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Agenda item

Notice of Motion Regarding "Charges To Access Services in Hospitals" - Given By Councillor Pauline Andrews and To Be Seconded By Councillor Jack Clarkson

That this Council:-

 

(a)       expresses concern at what this Council believes to be the excessive charges being put on vulnerable patients and their families in our city’s hospitals by private companies, such as Hospedia (a United States owned company), such as  (i) charges for bedside television of £5 per day for the average package and £10 per day for the full package, (ii) the cost of incoming calls to patients from friends and relatives of 50p per minute, (iii) cashpoint fee of £2 and (iv) average car parking charges of £2.50 per hour;

 

(b)       believes it's unethical for private companies to make huge profits by preying on the patients and their families, especially at the end of life, and notes that, last year, Hospedia had a turnover of £22m in UK sales;

 

(c)        believes that whilst Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust made no money from television packages, it does receive income from hospital car parking charges; and also believes that there is no evidence of money being reinvested;and, further, understands that NHS staff are also being hit with huge car parking fines, and believes that a parking space at work shouldn’t be classed as a luxury, especially for staff working nights;

 

(d)       notes that the NHS health care service is supposedly free at the point of use, however, believes that the extra charges to access the service are far from healthy, causing additional stress to patients and their families;

 

(e)       believes it is not acceptable that some patients are being charged £10.00 per day to view a television, whilst inmates at HMP Lindholme Prison, Doncaster, pay just £1.00 for an entire week’s worth of viewing; and

 

(f)        requests that the Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care writes to the Secretary of State for Health to demand an end to these excessive charges, which this Council believes are outrageous.

 

Minutes:

5.1

It was moved by Councillor Pauline Andrews, and seconded by Councillor John Booker, that this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)       expresses concern at what this Council believes to be the excessive charges being put on vulnerable patients and their families in our city’s hospitals by private companies, such as Hospedia (a United States owned company), such as  (i) charges for bedside television of £5 per day for the average package and £10 per day for the full package, (ii) the cost of incoming calls to patients from friends and relatives of 50p per minute, (iii) cashpoint fee of £2 and (iv) average car parking charges of £2.50 per two hour period;

 

(b)       believes it's unethical for private companies to make huge profits by preying on the patients and their families, especially at the end of life, and notes that, last year, Hospedia had a turnover of £22m in UK sales;

 

(c)        believes that whilst Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust made no money from television packages, it does receive income from hospital car parking charges; and also believes that there is no evidence of money being reinvested; and, further, understands that NHS staff are also being hit with huge car parking fines, and believes that a parking space at work shouldn’t be classed as a luxury, especially for staff working nights;

 

(d)       notes that the NHS health care service is supposedly free at the point of use, however, believes that the extra charges to access the service are far from healthy, causing additional stress to patients and their families;

 

(e)       believes it is not acceptable that some patients are being charged £10.00 per day to view a television, whilst inmates at HMP Lindholme Prison, Doncaster, pay just £1.00 for an entire week’s worth of viewing; and

 

(f)        requests that the Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care writes to the Secretary of State for Health to demand an end to these excessive charges, which this Council believes are outrageous.

 

 

5.1.1

(NOTE: With the agreement of the Council and at the request of the mover of the Motion (Councillor Pauline Andrews), the Motion as published on the agenda was altered by the substitution, in paragraph (a), of the words “£2.50 per two hour period” for the words “£2.50 per hour”.)

 

 

5.2

Whereupon, it was moved by Councillor Cate McDonald, and seconded by Councillor Talib Hussain, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of all the words after the words “That this Council” and the addition of the following words:-

 

 

 

(a)       supports the Labour Party position that the NHS funding gap ‘should not be filled by charging sick patients, anxious relatives and already hard-pressed NHS staff’;

 

(b)       believes that the NHS health care service should be free at the point of use, however, extra charges to access the service undermine this crucial principle;

 

(c)        notes that for the 2015-16 financial year, NHS trusts in England netted £120,662,650 in car park charges, up from £114,873,867 the year before;

 

(d)       further notes that the Labour Party stood on a policy platform to abolish hospital parking charges, after years of campaigning by patients’ groups, and, unlike other parties who had earlier called for this, such as UKIP, Labour’s policy was fully costed; through increased charges on private healthcare insurance to meet the £162m cost of free parking at all NHS hospitals across England;

 

(e)       notes that this is current Labour Party policy and, as such, the Government will be challenged by Labour MPs on this at every relevant opportunity;

 

(f)        further notes that at the last General Election only the Labour Party committed to over £30 billion in extra funding over the next Parliament through increasing income tax for the highest 5 per cent of earners and by increasing tax on private medical insurance, and promised to free up resources by halving the fees paid to management consultants;

 

(g)       notes that the Labour Party’s manifesto promised to boost capital funding for the NHS, to ensure that patients are cared for in buildings and using equipment that are fit for the 21st century, and proposed introducing a new Office for Budget Responsibility for Health to oversee health spending and scrutinise how it is spent;

 

(h)       further notes that the Labour Party is committed to reversing privatisation of our NHS; repealing the Health and Social Care Act which it believes puts profits before patients; and

 

(i)         supports the Labour Party’s calls to introduce a new legal duty on the Secretary of State for Health and on NHS England to ensure that excess private profits are not made out of the NHS at the expense of patient care.

 

 

5.3

It was then moved by Councillor Steve Ayris, and seconded by Councillor Andy Nash, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by:-

 

 

 

1.         the deletion of paragraph (c) and the re-lettering of paragraphs (d) to (f) as new paragraphs (f) to (h); and

 

 

 

2.         the addition of new paragraphs (c) to (e) as follows:-

 

(c)        supports the view expressed by Tim Farron MP earlier this year that the private provider of TV and telephone services is treating the sick as ‘cash cows’ by charging “rip off” prices;

 

(d)       notes that Ofcom has launched a call cost review, which includes investigating the rising cost of telephoning hospital patients, and looks forward to the outcome of that review, due later this year;

 

(e)       believes that a system should be introduced to enable patients with particular clinical needs e.g. where regular visits to hospital are required, to park without charge and to enable visitors to patients in the last stages of life to be given similar dispensation; however, understands that free parking would lead to a significant increase in demand and would require ongoing management to prevent inappropriate use;

 

 

5.4

It was then moved by Councillor Douglas Johnson, and seconded by Councillor Robert Murphy, as an amendment, that the Motion now submitted be amended by the deletion of paragraph (c) and the addition of a new paragraph (c) as follows:-

 

 

 

(c)        believes there should be no place for private profit in NHS hospital services;

 

 

5.5

Following a right of reply from Councillor Pauline Andrews, the amendment moved by Councillor Cate McDonald was put to the vote and carried.

 

 

5.6

The amendment moved by Councillor Steve Ayris was then put to the vote and was negatived.

 

 

5.7

The amendment moved by Councillor Douglas Johnson was then put to the vote and was negatived.

 

 

5.8

The original Motion, as amended, was then put as a Substantive Motion in the following form and carried:-

 

 

 

RESOLVED: That this Council:-

 

 

 

(a)       supports the Labour Party position that the NHS funding gap ‘should not be filled by charging sick patients, anxious relatives and already hard-pressed NHS staff’;

 

(b)       believes that the NHS health care service should be free at the point of use, however, extra charges to access the service undermine this crucial principle;

 

(c)        notes that for the 2015-16 financial year, NHS trusts in England netted £120,662,650 in car park charges, up from £114,873,867 the year before;

 

(d)       further notes that the Labour Party stood on a policy platform to abolish hospital parking charges, after years of campaigning by patients’ groups, and, unlike other parties who had earlier called for this, such as UKIP, Labour’s policy was fully costed; through increased charges on private healthcare insurance to meet the £162m cost of free parking at all NHS hospitals across England;

 

(e)       notes that this is current Labour Party policy and, as such, the Government will be challenged by Labour MPs on this at every relevant opportunity;

 

(f)        further notes that at the last General Election only the Labour Party committed to over £30 billion in extra funding over the next Parliament through increasing income tax for the highest 5 per cent of earners and by increasing tax on private medical insurance, and promised to free up resources by halving the fees paid to management consultants;

 

(g)       notes that the Labour Party’s manifesto promised to boost capital funding for the NHS, to ensure that patients are cared for in buildings and using equipment that are fit for the 21st century, and proposed introducing a new Office for Budget Responsibility for Health to oversee health spending and scrutinise how it is spent;

 

(h)       further notes that the Labour Party is committed to reversing privatisation of our NHS; repealing the Health and Social Care Act which it believes puts profits before patients; and

 

(i)         supports the Labour Party’s calls to introduce a new legal duty on the Secretary of State for Health and on NHS England to ensure that excess private profits are not made out of the NHS at the expense of patient care.

 

 

 

5.8.1

(NOTE: The Deputy Lord Mayor (Councillor Magid Magid) and Councillors Douglas Johnson, Robert Murphy and Alison Teal voted for paragraphs (a) to (c) of the Substantive Motion, and abstained from voting on paragraphs (d) to (i) of the Motion, and asked for this to be recorded.)