FREE healthcare as we know it in this country will be a thing of the past within a matter of years.
That was the stark warning delivered to a busy meeting in Chichester this week by an expert in health policy and legislation.
Only the very poor or sick will be immune from paying for doctor appointments and surgery, with the ‘whole system about to fall apart,’ Dr Lucy Reynolds told an audience at St Paul’s Church on Tuesday night.
“In the future, the NHS will still be tax-funded, partially, but we will also be expected to pay, either by insurance premiums or paying doctor’s bills directly,” Dr Reynolds said at the What’s Happening To Our NHS meeting.
Dr Reynolds said some Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were going ‘hell for leather’ handing out NHS contracts to private companies and ‘totally encouraged by the government.’
“If we allow private companies to come in and take that money away then there will be less and less available to treat sick people.
“The system is about to fall apart and the government want someone to take the blame for it so GPs are taking the brunt of it.”
The meeting also heard from Margaret Guest, chairman of Don’t Cut Us Out, who said the same level of privatisation had been occuring in adult social care to the detriment of the disabled and elderly.
Sian Rabi Laleh from UNISON also spoke on what she called an ‘historic week for the NHS’ following the first national strikes from health workers for more than three decades.
Refering to the Observer’s A&E SOS campaign to safeguard vital services in the Chichester area following a £235m MSK contract being awarded to Bupa, she said the success of similar campaigns around the country showed that ‘when we fight we can win because the NHS belongs to us’.
A full round up of the meeting and all the latest on our A&E SOS campaign will apear in next week’s Chichester Observer.