National Health Action Party press release 19th October 2016
The National Health Action Party submitted evidence to the Lords' Committee into the long-term sustainability of the NHS.
The Lords' committee which is reviewing the long-term financial sustainability of the NHS has been hearing oral evidence since June first in private sessions and since 12 July they have held four public sessions. The committee made a second call for written evidence to be submitted by 20 September. The deadline for the committee to report its findings is 31 March 2017.
NHA says, 'The main line of questioning from the Committee to date seems to centre around a continuation of the current plans, which are shrinking the NHS, reducing both services and available treatments and looking at introducing alternative payment methods.
We thought it essential to ask why there is no serious consideration given to the reinstatement of the NHS as a publicly owned and delivered service. It is not just a question of cost effectiveness, but also of standing up for the principles that make the NHS what it is. If it isn't universal, comprehensive and accessible, it doesn't deserve the name of the NHS.
We are delighted to see some of the leading campaign groups in the country have also made submissions which have been published by the committee. We hope there is now a chance that we will see the competing arguments of public service versus the competitive market properly discussed.
Our candidate Dr Helen Salisbury is currently campaigning in the Witney by-election. Even the ex-PM's own constituency was offered no protection from the brutal cuts being imposed on the NHS in the name of 'sustainability'. Hypocritically he argued against those closures even though they were caused by his policies."
The Summary of our evidence
- to ensure that the Lords evaluate the future of the NHS within an evidence based framework which includes a full publicly provided service as a substantive option
- to demonstrate that issues of sustainability, which we understand to be defined as providing a service within set financial constraints, are best addressed by public ownership and provision with full public funding
- to demonstrate that the costs of marketisation and competition within the NHS are a barrier to maintaining efficiency, integration and cost control within a public service
- to address issues arising from the use of language which we believe forms a barrier to public understanding of what is happening and consequently a barrier to meaningful consultation
- to argue that the primary purpose of the NHS is to provide a comprehensive, universal and accessible high quality service free at the point of need and use for both rich and poor people without discrimination. Its principles are equitable, that is to say that money will not gain advantage, nor will poverty disadvantage anyone. It is clinical need, including ability to benefit not ability to pay, which determines care.
- To argue that any fundamental compromise to these principles should be made explicit to the public.
- To recommend that the beginning of any process which embeds a fundamental change to the principles of the NHS should include a change of name so that the public are clear what is happening. The creation of a two tier service, one self-paid the other state funded, is not the NHS.
Other notable evidence for public ownership and provision also published includes