FPH calls on government to withdraw Health and Social Care Bill 'in best interests of everyone's health'
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 like 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Unless the bill is withdrawn, FPH's concern is that the NHS will lack the strategic leadership needed to deliver an effective and integrated service.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."
Written: 08/02/2012 , last modified: 16/04/2012