Councils must reject Hunt’s sick health plan

Jeremy Hunt’s STPs – the sustainability and transformation plans – are”a massive top down reorganisation that is destroying England’s national health service.

Slash, Trash and Privatise is what the letters really stand for.  Hunt and his cheerleader Simon Stevens (director of NHS England) are getting away with murder. Even Margaret Thatcher didn’t dare to attack the NHS in the way they are doing.

They are breaking up our shared national service and putting it out to tender – this week Manchester put £6 billion of our NHS on the open market. They deliberately did this before the May elections to force the hand of the incoming Mayor. It is an absolute disgrace that government spin doctors present this as being good for the NHS.

Although many Labour councils have spoken out against the STPs – such as Liverpool and several London boroughs – most are rolling over and collaborating now that Hunt and Stevens have forced local NHS bodies to sign the STP contracts.

As a result many hospitals are under threat of being replaced by deskilled, community based services with fixed pre-set budgets: these are purposefully designed for privatisation and insurance funding.

The fixed budgets prevent flexible responses to need, as we are used to in the NHS. Top-up payments and insurance will become essential for those who can afford it – indeed they are already happening in many areas where cataract surgery and joint replacements are being rationed. The rest of us will have a second class public safety net as in the USA.

All Labour councillors and members of NHS bodies should do everything in their power to prevent the implementation of these sick plans. Theresa May claims to represent ordinary working families but she is destroying the health service they depend on.