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A photo of NHS defenders at Palmers Green Triangle was tweeted by the national campaign We Own It

Local health service campaigners from Defend Enfield NHS (DENhs) were out on the street at Palmers Green Triangle on Saturday as part of a national day of action in protest about the Health and Care Act, which comes into effect on 1st July. They were calling for the NHS body which will run health services in North Central London to undertake not to have private firms sitting on its decision-making board.

The act splits the NHS in England into 42 separate "Integrated Care Systems" or ICSs. The board of each ICS will decide how to spend the amount of money which the government allocates to it. It will not be allowed to overspend, but if necessary - which will probably often be the case - will have to stop providing certain treatments which are currently available on the NHS.

A specific concern of the demonstrators on Saturday is the fact that the new law will allow representatives of private healthcare provider to sit on ICS boards and thus be able to influence what treatments are available and who provides them. In some parts of the country the chairs of the local ICS have stated that they will not allow private companies to be on their boards. DENhs are calling on Mike Cooke, who chairs the North Central London ICS's board, to follow suit.

A photograph of the Triangle campaigners was tweeted by the national campaign We Own It, asking readers to take specific actiosn to call on their ICS bosses to keep private business out.

Johnbosco Nwogbo, lead campaigner at We Own It, says “Opening the boardroom doors to private companies who could stand to benefit financially from decisions made by the board about the healthcare available to people in North Central London looks bad and smells bad.

“These changes to the NHS will not be to the benefit of ordinary users, many of whom can hardly get appointments with their doctor as it is. 

“There is no doubt that they will benefit private companies whose primary goal is to extract profit from already skint NHS budgets. NHS leaders must commit not to allow private companies to continue to have a role in our local NHS bodies." 

Sue Davies, secretary of Defend Enfield NHS, said the pandemic highlighted the importance of the NHS. 

“We saw how triumphantly the vaccination drive that the NHS ran went, whereas the Test and Trace programme run privately by Serco and Sitel was feckless and ineffectual," she said.

“This shows that the changes that are coming into our NHS from July 1 should be used as an opportunity to rebuild capacity within our local NHS, so that we don’t ever have to go to private companies."

Links

Defend Enfield NHS Facebook page

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