Lambeth Green Candidates back NHS Reinstatement Bill

17 March 2015

Lambeth Green Party’s Parliamentary candidates have expressed their support for the NHS Reinstatement Bill which was presented to Parliament on 11th March by Green MP Caroline Lucas.

With the support of a further 11 MPs from across the parties the Green Party hopes that the bill will be the start of restoring the NHS back to its founding principles. The bill aims to stop the breaking apart and handing over of services to private healthcare organisations – which current legislation has guaranteed. [1]

The NHS Reinstatement Bill frames a clear mechanism to protect the NHS against the damage of privatisation.  It overturns key aspects of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and earlier legislation that set the NHS in England on the road to fragmentation – often without public consultation, and nearly always without the full awareness of the general public.

Far from being yet another ‘top-down, centralised, re-structuring’, crucially it hands responsibility for provision of service back to the Secretary of State for Health, something the HSCA severed – thereby effectively uncoupling ultimate responsibility for the NHS from Parliament. It also spells out how, if the NHS is to be saved, it must:

  • Reinstate the government’s legal duty to provide key NHS services in England.
  • Abolish market structures like foundation trusts [2].
  • Abolish competition and contracts [3].
  • Centralise PFI debt to protect individual trusts from its impact.
  • Stop immigration health charges [4].
  • Stop treaties like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) [5] without Parliament’s approval if they cover the NHS.
  • Establish area Health Boards from the bottom up.
  • Re-establish Community Health Councils for public accountability.
  • Require national terms and conditions under the NHS Staff Council and Agenda for Change system [6].

Jonathan Bartley, Candidate for Streatham said: "The marketisation and privatisation of successive Governments has changed the basic principles of what the NHS was founded upon. Bringing in private providers does not only fragment services and leach money out of the public economy, it threatens the whole ethos of public service. Staff across the board have been forced to concentrate on prices and targets, instead of thinking about how to maximise the quality of care. Nothing short of complete reversal of privatisation will restore the NHS we know and love.”

Rashid Nix, Candidate for Dulwich and West Norwood said: “The NHS is the real jewel in the crown of British society and is understandably respected throughout the world. It should remain so and not become yet another privatisation project.“

Gulnar Hasnain, Candidate for Vauxhall said: "The NHS has always used private firms to provide services it could not easily provide for itself, for example to repair NHS buildings. What the NHS Reinstatement Bill does is end the current obligation on NHS services to use tendering to determine which organisation delivers front-line healthcare. We have seen successive governments state record investment in the NHS, however this constant shift towards privatisation has seen more and more of this investment being consumed by agency staff, management and consulting fees preventing the core services getting the investment that they so badly need."

Notes to Editors:

[1] The Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill is a non-partisan campaign and has a wide range of support across the political spectrum(http://www.nhsbill2015.org/our-supporters/ ). It encourages the public to contact prospective parliamentary candidates in their constituency, determine their views on the Reinstatement Bill, and gain their support for it wherever possible:

http://www.nhsbill2015.org

@nhsbill2015

[2] The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models. [Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon.

[3] The NHS has always used private firms, partnerships and individual traders to provide services it could not easily or as cost-effectively provide for itself, eg some legal services and construction of or repair to NHS buildings. What the NHS Reinstatement Bill does is end the current obligation on NHS services to use tendering to determine which organisation delivers front-line healthcare: this is pro-privatisation engineering and is an ongoing threat to the comprehensiveness of NHS care.

[4] The Immigration Act proposes to discriminate against immigrants by charging them for NHS treatment.

[5] The TTIP, if enacted as it stands currently, would make it very difficult for future governments to reverse the provision of healthcare by private organisations if they could show this would prove commercially damaging to them [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transatlantic_Trade_and_Investment_Partnership ].

[6] The Bill would ensure that any handover of employment for NHS staff from NHS FTs, CCGs and NHS trusts to the new NHS bodies was conducted with the full participation of Trade Unions and would require the Secretary of State for Health to make regulations setting out the terms and conditions of transfer.






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