The NHS Bill has been presented to this parliament by Green MP Caroline Lucas, as a Private Members’ Bill. Eleven other MPs signed the Bill (the maximum allowed), including SNP MP and DFNHS member Dr Philippa Whitford.
The NHS Bill, drafted by DFNHS member Professor Allyson Pollock and barrister Peter Roderick, frames a clear mechanism to protect the NHS against the damage of privatisation, in overturning key aspects of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (HSCA) and earlier legislation that set the NHS in England on the road to fragmentation – often without public consultation, and nearly always without their full awareness.
The Bill, which was backed last week by the British Medical Association, has gained cross-party support from backbenchers from Labour, Plaid Cymru, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats. Labour’s frontbench is yet to commit – and of the four leadership candidates, only Jeremy Corbyn has so far backed the bill.
Ahead of the presentation of the bill, Caroline Lucas called on all Labour leadership candidates to publicly back the bill and as a last stand in defending the National Health Service.
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 – effectively uncoupling responsibility for the NHS from Parliament.
‘The NHS we love is facing an existential threat. The creeping privatization of the last quarter of a century has introduced the fragmentation and the inefficiencies this brings into our health service.
‘It’s time to take a stand for our NHS. I’m honoured to be presenting the bill http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/topamax/ today with such strong cross-party support but, to take the campaign for a truly public NHS to the next level, it’s vital that the Labour Party comes forward to back the bill.’
Professor Allyson Pollock:
‘Without the restoration of the duty to provide core-listed services, which the Health and Social Care Act removed from the Secretary of State, we will continue to see the NHS wither away.
‘We will then see a race to the bottom: the blurring of health and social care, more introduction of charges, and marketization.
‘That’s why we worked so hard on the NHS Bill and the Bill Campaign. We’re been trying to get cross-party support and we have it. What we need people to do is to get their MPs to sign up to the legislation and back Caroline’s Private Members’ Bill.’
Keep Our NHS Public Co-Chair Professor Sue Richards added:
‘The NHS Bill has been wrongly described as promoting yet more “top-down” change for the NHS. This is a deception: it’s nothing of the sort. If nothing is done, the piecemeal privatisation of the NHS will continue, as the most profitable services are creamed off by private companies, who then whittle away standards and cut staff to make a profit. The rest will be left to struggle, a two-tier nightmare no one voted for and no one deserves or needs.
‘This Bill is a clear way to stop that. It needs to be heard, and the truth about what is happening to the NHS told.’