By Lucette Davies

With the NHS on the critical list, and MPs debating the removal of its life support, our campaign plans to fight back with everything we have got. A Bill is making its way through Parliament now that is going to shatter our NHS into pieces. But we believe, the survival of our NHS is essential if we are to ever rebuild this broken country. Because without it we will become a population struggling with illness, lack of care and debt due to healthcare costs.

The Health and Care Bill 2021 proposes breaking our NHS up into 42 separate healthcare systems. Each healthcare system will be managed by a Board which will be heavily populated by individuals from private corporations. We could find ourselves with the likes of Virgin Healthcare having control over what services are available to us. Virgin Healthcare actually sued the NHS when they lost one contract. They pay no tax in the UK and are the biggest private provider of NHS services in the UK. It’s hard to believe they are interested in anything other than their own profits.

These Boards are likely to be serving very large populations and local authorities will get little say in the services available to the people who elected them. Local democracy and accountability will be lost.

This Bill is also going to give far greater powers to the Health Secretary. He will have the right to change any regulatory standards that apply to healthcare professions. He could also remove the regulatory body for any healthcare profession. And, have the right to change the law using secondary legislation.

This Bill should terrify every one of us. We all know that every NHS trust was building up substantial deficits prior to the pandemic. Our Government kept insisting that it was vital we lived within our means and pressured trusts into reducing deficits. But then, come the pandemic suddenly our Government pays off every NHS deficit that existed.

If this Bill becomes law each of the 42 systems will be given a pot of money to run their healthcare services. The service provision will no longer match the needs of the population it will match the size of the pot. Deficits will not be an option but with regulatory standards shattered care standards will be reduced. The fact that there will be no obligation for Boards to ensure the provision of hospital services is extremely worrying.

We can fight this, because once you start getting your head round the details of what is being proposed it is so obviously wrong. Our population cares about their NHS and the lack of action in fighting this Bill may be entirely due to lack of awareness.

We will be in the Town Centre from 11 am on Wednesday 15th Sep to begin our campaign against this Bill. We hope to raise awareness but also inspire others to act. All the MPs in East Sussex have voted in favour of the Bill at the second reading so a good start will be to write to Caroline Ansell. We have also written an open letter to the County Councillors which you can sign by visiting our website.

Britain needs its NHS please do all you can to fight back against this appalling destruction of our healthcare.