Keep Our NHS Public | Position Statement

KONP Position Statement

The principal objective of Keep Our NHS Public is to campaign to resist and reverse the privatisation and commercialisation of the National Health Service by restoring it to full public ownership and control, and to promote its future development as a truly public service – publicly funded, publicly provided, publicly accountable and available to all.

In order to achieve this objective, we support the following measures:

  1. Repeal of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and other NHS privatisation legislation 
  1. Reinstatement of the legal duty of the Secretary of State for Health

2.1 This is to secure and provide a comprehensive health service that ensures that the population gets full access to the health care they need.

2.2 The NHS should be restored according to its founding principles of 1948.

2.3 The market – including that prevailing in Foundation Trusts – must be removed from NHS service provision, in order to protect it from the compulsory application of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) rules, EU competition law and, crucially, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

  1. Provision of Social Services on the same basis as NHS Health Care

3.1 This is a longer-term goal.

  1. Restoration of Democratic Control

4.1 We demand that all aspects of the NHS are returned to democratic control at national, regional and local levels.

4.2 Foundation Trusts should not be run as separate businesses able to raise capital (a task for the Secretary of State): they should be incorporated as an integral and cooperative part of an NHS public service.

4.3 There must also be a statutory, adequately resourced democratic voice for patients and public.

4.4 We demand an investigation into the opaque system of patronage and lobbying that has characterised the privatisation of the NHS.

4.5 All personnel involved in the NHS should be required to declare financial interests which conflict with their role.

  1. Establishment of Adequate Funding

5.1 We demand increased funding, from taxation, commensurate with the principles of provision of the service, raised at least to the European average health expenditure. Public funds are currently being wasted on maintaining a market within the NHS. 

  1. Removal of the Purchaser-Provider split

6.1 We oppose this split and demand that it be fully removed as part of the renationalisation and de-marketisation to retain the founding principles of the NHS.

6.2 The planning and provision of services must be done by collaboration between managers and clinicians working with, and for the benefit of, patients. This will yield efficiency gains and improve accountability and patient care.

  1. NHS Transparency and Accountability

7.1 ‘Commercial confidentiality’ must not be allowed to apply in any area where public money is used for the purposes of the NHS, which should not in any case be run as a competitive system.

  1. Phasing–out the private-sector Commissioning and Providing of NHS Services

8.1 As an interim measure, there must be an immediate start to their phasing out by robust monitoring of contractor performance, sanctions for failure, and no contract renewal.

  1. Safeguarding of NHS Assets

9.1 We demand an immediate end to the sell-off of NHS assets, unless as part of a coherent, clinically sound and publicly supported plan to configure assets and services better to meet the needs of local populations.

9.2 Urgent priority must be given to any legislation necessary to immediately outlaw any further sales of NHS property.

  1. Abolition of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI)

10.1 The mounting debts and excessively-high interest repayments inherent in NHS PFI schemes are proving increasingly unsustainable for hospital budgets, leading to down-grading and cuts in staff, services and facilities and even to inappropriate mergers and threatened closure for “failing” hospitals.

10.2 We will therefore urgently seek the broadest possible partnership:

– to raise public awareness of the mis-selling of PFI schemes and their no-risk profiteering, and

– to campaign for (a) an immediate halt to all further PFIs, and (b) their speedy abolition by means which do not maintain taxpayers’ liabilities by moving them from one part of the public purse to another (as in “buy-outs”).

  1. Partnership between all NHS staff and Patients
    • We must promote the involvement of all these groups as partners in a joint endeavour to develop the best possible NHS, based on principles of openness, transparency and accountability.
    • The bullying culture within NHS management must end.  We demand robust enforcement of statutory measures to protect NHS whistleblowers and sanctions against those who seek to gag them.
    • Every effort must be made to restore the culture which will re-kindle pride in great public service and support for the public service ethos.

June 2014

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