Official: FIRM Labour commitment to repeal Tory NHS Act

This press-release was by the Labour party was sent to me today by a Labour MP.It was ’embargoed’ until 1 minute after midnight today (Monday), but I can’t find it picked up by the press at all yet, so you may very well be reading it first here..

The press release represents what we’ve all been waiting for, and which I’ve been expecting since a conversation with Andy Burnham a few weeks ago. Emphases are mine:

Burnham: Labour will repeal Cameron’s NHS market


– Hundreds of new NHS bodies have not been properly established, leaving NHS at “maximum risk” according to NHS chief.

– From Monday, NHS open to full-blown commercialisation

– Doctors required to put all contracts out to tender and hospitals able to earn up to 49% of income treating private patients

– Doctors not empowered or engaged by changes

-New figures from Labour reveal a third of laid-off managers, 2200, have been re-employed in the new structure.

Labour today warns that the NHS has been placed on a “fast-track to fragmentation and privatisation”.

David Cameron’s NHS re-organisation comes into force on Monday, after a long and bruising battle with NHS staff and patients.

However, a new survey by Labour on the Government’s re-organisation of the NHS reveals that there is already evidence of increased privatisation, conflicts of interest and a growing postcode lottery.

GP commissioners are being forced to open up all contracts to ‘Any Qualified Provider’ and already 396 community services across England have been privatised.

Labour’s NHS Check report reveals that the NHS has spent £3.45 billion on the re-organisation. Over £1 billion has been spent on redundancy payments and new figures from Labour reveal a third of laid-off managers, 2200, have been re-employed in the new structure.

In addition, hundreds of the new NHS bodies have missed the 1 April 2013 deadline for authorisation. David Nicholson, the Chief Executive of NHS England, has conceded that the NHS is now at “maximum risk.

On Monday, Labour will commit to repeal David Cameron’s Health and Social Care Act and the market system it foists on the NHS.

Labour would maintain the NHS bodies created by the Act to prevent the upheaval of another re-organisation. But it makes a clear commitment to restore the legal framework of a universal, collaborative health service.

Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, launching Labour’s NHS Check report on the dangerous flaws in the re-organisation, said:

“David Cameron has placed the National Health Service on a fast-track to fragmentation and privatisation.

“He has siphoned over £3 billion out of the front-line and blown it on a back-office re-organisation that no-one wanted and for which nobody voted.

“The British public have never given him permission to put the NHS up for sale.

Thousands of managers have received six-figure pay-offs while thousands of nurses have been given their P45s. Nothing more clearly illustrates a Government with its priorities wrong.

“Far from letting ‘doctors decide’, Ministers are forcing the medical profession to open up all NHS services to the market. Hundreds of new private companies now risk fragmenting patient care when more integration is needed.

“With today’s changes, David Cameron has put profits before patients in the NHS. Doctors will not be in control, but required to offer up the NHS to the lowest bidder. That’s why Labour will repeal the Government’s free market and put the right values back at the heart of the NHS.”

This firm commitment, which clearly sets Labour at the forefront of the fight to save the NHS in the form it was always meant to be and is a clear differentiator from its political opponents, should be welcomed by everyone who cares about the NHS and about the wellbeing of its patients, future patients (all of us!) and staff.

As a passionate campaigner for a truly public NHS ‘free at the point of need’, I’m no less delighted by this because I knew it was coming. Well done Ed Miliband, Andy Burnham and Labour’s whole health team.

No doubt Cameron, Hunt and co will try to spin this commitment to reflect badly on Labour, but this is a clear policy statement that the Tories cannot possibly match or steal without undoing everything they’ve schemed and agitated to achieve with regard to the NHS.

The critical thing now is to minimise the damage that the government’s destructive policies can inflict on the NHS up to the next general election. If you’d like to contribute toward a practical measure to achieve this, please visit CCGWatch and consider making a donation, whether as a one-off or as as regular contribution.


  1. Reblogged this on Gogwit's Blog and commented:
    At last, firm news of what an incoming Labour administration in 2015 might commit to.
    News about education would be good, making academies return stolen public assets, with interest would be a good start.

  2. While any move away from the Tory’s plans is welcomed, I’d have much preferred them to have said they would re-nationalise the NHS and outlaw private companies involvement.

    The NHS used to work without private intervention; it could and should again.

  3. I am absoluely delighted by this, but Labour, rest assured we, the electorate will be keeping a very active eye on you going forward – but u want a politically aware and active electorate no doubt! Well done (at last) and here’s to a Labour, Green coalition victory in 2015. I suppose you’ll need the lib Dems there too, but they should do what they’re told. Fingers crossed for fatal motion in lords at end of month!

  4. So he’s going to keep “NHS bodies”. Does this include the CCGs (who’ve replaced the PCTs) and whose job seems to me, according to the Act/Regs, to be to put everything out to competitive tender = private sector businesses (including those set up by members of CCGs) winning business and NHS (no profit) losing and then running down?

    1. I’ve had this discussion with him and his minister Andrew Gwynne. It’s about ‘repurposing’ – using the existing structures to do different things, in order to minimise the disruption to a service that will have been under the cosh for years by then. CCGs would exist but perform a completely different function.

  5. This is very welcome, of course, but there at least 50 areas in the UK that would like a commitment to reverse needless closing of acute services that may begin in the next few months. If hospitals are struggling it is often that they need a bit of temporary help or a bit of time to sort things out – not opportunistic closure. A commitment of this sort might stop the barely concealed policy of draconian closures on dodgy pretexts in it’s tracks. Ironically this sort of brave commitment NOW might enhance the chances of election (the government aren’t trusted on the NHS and aren’t doing too well on the economy) and therefore the ability to action it (and bringing in a collaborative system would make the necessary savings I can assure you).

    1. That’s a lot harder to do. It’s why it’s so important to impede the damage the Tories can do with their new legislation between now and 2015 – which is why I’m trying to get ccgwatch.org.uk going (to fight closures by Monitor etc as well as influence CCGs). I’m hoping Save Stafford Hospital will get on board and we can use the NHS Constitution to take the fight to the ‘enemy’.

  6. Yes fair enough, though a bit of a supportive tone from Mr Burnham and Mr Milliband for everyone flogging their guts out in “threatened” DGHs wouldn’t go amiss! Very supportive of ccgwatch to the extent that I think I am responsible for 12% of the UK funding of the project so far! And … you are quite right they need watching. If ccg members vote money into providers that they have an interest in, even if they leave the room while their mates do the particular vote – then I say that’s corrupt. Is that too strong a word? I don’t think so.

    1. I don’t think so either – and yes, your donation was very generous! Been slow going so far, but hopefully building credibility and think some support from at least one union might be forthcoming. Need to keep the wolf from the door while I devote my time to it, so if you get chance to spread the word or nudge any philanthropists, please do! 🙂

  7. There still seems to be reporting of this in the media. Have I just missed it, or is this yet another instance of the press doing the government’s PR job for them?

  8. Did my comment get through as it does not appear amongst this selection above.

  9. Sorry, my previous post, should read “..seems to be NO reporting of this ..”

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