Thursday 5 March
Manchester leads but can others follow? The best way forward for the NHS means changing the law
Ten Local authorities in Greater Manchester are to jointly commission health and social care services with the 12 CCGs in the area, with a current value of around 6 billion pounds in 2016  in a move towards integration and local accountability for health and social care services. But the question is, how will the NHS be protected in the absence of a clear legislative framework and statutory duty to provide listed services throughout England? A leading campaigner to change the law on how the NHS is defined and works will be speaking in Manchester this week, pointing out that the law needs to change if the NHS is to be protected. And asking people to back the NHS Reinstatement Bill  in Parliament by approaching their MPs and electoral candidates up to the election.
Local authorities currently contract out most of their social services and residential and nursing care to private for profit providers of nursing care which are charged for and means-tested at point of use. Nationally, there has been a major reduction in LA budgets resulting in reduced levels of service provision and entitlement to care added to pressures on the NHS.
The amount spent on social care services for older people has fallen nationally by £1.1 billion (14.4%) since 2010/11, even after accounting for additional funding from the NHS, and by a total of £1.4 billion (17.7%) since 2005/6:
- 3% of all people aged 65 and over (1,230,625) received social care in 2005/06 compared to 9.1% (849,280) in 2014/15 – a reduction of 40%.
- Between 2010/11 and 2013/14:
- Older people receiving home care has fallen by 31.7% (542,965 to 370,630)
- Day care places have plummeted by 66.9% (178,700 to 59,125)
- Spending on home care has dropped since 2010/11 by 19.4% (£276,922,528) falling from £2,250,168,237 to £1,814,518,000
- Spending on day care has fallen even more dramatically by 30% (£113,618,974) from £378,532,974 to £264,914,000
The real concern is that if funding is not restored alongside a strong legislative framework to ensure that the NHS continues to be provided throughout England as a planned National Health Service, the commissioning board will use cost shifting and marketization to break up the NHS and decrease access to NHS funded care by blurring the boundaries between what is free healthcare and what is charged for.
It is a crucial moment for local authorities to engage in local health services but legislation is required to ensure that the resources and services are distributed fairly and on the basis of need throughout England. The proposed NHS Reinstatement Bill  due to be tabled in in Parliament on 11 March will do this; and now it is crucial that everyone lobbies their MPs and electoral candidates to support it before and after the election.
Professor Allyson Pollock will be speaking at the Mechanics Institute, Princess Street, Manchester, on Thursday 5 March at a meeting organised by CLASS on the future of the NHS . She will be talking about what the new Bill means, and why we need it now more than ever. Professor Pollock has helped draft the new Bill with lawyer Peter Roderick, and it is attracting increasing support from across the political spectrum.
The NHS Reinstatement Bill 2015 is due to be tabled before Parliament on 11 March. It will restore the NHS to its proper place and prevent further damage to the NHS by:
- Reinstating the government’s legal duty to provide key NHS services in England.
- Abolishing market structures like foundation trusts.
- Abolishing competition and contracts.
- Allowing commercial companies to provide services only if the NHS could not do so and patients would suffer.
- Centralising PFI debts so they can be reduced.
- Stopping immigration health charges.
- Stopping treaties like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) without Parliament’s approval if they cover the NHS.
- Establishing local Health Boards from the bottom up.
- Re-establishing Community Health Councils for public accountability.
- Requiring national terms and conditions under the NHS Staff Council and Agenda for Change system.
Professor Pollock said:
‘The NHS is withering away because the duty on the Sec of State to provide has been abolished. This NHS Reinstatement Bill is needed to restore the duty to provide a national health service throughout England and make services accountable to local people again. The current break-up of services and their fragmentation and marketization and erosion of entitlements has only be made possible by the Health and Social Care Act of 2012. The current trajectory is to increase the blurring of boundaries between services that are free and those that are paid for in the marketplace – with market providers making those decisions about the winners and the losers.
‘Support this Bill. Write to your electoral candidates and MPs. We are many – but time is short.’
Election 2015: Manchester – What’s at stake for the NHS?
The Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street Manchester M1 6DD
Thursday 5 March 2015, 6:30pm.
The Campaign’s press officer is Alan Taman:
07870 757 309
 Widely reported and since commented on. See http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/feb/25/greater-manchester-councils-to-control-6bn-of-health-spending-report  www.nhsbill2015.org.uk . The Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill is a non-partisan campaign and has a wide range of support across the political spectrum (http://www.nhsbill2015.org/our-supporters/ ). It encourages the public to contact prospective parliamentary candidates in their constituency, determine their views on the Reinstatement Bill, and gain their support for it wherever possible:
Twitter: @nhsbill2015 The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) is a think-tank established in 2012 to look at key social issues from a left perspective: http://classonline.org.uk