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Petition to scrap ICSs nets 50,000 signatures

by Jess Hacker
8 November 2021

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A petition submitted to parliament calling for the Government to scrap integrated care systems (ICSs) has had more than 50,000 signatures in support.

The petition, published by campaign group Your NHS Needs You, was submitted just over a week ago (27 October) in opposition to the Government’ proposed Health and Care Bill.

Titled Renationalise the NHS, scrap integrated care systems, and end PFI contracts, it has ‘demanded’ the Government ‘restore’ the publicly funded, publicly provided NHS by ‘reversing all privatising legislation’.

It said: ‘We believe the Health and Care Bill could undermine access to care and universal standards by locking in privatisation and dividing the English NHS into Integrated Care Systems.’

The Government is obligated to respond to all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures, with a response expected in 11 days.

At 100,000 signatures, a petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.

The Health and Care Bill, which is intended to build on proposals set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, was introduced to Parliament in July.

Particularly significant was the white paper’s plan for integrated care systems (ICSs) to take over the functions of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

However, think tanks criticised the Bill for its ‘politically driven’ clause which would grant the Secretary of State new powers to intervene in local services.

The argument against the Bill

The Your NHS Needs You group has claimed that the introduction of ICSs will lead to integrated care boards (ICBs) covering areas that are ‘too large’ to ensure local and public accountability, which it says has been ‘degraded over many years’.

It has also suggested that it would allow private companies to ‘make decisions on allocating public expenditure’ through their membership on ICBs.

On its website, it said that the Bill more broadly:

  • Reduces access to medical services and emergency services,
  • Enables private companies to make decisions on allocating public healthcare budgets,
  • And ‘completes the legal framework underpinning the transition’ of public healthcare assets into the private sector.

Your NHS Needs You consists of doctors, nurses, and academics, and is also supported by Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25): a movement aiming to democratise the European Union.