A new draft law has been laid before Parliament today to repeal the Government’s competition rules currently driving NHS privatisation.
The Private Member’s Bill from Labour’s Clive Efford MP, with the full support of the party’s frontbench, will be put to a Commons vote two weeks today.
The law would free the NHS from David Cameron’s enforced competition and creeping privatisation rules that were ushered in by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
Last month, senior Cabinet Ministers admitted the NHS re-organisation had been their ‘biggest mistake’.
A two-week campaign from Labour – building to a parliamentary vote on Friday 21st November – will see Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs across the country, particularly in marginal seats, reminded of their support for the Health Act. MPs and candidates from other parties will be challenged by Labour counterparts and constituents on support for removing enforced competition from the NHS.
The NHS Amended Duties and Powers Bill would:
- repeal the ‘section 75’ rules that force compulsory tendering of all NHS contracts and came into force last year;
- remove the ability for hospitals to earn up to 49 per cent of their income from treating private patients;
- exempt the NHS from the EU-US trade treaty – known as TTIP – which permits US private healthcare giants to bid for NHS contracts. The Bill would mean that even a signed treaty could not force competition on the NHS in any part of the UK.
- restore the Secretary of State for Health’s responsibility for the NHS, as removed by the Cameron Health Act, that allows Ministers to evade responsibility for the NHS and pass the buck to unelected quangos and local health commissioners.
- scrap the role given to NHS regulator Monitor to act as the economic regulator for the NHS, forcing contracts to be tendered openly.
Clive Efford MP said:
“The NHS as we know it today will disappear if we continue to allow services to be forced out to private companies.
“It will seriously undermine the capacity of the NHS to provide services in the future, leaving us at the mercy of the private sector. This Bill will halt the rush to privatisation and put patients rather than profits at the heart of our NHS.
“My Bill will give Parliament sovereignty over the NHS and will protect it from the EU-US treaty.”
Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:
“David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Coalition MPs have never been given the permission of the public to put market forces at the heart of the NHS. They just did it – and were criticised by UKIP for not going far enough and bringing only a ‘whiff of privatisation’ to the NHS.
“We are not waiting for next year’s Election but acting now to free the NHS from Cameron’s market. In two weeks, we will throw our full weight behind this Bill to repeal the most noxious elements of the Cameron Health Act.”
Speaking on behalf of the All Together for NHS campaign TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“People do not want to see the privatisation of their health service. But the government’s top down restructuring and preference for the private sector is inevitably taking us in that direction. Since these changes came into effect, the majority of contracts awarded have gone outside of the NHS, making a mockery of the Prime Minister’s claims that there is no privatisation taking place.
“That’s why we need a bill that will promote an integrated National Health Service, free at the point of delivery, prioritising patient’s needs, and protecting precious NHS resources from wasteful competition and market bureaucracy.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, added: “Our NHS has been thrown a lifeline which MPs must seize now or risk alienating huge swathes of the NHS- loving British public. This is a chance for MPs from across the political divide to ditch the very worst parts of the government’s Health and Social Care Act and to end once and for all the market-driven privatisation of our NHS.
“David Cameron would do well to remember that he had no mandate to sell our NHS piece by piece to the private sector. The public was promised no top down reorganisation only for the NHS to fall victim to the biggest and most costliest upheaval in its history. With senior Tories admitting that the £3 billion NHS shake-up has been their biggest mistake in government, now is the time for all MPS to right that wrong.
“The question still being asked is why David Cameron is refusing to take the NHS out of TTIP. People are firmly opposed to the inclusion of the NHS in this controversial EU-US trade deal known as TTIP. It’s time for David Cameron to stand up for Britain and use his veto in Europe to protect our NHS from this dangerous trade deal.”