NHS Devolution Dangers
Wednesday 20th April, 7pm
Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool (disabled access)
• Ken Loach (hoping to attend)
• Caroline Molloy (editor OurNHS, Open Democracy)
• Pia Feig (Gtr Manchester Keep Our NHS Public)
• Chair: Dr Alex Scott-Samuel (Public Health academic)
This public meeting will focus on the dangers to the
National Health Service from Devolution, and the role
of local authorities including Liverpool City Council.
organised by: Keep Our NHS Public, Defend Our
NHS, Liverpool TUC, Merseyside Assocn of TUCs
On 18 November 2015, the rest of us learned
that George Osborne had signed a
devolution agreement with Liverpool
Mayor Joe Anderson, the leaders of 5
Metropolitan Borough Councils, and a
Peel Holdings non-exec director.
In Sept, Peel’s N.E.D Robert Hough
told business leaders at the Titanic
Hotel that “a devolution deal will only
succeed if it is materially shaped by the
views of the private sector”.
No-one asked the public before or
after the deal was signed.
The Agreement mentions “further
devolution dialogue with the
government in the future, including on
health and social care integration”.
Coinciding with the Budget, an updated
Agreement mentions “the case for
change across a number of priority
health conditions” and “a fundamental
review of … children’s services”.
Meanwhile, Liverpool City Council is
ploughing ahead with plans for Joint
Commissioning of integrated Health
and Social Care, hoping this will be a
model for the entire Region.
Integration will be funded from
dwindling NHS budgets. The theory is
that patients will have less need for
hospital care so funds can be shifted
immediately into the community.
This is a massive gamble. Even if care
in the community works (and there’s not
much evidence it will), it will be years
before the need for hospital care goes
down. Liverpool banks on the Better
Care Fund, intended to cut emergency
admissions by over 3%. As the Nuffield
Trust commented, such reductions are
“unprecedented in recent years.”
The prestigious Health Service Journal
set up a commission, which called
projected savings from pooling health
and social care budgets etc. “a myth”
with “no evidence” to back it up.
Why NHS Devo?
The Government want to
• hand the blame for cuts to elected
Mayors and local authorities.
• ditch national agreements on pay and
conditions for healthworkers.
• loosen the regulations by allowing
new local standards “having regard to”
national service standards.
No private company is big enough to
buy the whole NHS. But a big firm
might want to take on a devolved,
deregulated local health and social care
system on Merseyside, with means tests
and insurance top-ups to cover patients
when their personal budgets run out.
We need full consultation with
patients, the public, and all TUCaffiliated
healthworkers – now! Until then,
the Devo deal should be frozen.