Hackney GP’s stark warning of ‘dirty, corrupt and underhand privatisation’ at meeting on the NHS’ ‘long term plan’
- Credit: Marc Gascoigne/Healthwatch Hackney
A GP warned that the privatisation going on within the NHS is “dirty, corrupt and underhand” at a meeting to find out what people think of the NHS’ long term plan at Hackney Town Hall.
Nick Mann was speaking at the meeting organised by patient watchdog Healthwatch Hackney, as part of a nationwide consultation on Wednesday night last week.
Dr Mann, deputy mayor Cllr Feryal Dermici and members of Hackney's Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) gave their impressions on the 106-page long term plan that sets out priorities for expenditure within the NHS over the next decade within the financial constraints.
The NHS says it's about improving patient care and that measures will prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases, and give better access to mental health services for adults and children.
But Dr Mann told the packed out council chamber: "I've read through it and it's what you want to read. But none of it will come true.
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"All the aspirations that 'we are going to save half a million lives' - I promise you it won't. Illness will rise as patterns have done for decades and centuries."
He is concerned that part of the "big plan" is to lose district general hospitals like the Homerton.
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He is also concerned about integrated care providers (ICPs) which are effectively alliances of NHS providers.
"ICPs are the new thing," said Dr Mann. "They are massive over-arching bodies that will look after our health, and they are being written into legislation at the moment.
"The ICPs do represent the end of the NHS. I don't say that lightly and I don't say that dramatically. It really is." And he alleged: "As the lines between providers and commissioners blur, there is a lot of private business. I could tell you stories of people basically writing a report for government about how the NHS should be organised - this is relevant to the path lab - the organisation taking note of the report, the business deals being done, and the business going to the man who wrote the report. There is loads of that going on. It's dirty. It's corrupt and underhand and when you try to call it out you are called a conspiracy theorist, but they have been privatising the NHS since the late 1970s."
Mark Ricketts, chair of the clinical commissioning group, disagreed with Dr Mann, however.
"I think we can be a bit more optimistic," he said. "That's not how I see things going.
"There are some things that are quite sensibly done at a north east London STP level.
"This afternoon we were discussing the organisation of a very sophisticated neurological unit for rare conditions.
"It needs to be done in a specialist unit and we were talking about how that is best organised. We all felt like that was the best use of our time. Get that done over there and we can do this here.
"I'm not overestimating the workforce, but my position is we make the best with what we've got."