It’s our NHS: Don’t Slash, Trash and Privatise
Dear councillors in England – the NHS needs you
The government wants local areas to deliver plans that will Slash, Trash and Privatise our NHS (and to deal with the crisis that follows). But if councils refuse to sign up to the plans, we have a chance of stopping them.
Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) sound nice. In reality, ‘sustainability’ is code for cuts and ‘transformation’ is code for privatisation. There are 44 plans for ‘footprint’ areas across England. The plans – which are supposed to be signed off by Christmas – have mostly been kept secret and the ones that have been released often lack key information. What we do know is that they deliver deep cuts to NHS services and plenty of encouragement to the private sector to get involved.
Councils have to sign off these plans before they can be delivered. Councillors – please say no, don’t sign up to Slash, Trash and Privatise the NHS.
Don’t put lives at risk
The government wants councils to sign up to plans now and commit to drastic cuts that will put people’s lives at risk. The plans are expected to slash the number of A&Es in England from 140 to less than 70. A 38 Degrees investigation showed that the plans include huge shortfalls of millions of pounds – patients just can’t be cared for properly without more funding. Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing and Sutton councils have refused to sign up to the plans. What does the plan look like for your area? Will it put lives at risk?
“We condemn the Tory government for drawing up these plans. This is about closing hospitals and getting capital receipts. It’s a cynical rehash of earlier plans and is about the breaking up and selling off of the NHS. It will lead to a loss of vital services and will put lives at risk. Our job is to protect the NHS and this plan is about dismantling it. This document is an affront to the sensibilities of the people of north-west London.” Steve Cowan, leader of Hammersmith & Fulham council
“We refused to sign up to the STP plans because we do not support the closure of Ealing and Charing Cross acute hospitals … We have made it abundantly clear that we will campaign until our last breath to save Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals. We do support some of the proposals for more integrated health and social care but we feel we will be punished for not signing up to these plans.” Julian Bell, leader of Ealing council
Warning bells are ringing
Most of the STPs haven’t yet been published.
Those that have been published often don’t include important financial information and evidence.
Julia Simon, the former head of NHS England commissioning, has denounced the STP process as ‘shameful’, ‘mad’, ‘ridiculous’ and the plans as full of lies.
Only 16% of NHS finance directors believe sustainable STPs are achievable by 2021.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine has said “These plans that are emerging via different routes, if true, are potentially catastrophic and will put lives at risk” as almost a third of CCG leaders are considering closing emergency departments. How would your area deliver its plan? Is it realistic?
Defend our public NHS
Privatisation of our NHS is happening. Last week Virgin won contracts for 200 NHS services in Bath. STPs will increase the pressure to privatise, both by running down the NHS with cuts (so the private sector can swoop in to provide the solution) and through guidance that encourages a key role for private companies in planning and delivering services. An NHS England director has said STPs offer private companies ‘an enormous amount of opportunity’. Is that what people want in your area?
Privatisation wastes public money that could be spent on patient care. We already spend at least £4.5 billion on the NHS market. Private Finance Initiative deals have wasted £250 billion. We need to stop privatisation, not waste more money on it.
84% of the public support the NHS being publicly owned. The government knows privatising the NHS is hugely unpopular. That’s why they’re trying to devolve the decision making to local areas, taking the ‘N’ out of the NHS.
You’re on the frontline
This is it now – you’re on the frontline of saving our NHS. NHS England health plans assume partnership with local authorities and they imply shared responsibility for the (potentially very serious) consequences. That means councillors, council leaders and mayors can play a vital role by refusing to sign up to these plans. This is about local democracy. Please stand up for our NHS.
Don’t sign up to the plans – thank you!
We Own It have also sent an e-mail to councillors,
The Government is trying to force local areas to Slash, Trash and Privatise our NHS through so-called ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ (STPs). Ignore the silly words – these plans are about cuts and privatisation.
Some brave councils are taking a stand for our NHS. 20 councils have released the plans to the public, and Hammersmith and Fulham, Ealing and Sutton councils have refused to sign up to them. This is the right thing to do.
This is where the fight is at now for the NHS. If councils across the country start resisting the government’s plans, we could actually have a chance of pushing back privatisation of our NHS.
The government is dividing the NHS in England into 44 areas, each of which has an STP. The plans will leave local areas dealing with crisis – and private companies ever more ready to swoop in.
This is all happening behind closed doors. Only 15 of the 44 plans have been published. The government knows the public won’t go along with the plans, that’s why they are being kept secret. The plans are due to be signed off completely by Christmas – we need to see them and stop them NOW.
Jeremy Hunt says the NHS needs to go on a 10-year diet. Now he wants to force councils to quietly sign up to an NHS that simply cannot meet people’s needs within the budget he has fixed.The government’s plans would mean an NHS that says ‘sorry, this hospital is closing, you need to travel further to have your baby or deal with your emergency’.Sound familiar? It’s the same old story. Privatisation is already wasting money that could be spent on patients – running the NHS as a market costs us at least £4.5 billion a year. And the cuts in turn are creating an NHS that is ever more vulnerable to the private sector.
“That’s the standard technique of privatisation: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.” Noam Chomsky
A few days ago Virgin Care won a contract to run 200 NHS services including adult social care in Bath. STPs will mean more of this. We know these plans are dangerous – they must be stopped across the country.
The NHA Party says that plans will mean reducing the number of A&E hospitals from 140 to less than 70 across England. That means fewer hospital beds, longer ambulance journeys for emergency care, longer waiting times for treatment. The plans also include selling off land and assets that belong to the NHS. And patients using vouchers and personal health budgets, as a form of ‘self-pay’.
A 38 Degrees investigation showed that the plans include huge shortfalls of millions of pounds – patients just can’t be cared for properly without more funding.
The NHS is ours. We don’t have to buy their story.
Let’s all work together to save the NHS we love and make sure people come before profit.
With best wishes
Cat, Matt, Biba and the We Own It team
PS You can read more here https://weownit.org.uk/blog/its-our-nhs-dont-slash-trash-and-privatise
[If you’re in England] Sign the 38 Degrees petition asking Jeremy Hunt to reveal the plans