This website has been set up by patients4nhs – a group of patients who want to find out and share information about how the NHS is changing and why. We are not a membership group but work alongside other groups and campaigns that are defending the NHS.
What is happening to the NHS?
The NHS has been one of the best and most cost effective health care systems in the world.* However, it is becoming increasingly clear that its future is in serious danger.
Our health services face many challenges, such as changes in disease patterns and populations. But the most significant threat to the future of the NHS is the way that it’s been seriously undermined by government policies and legislation over many years. Among the more recent and damaging of these have been
- The Health and Social Care Act (2012), which removed governmental responsibility to provide a comprehensive health service, largely dismantled the NHS, brought about massive restructuring, accelerated the privatisation of the NHS and opened it up as a competitive market;
- Lack of funding, on top of financial cuts and demands for crippling ‘efficiency savings’;
- The use of the Private Finance Initiative, creating unmanageable debt for many NHS hospitals;
There are now further plans for massive changes to the NHS, most notably:
- The introduction of NHS England’s plan, the Five Year Forward View, calling for major reorganisation based in part on ‘new models of care’, and raising concerns that the NHS is being moved towards a US-type insurance based system.
- devolution, in which NHS functions and assets come under the control of cash-starved local authorities, threatening ‘ring-fenced’ NHS funding and observance of national health care standards.
- the setting up of 44 new ‘local health systems’ that must quickly develop new Sustainability and Transformation Plans to reconfigure services and cut costs by introducing new, untested ways of delivering care.
Opening up the NHS to competition has also made it vulnerable to being included in trade and investment agreements, such as the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA), or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the extraction of NHS funding by multinational corporations. Investment protection measures in such treaties may also make the privatisation of the NHS irreversible.
These changes mean that a new, fragmented way of providing health care is being set up without the awareness or agreement of the public. This is not just a re-organised health service but one that is being built on very different principles – where privatisation is encouraged and comprehensive health care will no longer be funded from general taxes and equally available to all.
How can we stop this?
This website aims to provide patients (and potential patients) with up to date information about what is happening to the NHS in England. It also gives details of campaigns and organisations concerned with reclaiming the NHS that you might want to join – such as the campaign to support the NHS Bill 2015, which aims to reverse the HSC Act and other measures that are dismantling the NHS.
There is also a patients4nhs leaflet that explains what is happening to the NHS. This can be downloaded and printed off by those wishing to use it to campaign for the NHS.
We hope you will support us by passing on the website link to others.