Listen to people who work in NHS

Nothing is more cherished in England than the free and equitable access to healthcare that the NHS gives us all. As a professional body for nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants the Royal College of Nursing is committed to safeguarding the ethos of the National Health Service and engaging in sensible change and improvement for patients.

Unfortunately in recent months it became clear to the RCN that the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill was not going to safeguard the future of the NHS and the reforms would be pushed ahead regardless of the concerns voiced by very many nurses, doctors and associated healthcare professionals.

The raising of the cap for NHS hospitals treating private patients and the Government’s refusal to introduce registration for healthcare assistants led the Royal College of Nursing to withdraw support for the Bill. The NHS must exist to serve those in need and not those who can afford to pay.

As nurses we want to provide high quality care for all. We believe this Bill jeopardises that at a time when the NHS already has the herculean task of trying to save £20 billion by 2015. It is worth noting that the US-based Commonwealth Fund’s 2010 report into the health systems of 14 developed countries concluded that the NHS actually outperforms other high income countries whilst spending much less, and enjoys the highest levels of patient satisfaction.

Nobody knows the NHS better than those who work for it. So, even at this late stage, as the Bill is about to return to the House of Commons, I appeal to MPs across the North West to reject this Bill.

Kevin Austerberry

Director, Yorkshire & the Humber Royal College of Nursing