In two weeks’ time ( Friday 21 November), MPs have a chance to save the NHS from the Tories’ destructive and controversial NHS reforms by backing a new bill that puts people not profit back at the heart of the NHS.
Published today in full, (Friday 7 November) Labour MP Clive Efford’s private members’ bill puts the brakes on the most damaging aspects of the Tories’ pro-privatisation Health and Social Care Act 2012, which senior Tories themselves admit was a ‘huge strategic error’.
Backed by TULO and the country’s leading health unions, including Unite, UNISON and the GMB, the bill is a first step to building a modern NHS for the future and ending the NHS market free-for-all which has already seen 56 per cent of new NHS contracts won by private providers.
The bill will restore the responsibility to the Secretary of State for Health to provide a comprehensive health service, free at the point of delivery and prevents Foundation Trusts from prioritising private income at the expense of NHS patients.
UK MPs from across the political divide are being urged to vote in support of the National Health Service (amended duties and powers) bill when it comes before the House of Commons for its second reading on Friday 21 November.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, said: “Our NHS has been thrown a lifeline which MPs must seize now or risk alienating huge swathes of the NHS- loving British public. This is a chance for MPs from across the political divide to ditch the very worst parts of the government’s Health and Social Care Act and to end once and for all the market-driven privatisation of our NHS.
“David Cameron would do well to remember that he had no mandate to sell our NHS piece by piece to the private sector. The public was promised no top down reorganisation only for the NHS to fall victim to the biggest and most costliest upheaval in its history. With senior Tories admitting that the £3 billion NHS shake-up has been their biggest mistake in government, now is the time for all MPS to right that wrong.
“The question still being asked is why David Cameron is refusing to take the NHS out of TTIP. People are firmly opposed to the inclusion of the NHS in this controversial EU-US trade deal known as TTIP. It’s time for David Cameron to stand up for Britain and use his veto in Europe to protect our NHS from this dangerous trade deal.”
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership gives US investors in privatised NHS services new rights to sue the government in ‘international tribunals’ if it tries to take those services back into public hands.
The tribunals that rule on these cases operate outside the UK legal system and can make governments pay unlimited sums of money with no right of appeal. In similar deals ‘investor protection’ has forced the Polish government into a €2.2 billion settlement and led to the Slovakian government having its foreign assets seized – because they changed their minds about privatisation of their health insurance systems.
Note to editors:
The National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill is a private members’ bill promoted by Labour MP for Eltham, Clive Efford. Its second reading is in the House of Commons on Friday 21 November.
The bill can be viewed at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2014-2015/0018/15018.pdf
The Bill seeks to repeal the most damaging aspects of the Health and Social Care Act.
- Return to the Secretary of State the responsibility to guarantee comprehensive healthcare, free at the point of need.
- Put patient care before private profit, protecting our NHS from the competition-led race to the bottom opened up in the Health and Social Care Act.
- Limit the amount of income NHS trusts can make from private patients, ensuring NHS patients are not forced to the back of the queue behind paying customers.
- Give Parliament sovereignty over the NHS so that any future treaties or trade agreements (like TTIP) would have to be debated and voted on in Parliament before they can apply to the NHS.
According to research by the NHS Support Federation, since 2013 when the Health and Social Care Act 2012 came into effect, over £7 billion’s worth of NHS contracts has been put out to competitive tender. Of this, 56 per cent of the contracts put out to tender have been won by private providers.
For further information please contact Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774 146 777
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.