A petition with signatures from more than a thousand residents seeking the protection of Croydon NHS services from the worst effects of privatisation was being presented this morning to Dr Tony Brzezicki, the joint chair of the new Croydon Commissioning Group.
Dr Brzezicki, a GP in Croydon, is keen on commissioning by GPs, who may feel closer to patients and have a better understanding of clinical needs.
The local co-ordinator of the petition is South Croydon resident Adrian Law.
Law says, “Petitioners are keen to see taxpayers’ money spent wisely by the doctors commissioning NHS work. People want to see responsible private sector partners chosen for the NHS, companies who will pay regard to patient needs as well as to their profits.”
The petition urges the Croydon Commissioning Group to include in their rules guidance that will protect services from irresponsible private health companies. The drafted legal language has been promoted by the national campaign group 38 Degrees, using health lawyers putting together legal clauses that are compliant with the coalition government’s Health and Social Care Act.
The legalese tries to form the basis for the local commission groups of GPs charged with hiring medical providers, including from the private sector, to consider ethical and social factors in commissioning decisions and to be transparent and to be committed to public engagement.
Maggie Mansell, Labour councillor for Norbury ward, will join the delegation presenting the petition. Mansell, who has herself worked in the NHS, is the local Labour council group’s health spokesperson.
“Personally I regret that the Official guidance does not include the fundamental NHS principle of ‘free at the point of use’ and universal provision,” Mansell said.
“Regard should be given to the protection of main local providers. Outsourcing of services can increase costs on the remaining contracts and destabilise other services.
“The 38 Degrees draft ensures legal compliance, including employment law. Nationally that includes the minimum wage but in London contracts should require the London Living Wage. Low pay is a significant cost to the public purse and a cause of ill-health in itself. Contracts should require appropriate skill mix and staff numbers.”
Law, who is not a member of a political party, is unhappy that none of Croydon’s three MPs have become involved in the campaign. “I am very pleased that we have received support from Labour’s local health spokesperson Maggie Mansell and I am impressed with her knowledge of the NHS, but I would have liked a presence from a parliamentary level as well.”
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