Labour’s position: not voting for the NHS Bill

Alas and alack, this is the Labour Party email that has gone out to Labour MPs, for them to send to constituents, about why they won’t be voting for the NHS Bill on Friday 11 March.

If you receive such a response from your MP remind them that in 2004 the then Labour / Lib Dem coalition Govt in Scotland abolished Trusts, the internal market, the commissioner / provider split and reinstated regional health authorities to plan and provide healthcare for all of Scotland, as the NHS used to be.

So why can’t Labour do this now, in England, as the NHS Bill proposes?

Peter Roderick, co-author of the NHS Bill, confirms that this is the Labour Party’s final position on the Bill, laid out in an email going out to constituents from Labour MPs, which sets out their final position for tomorrow.

“Thank you for your recent email asking me to be in the House of Commons for the second reading of the NHS Bill 2015 on Friday 11 March.
I very much regret that due to existing constituency commitments, I will be unable to be present but I thought it would be helpful if I set out my views on the Bill.
As you may know, this Bill was introduced as a Private Member’s Bill last summer and as such, it is subject to the constraints associated with the parliamentary timetable. Even if the Bill were to receive its second reading this week (and there is no guarantee that it will even be debated), there is little prospect of the Bill becoming law in this session due to a lack of parliamentary time.
The Opposition is supportive of the overall objectives of the Bill. In particular, we support the principles behind duties outlined in Clause 1 of the proposed Bill – namely restoring accountability to the Secretary of State for the delivery of health services and the requirement that a comprehensive health service continues to be provided free of charge.
Labour also believes that the encroaching privatisation of the NHS must be halted and that decisions about NHS services should never be called into question by any international treaties or agreements, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
However there are concerns that some of the other parts of this Bill would require another wholesale reorganisation of the health service.
The recent top-down reorganisation of the NHS, brought about by the Coalition’s Health and Social Care Act 2012, threw the system into turmoil, cost over £3bn and eroded staff morale.
So whilst I support the broad objectives which lie behind this Bill, I am concerned about the scale of structural change and costs associated with any further major reorganisation of the NHS.
If the Bill were to proceed, Labour would seek to amend it so that it avoids the problems of a further reorganisation but implements the key principles of the Bill.
In line with our manifesto commitment at the last election, Labour is committed to repealing the competition elements of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and ensuring that patient care is always put before profits, and collaboration before competition.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about this matter.”

Updated: An earlier version of this report wrongly identified the Parliamentary Labour Party office that produced this email, setting out the Labour party position.

I was then  told by an informed person that it was unclear which office in the Parliamentary Labour Party produced this email.

Later, Bristol Save our NHS campaigners said that their MP told them the email came from the office of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party leader.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.