name to it by simply typing it in the comment section. We didn’t vote for an MP who wants to see the privatisation of the NHS or Councillors who stay silent when our access to healthcare is about to be compromised. We need to remind our elected officials of this.

I know many people are saying they have given up on the NHS and bought private healthcare insurance. If enough people stop using the NHS, the politicians will be able to justify allowing its demise to happen. And if we end up with a system where we all have to buy private health insurance we will see many people going bankrupt because of healthcare costs.

We all know what it is like when you need to claim on your car or home insurance. We know how determined these companies can be to not pay out. So why are so many seeing private healthcare insurance as an appealing option?

The reality is that the NHS was set up as the fairest method of delivering healthcare to the nation. And, it also gave us the most efficient use of available funding for the healthcare system. Rich or poor that is what we still need. Please sign our letter and write to Caroline Ansell to remind her of this fact.