Socialist Worker

New GPs’ group comes out against the health bill

Issue No. 2289

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) became the latest group to oppose the Tories’ NHS privatisation plans on Friday of last week.

RCGP chair Clare Gerada said that the college had “been left with no alternative” but to oppose the Health and Social Care Bill outright, regardless of any amendments.

She added that the bill would “lead not only to fragmentation of care, but also potentially to a ‘two tier’ system with access to care defined by a patient’s ability to pay”.

The RCGP joins a raft of unions and health organisations in opposing the bill.

Between them, these organisations represent 1.2 million NHS staff—the very people health secretary Andrew Lansley claims his bill will “empower”.

Lansley wants to hand responsibility for services to unaccountable “clinical commissioning groups”.

At first these would be run by GPs—but by 2016 the government expects to see most of them run by private or “social” enterprises.

They would have no duty to provide a comprehensive set of services. Instead they would be free to choose which patients they take on—and charge for services that are currently free.

The NHS has already been eroded. But the bill will enshrine the rule of the market in law.

“This absolutely is privatisation, and if it goes through it will be one of the biggest social injustices ever to be inflicted on the British people,” said east London GP Jackie Applebee.

“We’re in danger of sleepwalking into a system like the one in the US, where people are left to die on the street if they don’t have health insurance.”

Save Our NHS Wednesday 7 March, lobby your MP from 1pm onwards, rally at 6pm in Westminster Central Hall, London SW1H 9NH

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