The Government is embarking on a programme to privatise the NHS and called for this message to be made public, delegates at the LMC conference in London have agreed.
Delegates said that the Health and Social Care Act is putting patients at risk, will further widen health inequalities, will compromise the health of the nation and will destroy the viability of general practice.
The conference also agreed that the changes were an ‘exercise in cost cutting and rationing’ and said that lack of investment in primary care would lead the reforms to fail.
Dr Francesco Scaglioni, medical secretary of Cornwall LMC – who put forward a motion demanding that the Government’s ‘wishes to privatise the NHS’ be made public – said the Government’s introduction of the Act amounted to fraud.
He said: ‘The definition of fraud also includes a personal thing, something intended to deceive others. [Prime minister David] Cameron says there would be no top down reorganisation of the NHS. But MPs are acting as strategic advisors to private companies. Those companies are now running our hospitals. There are 266 parliamentarians with recent or current ties with healthcare services.’
Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC chair who earlier gave the final major speech of his tenure, said: ‘Who’s advising the Government? Who’s interested in advice? People who have a vested interest in private commercial healthcare. Sticking an NHS lozenge over a private business does not make it an NHS organisation.’
Dr Chand Nagpaul, a GPC negotiator, also spoke out against the reforms, calling them a ‘scandalous use of the public purse’.
He said: ‘There is zero evidence for the wholesale reorganisation of the NHS. The latest King’s Fund estimate is that £3bn has been spent in the dismantling of structures – £3billion in the name of ideology alone in the time of austerity. This is a scandalous use of the public purse.’
However, Dr Sarah Morganof Bro Taf LMCs warned that GPs as independent contractors could be considered private providers.
She said: ‘A note of caution. GPs are private contractors. I have some concerns if were bashing on about privatisation being bad, were opening the door for a salaried service.’
Dr Paul Roblin, chief executive of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire LMCs said the Act should not be unfairly blamed for all the problems faced by GPs.
8. The conference believes that NHS organisational reforms and increased administrative burdens for practices resulting from the Health and Social Care Act (HSCA)
i)are putting services and quality patient care at risk
ii)will further widen population health inequalities and compromise the health of the nation
iii)will seriously threaten core practice and will destroy the viability of practice
9. The conference believes:
i)that the current NHS Reforms are an exercise in cost cutting and rationing and will serve to undermine the quality of care to patients
ii)that the lack of investment in primary care is preventing the effective implementation of the NHS reforms
iii) general practice is the solution to NHS efficiency and productivity and consequently merits increased special investment
10. That conference believes that the government wishes to privatise the NHS and demands that it is made public knowledge.
11. That conference recognises that commissioning as outlines in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 has little evidence base and has led to expensive, unnecessary upheaval in the NHS.