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Faculty of Public Health calls on government to withdraw Health and Social Care Bill 'in best interests of everyone's health'

8 February 2012

Since the NHS reforms were first announced, the Faculty of Public Health (FPH) has been lobbying hard for changes to ensure people’s health is properly protected at all times. We recognise that the government has addressed some of our concerns about the public health aspects of the Health and Social Care Bill.

However, the results of our latest survey of members found that 93% of those responding said that the Health and Social Care Bill, if passed, would damage the NHS and the health of people in England. Three quarters of our members called on FPH to demand the complete withdrawal of the health bill.

Professor Lindsey Davies, President of FPH, said: "We are now calling on the government to withdraw the bill in its entirety because it would be in the best interests of everyone's health.

"Our 3,300 members – experts in planning and providing for people's health – have been closely involved in trying to make the government's proposed reforms work since they were first introduced. Based on our members' expert views, it has become increasingly clear that the bill will lead to a disorganised NHS with increased health inequalities, more bureaucracy and wasted public funds.

"The bill will increase health inequalities because there is the real danger that vulnerable groups, such as homeless people, will not be included when health services are being planned. Clinical commissioning groups and service providers will be able to pick and choose what procedures they perform and which services they put in place."

Unless the bill is withdrawn, FPH's concern is that the NHS will lack the strategic leadership needed to deliver an effective and integrated service. There are major concerns about how emergency planning, screening and immunisation services will work. The bill does not make it clear what costs the NHS will be expected to cover if private providers go bankrupt.

Professor Davies continued: "We also face increasing costs for health services as the private sector will need to make a profit out of commissioning and running NHS services. This will use more taxpayer's money that could be used for patient care. At a time when the NHS needs to save £20 billion, this is an unaffordable and unnecessary burden on the NHS.

"Like our members, we make decisions based on the best available evidence, and we have a clear mandate from them to take this position. We do not do this lightly. We will continue to do all we can to take make sure this bill is fit for purpose."

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the Faculty of Public Health (FPH)

FPH is the standard-setting body for public health in the UK with more than 3,000 specialist public health members. FPH is a registered charity and advocates for better public health in the UK and around the world, by stimulating debate on promoting, protecting and improving the public's health.

Almost 40% of our members took part in the survey: we had 1,286 responses to the electronic survey, representing 39% of the membership. We also had 78 responses to the postal survey. The full results will be available on our website, www.fph.org.uk. Please contact us for further details or to arrange an interview with Professor Davies or John Middleton, FPH's Vice President.

    Liz Nightingale, Media and PR Officer: tel 020 7935 3115, email liznightingale@fph.org.uk, mobile 07773 350833 or
    Mark Weiss, Policy Officer, tel 020 7935  0243, email markweiss@fph.org.uk

Summary of the survey results:

Do you:

Consider that the Health and Social Care Bill, if passed, will damage the NHS and the health of the public in England?

    Yes: (1247)  92%
    No:  (57)  4%
    Don’t Know: (50) 4%

Call upon the Faculty of Public Health to demand complete withdrawal of the Health and Social Care Bill?

    Yes: (999) 74%
    No: (225) 17%
    Don’t Know: (124)  9%

Call upon the Faculty of Public Health to seek an alliance with the RCGP, other medical Royal Colleges and other bodies to oppose the Bill?

    Yes: (1207)  89%
    No: (225)  17%
    Don’t Know: (124)  9%

In the event that FPH adopts a position calling for the withdrawal of the Bill, do you consider:

That FPH should continue to engage with parliamentarians, in both the Lords and the Commons, to seek amendments to the Bill?

    Strongly Agree    777    58%  
    Agree    373    28%
    Neither agree nor disagree    85    8%
    Disagree    58    4%
    Strongly Disagree    40    3%

That FPH should continue to engage with ministers and civil servants on matters related to the Bill and its implementation?

    Strongly Agree    714    54%
    Agree    382    29%
    Neither agree nor disagree    98    7%
    Disagree    75    6%
    Strongly Disagree    62    5%

Written: 04/04/2012 , last modified: 26/03/2015


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