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.