Wednesday, September 22, 2010
15 September 2010
Hackney watchdog to hold meeting on
government proposals for the NHS
Hackney Local Involvement Network (Hackney LINk), the borough’s watchdog for health and adult social care services, is to hold a public meeting to coordinate a local response to the government’s proposals for the NHS.
The meeting will take place on Thursday 23 September at 6.30pm at Morley Hall, City Edge, 125-127 Mare Street, E8 3RH. Local MP Meg Hillier will be among the speakers.
Malcolm Alexander, Chair of Hackney LINk, said the LINk was aiming to lead the local response to the government’s recent NHS White Paper by bringing together MPs, councillors, the voluntary sector and the general public.
“There are concerns that this White Paper puts the National Health Service at considerable risk. We don’t want to wake up one day and find that our healthcare has gone to the private sector and that the NHS has been left as nothing more than a brand name. That’s why we need to organise a powerful response now. We must ensure that the NHS is fully accountable to patients and the public and is focused on their needs, not the need to make profits out of healthcare.”
The speakers at the meeting will include:
• Meg Hillier (Member of Parliament for Hackney South and Shoreditch)
• Patrick Vernon (Chief Executive of the Afiya Trust and local councillor)
• Dot Gibson (Keep Our NHS Public and General Secretary of the National Pensioners Convention)
• Malcolm Alexander (Chair of the National Association of LINks Members and Chair of Hackney LINk)
After hearing from the speakers the meeting will break into discussion groups to plan tactics for responding to the issues raised in the White Paper.
The position of Hackney LINk is that it:
• Aims to provide leadership on the White Paper bringing together MPs, councillors, the voluntary sector and the general public;
• Is committed to securing the NHS as a publicly funded body free at the point of use;
• Opposes privatisation of health and social care services and the transfer of taxpayers’ money to private healthcare companies;
• Notes that the main thrust of the White Paper is to privatise both the commissioning and providing of services;
• Is concerned that the government has no mandate from the recent election for the further privatisation of health and social care services;
• Welcomes the government’s desire to promote shared decision-making between doctors and patients, and believes this will be best achieved by letting GPs concentrate on treating patients rather than becoming commissioners and bureaucrats;
• Welcomes the government’s concern for accountability, but fears the transfer of commissioning from PCTs to GPs will harm the doctor-patient relationship, reduce accountability and require the use of expensive consultancy services and private healthcare companies;
• Believes that 50% of the people on all NHS commissioning/planning boards should be patients and members of local HealthWatch;
• Fears the White Paper proposals will lead to the NHS becoming bogged down in another round of reforms causing havoc to patient care for the next five years;
• Wishes to support the growth and development of the voluntary sector, but not at the expense of public provision of health and social care;
• Regards the massive cuts in the voluntary sector as inconsistent with the government’s notion of a ‘Big Society’;
• Supports ring-fencing of public health expenditure and believes that public health provision should be integral to the planning/commissioning of healthcare;
• Believes a major role for local HealthWatch should be to develop, support and collaborate with patient participation groups in every GP practice;
• Believes HealthWatch England must be adequately funded and wholly independent of government, local authorities and the Care Quality Commission, and its Board must be elected by local HealthWatch groups.
For further information about this story contact Mark Hope, Hackney LINk Policy Manager, tel: 020 8510 1973, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information about Hackney LINk see www.hackneylink.org.uk or contact Esther Norman, Hackney LINk Support and Development Manager, tel: 020 8510 1975, email: email@example.com.