NHS: Ask peers to vote against raising private patient limits
The government’s controversial Health and Social Care Bill is now in the last stages of its passage through the House of Lords.
Over the next weeks, Peers will debate amendments to the Bill before voting on it. It’s our last real opportunity to get significant changes made to measures, which could break up and sell off parts of our health service.
Take action: Lobby Peers over the Private Patient Income Cap
One crucial area of concern is the proposal to lift the Private Patient Income Cap. This would allow NHS hospitals to switch priorities and take on a much greater proportion of private paying patients – making up to 49% of their income from private patients.This change threatens to push NHS patients to the back of the queue for treatment as hospitals under pressure to make savings try to boost private income. Waiting lists could soar as those able to pay to jump the queue have greater opportunity to do so.
The cap was first introduced to stop foundation trusts from prioritising people who can afford private care over NHS patients. The vast majority of trusts currently earn less than 2% from private patient income and just a handful (seven) have a cap above 5%. There is a real danger that trusts – facing tight financial constraints and under pressure to deliver £20bn in savings – will try to maximise their income by prioritising private patients if the cap is lifted. The result for NHS patients is likely to be growing waiting lists and private patients jumping ahead in the queue for care.
The Lords are due to debate three amendments to the Bill, which seek to stop the raising of the Private Patient Income Cap.
These changes would:
- Bring proper transparency to the way in which hospitals make income from private and NHS patients
- Remove the “less than 50%” cap level introduced by the government
- Instead revert to the original cap, but with some limited flexibility providing hospitals get the necessary approvals first
Please help us ask Peers to vote for all three amendments.
Take action: Lobby Peers over the Private Patient Income Cap.
Don't miss All Together for the NHS protest action around the country and online this Wednesday (7 March 2012).
See the False Economy Five Things You Need to Know about the NHS Bill factsheet for details of real effects of the bill on the NHS.
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