Petition handed in to support NHS bill to stem privati...

Petition handed in tomorrow to support NHS bill to stem privatisation tide

10 March 2016

Campaigners supporting the parliamentary bill to restore public accountability to the running of the NHS will hand in a 21,800 signature petition to the Department of Health tomorrow (Friday 11 March).

They will then join a rally opposite the Houses of Parliament to urge support for the National Health Service Bill 2015-2016 which MPs will be debating tomorrow.

Unite, the country’s largest union which 100,000 members in the health service, is angry that since the Health and Social Care Act 2012 the public service ethos of the service has been continually eroded leading to increasing privatisation of the NHS for the benefit of profit-hungry private healthcare companies.

Unite members will be joining other campaigners to hand in the petition at the Department of Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2NS at 9.45 tomorrow and then at the rally at 11.00 to publicise the NHS bill.

The bill aims to roll back the privatisation tide and restore the government’s legal duty to provide health services in England, currently outsourced to such unaccountable entities as NHS England and Public Health England. 

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “We are coming down to the wire when it comes to saving the NHS from being hived off to rapacious private healthcare companies.

“Now is the time for MPs to step up to the plate to reverse the detrimental changes of recent years and restore the NHS to its 1948 founding principles.

“For more than 25 years the NHS has been gradually undermined as a public service, with laws brought in to allow more and more of it to be outsourced to the private sector.”

This culminated in the 2012 Act which saw the break-up of national needs-based patient care in England and replaced it with a competitive market model where groups of GPs in clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are obliged to put health services out to tender.

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “This Act - probably one of the worst that MPs have approved in recent decades - has enabled billions of pounds to be siphoned off that should have been spent on frontline care.

“It has gone to fund this flawed and misguided concept of the ‘market’. To put it crudely, millions have gone down the drain.

“This neo-liberal ideology of ‘profits before patients’ must be stopped before the NHS based on each person’s need free at the point of delivery disappears for ever.”

Unite members are still being asked to sign the petition below:


Notes to editors: 

Summary of the National Health Service bill 2015-16 

To re-establish the Secretary of State’s legal duty as to the National Health Service in England and to make provision about the other duties of the Secretary of State in that regard; to make provision about the administration and accountability of the National Health Service in England; to repeal section 1 of the National Health Service (Private Finance) Act 1997 and sections 38 and 39 of the Immigration Act 2014; to make provision about the application of international law in relation to health services in the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes. 

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: 

  • 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.