Andrew Lansley wants to break up the NHS and hand much of it over to private companies. We are fighting to save the NHS.
It is time that I updated you on the fight for the NHS.
We are nearing the end of the ‘listening pause’. Not a lot of sign of listening; not a lot of pause.
To be more precise, the government would like to listen only to those who agree with them, and only encouraged comments on such selective questions as “what are the benefits of competition?”
And the pause, well they may have paused in the legislative process, but MPs have been on leave for much of this time anyway, and the implementation seems to be steaming ahead, so we could find ourselves in the strange position of having the Bill thrown out, but then to be told that most of it has happened anyway. Maybe I should enquire what the legal position is on that.
Prof Steve Field, who has chaired the listening exercise otherwise known as the “NHS Future Forum” is due to report back on about the 7th June. the Government will then tell us what changes they propose to make to the Health and Social Care Bill.
Meanwhile we have not been idle. (‘We’ means Dr Charles West, Dr Graham Winyard, Dr Evan Harris and a several hundred Liberal Democrat supporters.)
The amendment that I proposed so successfully at the Lib Dem Spring Conference has been taken to a number of regional conferences and received overwhelming or unanimous support.
We have discussed with NHS professionals and academics the various threats to the NHS posed by Lansley’s Bill and produced a list of 23 amendments to the Bill that we believe would protect the NHS, and that means us – you and me – the patients, from the worst effects of the bill. It is our view that if ALL 23 amendments are accepted then the Bill would be acceptable.
We have discussed with Senior Liberal Democrats in both Houses of Parliament how we might progress.
Co-operation not competition. Nick Clegg has fully taken on board the fact that Lansley’s Bill is dangerous and needs fundamental changes. He has publicly stated that “Monitor”* should not be promoting competition as outlined in the Bill but should promote co-operation in the patients’ interests.
Time is running out. We need to keep the pressure up for this next few weeks. The Health Bill MUST be very substantially changed or thrown out completely.
- Write to your MP.
- Speak to friends and family.
- Sign one or more of the petitions.
- If you know any Lib Dem MPs write to them.
- Write to Nick Clegg.
To protect the future of the NHS:
- The Secretary of State must remain responsible for providing a comprehensive healthcare service for the country.
- Commissioning of Healthcare must not be handed over to private companies. GPs may play an important part, but should not have total responsibility for all commissioning.
- Your own GP must remain able to prescribe, recommend or refer you for any healthcare treatment that he or she thinks you need.
- Healthcare provision must be based on the principles of co-operation not competition.
- NHS hospitals must be able to continue to provide for the full range of services that patients rely on, including emergency treatment and the teaching and training of staff that will be needed for the future.