Stop the privatisation of our health services, says Penny Remfry Green Party candidate for Elected Mayor
Penny Remfry, Green Party Mayoral Candidate, is concerned about the centralisation of health and social care services through the proposed Integrated Care Systems (ICS) planned for implementation in 2022.
Penny says: “The ICS sounds good, who doesn’t want to see more integration between local authority social care services, primary health care, mental health care and hospitals? But these proposed structures will be huge – the one in this area will include North Cumbria and the North East including Durham and Tees Valley. How will local concerns and priorities have a voice in such a large structure?”
Penny is also concerned that local authorities, which are locally elected and accountable, will not have an equal say with the health services which are much more centrally organised and responsible to the Secretary of State for Heath, not local people. The increased opportunities for the privatisation of services which these new structures will provide is also a worry.
The wasteful competitive tendering system brought in by the Conservative Government 10 years ago are being done away with, but instead there will be a system of ‘preferred providers’ through which private companies can be given contracts without public scrutiny.
Penny explains: “Already in North Tyneside there are substantial health services provided by private companies – for example: Totally Ltd run the Walk-In Services at our hospital in Rake Lane, the MRI diagnostic service there is provided and operated by InHealth, and our local GPs have brought in a private company, Livi, to provide one-to-one consultations via video. With the ICS we are likely to see more of this, with our taxpayers’ money being creamed off by the private sector in profits rather than used to employ much needed staff for the NHS”.
If elected as Mayor, Penny will raise these concerns and work with others to make the new structure as responsive to local needs as possible.
For more information about the ICS and health services please see the Keep Our NHS Public NE website: https://konpnortheast.com/
Please also see our NHS Campaign page: