We are members of the public living in Enfield who want to take more direct action and to use the rights we have to question the plans and decisions of the CCG and health care providers to help in the achievement of the best health care for all in Enfield. Please join us!” DefendEnfieldNHS@gmail.com
“Will all those that are not dying please go home!”
These chilling words were circulating during the recent North Middlesex A&E crisis and have been a frightening wake up call. There have been many crises in the NHS recently. Yet not so long ago it was considered to be among the best health services in the world.
So what has happened?
Demand has gone up, but funding has not kept up and there will be a £22 billion “hole” by 2020. Government now funds the NHS less per head than our European neighbours. Funding similar to Europe would bring the NHS an extra £40 billion a year and a lot of its troubles would be over! Without this extra funding the NHS is in crisis and deeply in debt.
There is a plan set up by the Government to make savings and reduce the huge debt. Our Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) now works with other CCGs in North Central London and has produced a ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plan’ (STP) to try to put things right. In their recently released plan Enfield CCG will “reduce activity” in a large number of their services in order to deliver annual savings of millions of pounds over the next 4 years.
How will this affect us? The CCG plans to “reduce their level of approval” for many services and so reduce their ‘overspending’ on our health. They want to treat more people outside hospital (hospital care being the major expense), do fewer hip and knee operations, prescribe fewer hearing aids, and discharge people even more quickly from hospital. We are concerned that there will in effect be rationing and those who can afford it will look for private healthcare.
BUT any rationing will mean that some people may have to endure pain and worry because they cannot afford private treatment. How will they take care of their families on low wages if they have to pay for healthcare? Others will use their savings to pay for private care – but what happens when the money runs out and the health problem is still there? Our NHS is value for money because millions of us share the cost while individual private health insurance has major exclusions because it has to make a profit for the insurers. As we get older we start to need more health care – which is why even a healthy non-smoking 70 year old can expect to pay between £2000 – £3000 a year for private health insurance!
Defend Enfield NHS does not want any cuts in services nor does it want more privatisation within the NHS because this leads to severe fragmentation of care. There will be cuts in staffing and overloading of already pressed doctors surgeries and family carers. There will be a temptation to sell off NHS property, including hospitals- a bonus for property developers but a loss for local taxpayers. There will also be a temptation to replace highly trained professional staff with less expensive workers who have poorer support and training.
What we need is the full re-instatement of a comprehensive, publicly funded, publicly owned and publicly accountable National Health Service which is free at the point of use and has the resources to provide excellent health care for all.
Ref: http://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/grossdomesticproductgdp/timeseries/ybha. Similarly John Appleby calculates that in 2013 it would have taken an additional £43bn spending on health in the UK to match the average spending on health of the EU 14 as a percentage of GDP. (ww.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2016/01/how- does-nhs-spending-compare-health-spending-internationally)
Enfield Clinical Commissioning Group Governing Body Meeting 21st September 2016 Agenda Item 8.1 Appendix H