Our NHS is a service to be proud of, beyond any other. Its principles are the envy of other countries. Since the Labour government of 1997 – 2010 committed to adequate funding after the previous Tory government cuts, it has made huge strides in delivering the best healthcare in the world and has better results than countries spending far more on healthcare systems.
The USA has a system universally derided that delivers the best healthcare only for the wealthy, spends obscene amounts on legal challenges, administration and private profits, adds massive costs to business and leaves millions outside the system.
So why are the Tories hell bent on changing our NHS to be more like the USA? And why are the Lib Dems supporting them all the way (despite their jitteriness and handwringing, they ALL have voted the NHS reform bill through hand in hand with the Tories).
We know that many Tories want to privatise the NHS and have always hated the principles behind it. Why are the Lib Dems going along with it? Is it just the fear of losing their seats if the coalition collapses? Is that what our NHS is worth to them?
The Bill is being rushed through Parliament over the next two days without even proper scrutiny of the changes made. The cross party organisation 38 degrees has paid for legal advice on the changes. Read them and weep but don’t stop there. Please help save our NHS by calling and emailing your MP as suggested.
Our independent lawyers identified two major problems in the new legislation:
- The Secretary of State’s legal duty to provide a health service will be scrapped. On top of that, a new “hands-off clause” removes the government’s powers to oversee local consortia and guarantee the level of service wherever we live. We can expect increases in postcode lotteries – and less ways to hold the government to account if the service deteriorates.
- The NHS will almost certainly be subject to UK and EU competition law and the reach of procurement law rules will extend across all NHS commissioners. Private health companies will be able to take new NHS commissioning groups to court if they don’t win contracts. Scarce public money could be tied up in legal wrangles instead of hospital beds. Meanwhile, the legislationlifts the cap on NHS hospitals filling beds with private patients.
So who are MPs going to listen to when casting their vote – you, or lobbyists from private health companies? This is our NHS, and it’s up to us to defend it. Email your MP now: