Thursday, 7 March 2013

Our NHS NOT safe in Tory Hands

This week Labour called a debate in Westminster on plans by the Tories and Lib Dems to contract out services in the NHS. I firmly believe that the government was making the privatisation of the NHS "inevitable". It coincidently coincided with Barnet Labours emergency motion on virtually the said same subject tackling the financial shortfall GPs in Barnet would face.

It was obvious in the new regulations that if Clinical Commissioning Groups did not advertise services to full and open competition, private health companies would be able to mount a legal challenge. This is essentially a wish by the coalition to bring in full scale privatisation of our health service, something Labour has been warning since the Tories and Lib Dems came to power three years ago.

But shortly after the debate, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government announced a climb as it confirmed a rewrite of the rules around NHS commissioning.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has repeatedly raised concerns about the Tory-Lib Dem Government's determination to privatise the National Health Service.

From April, the new Clinical Commissioning Groups in Sefton will be taking on their new roles, but now without the guidance of the government.

The guidance must be to ensure that the NHS is the primary supplier of services. If we don't get that, then the NHS will end up being run down with vital services going to private companies whose primary aim is to make profits.

It is a road which the Tories and Lib Dems seem determined to go down, despite the repeated warnings of the health professionals, including thousands of doctors, nurses and even the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges who warned that the changes could cause 'dangerous' fragmentation of health services.

However, the announcement that they would rewrite the rules around commissioning is welcomed, but only cast iron assurances that the NHS will be the primary supplier of health services in this country will be acceptable.

That's the message we are hearing from those who have contacted us expressing concerns that the Tories and Lib Dems are selling the NHS down the river.

Many Labour MPs have signed EDM 1104 that reads:  That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) Regulations 2013 (S.I., 2013, No. 257), dated 11 February 2013, a copy of which was laid before this House on 13 February, be annulled.
Sadly Barnet’s MPs and even the diminutive member for Brent Central have failed to join the fight against privatisation of our Health Service
It is also worrying that the Tory Leader welcomed private companies moving into the NHS when during the debate in the Town Hall he stated: “Private medicine is good, the more we get in the NHS the better.”

As Andy Burnham quite rightly said: “The greatest threat the NHS faces right now is a Government whose only prescription for it is the toxic medicine of cuts, re-organisation and privatisation”.

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