This is an open email to Andrew Fisher in support of Professor Allyson Pollock’s email to him about the Labour Party position on the NHS Reinstatement Bill, following the Labour Party Leader’s (or someone’s) decision to veto MP Eleanor Smith’s presentation of it to the House of Commons on 11th July as a 10 Minute Rule Bill.
If you agree with this email, please add your name this evening (June 26th) in the comments box below the open email (below) and we will add your name to the email when we send it at midnight tonight.
Professor Allyson Pollock’s main concerns in her email to Andrew Fisher are:
“I am pleased that you remain entirely comfortable with the thrust of the Bill, as I would expect after last year’s Conference motion.
At the same time though I’m perplexed and deeply worried by what seems to be an intention to proceed in a timorous, piecemeal fashion. Structures follow on from the duties and powers, and I cannot see how ending private sector contracts and bits of the 2012 Act could work, rather than reinstating the duty to provide a National Health Service and the structures that would flow from that, given the extensive powers that FTs and NHSE now have. I am puzzled as to why you do not commit to reinstating the duty to provide, with geographic responsibilities and services integrated into geographic bodies, which are the hallmarks of the NHS and universal services – and the driving thrust of the Bill. Perish the thought that your first Bill would be little more than ‘the Efford Bill plus’.
We are well aware that the Bill will not, and cannot, be ‘copied and pasted’ onto the statute book. There is plenty of time to consult – we have been doing it ourselves for over four years already – and I can see no excuse for putting it off until after an initial limited Bill that would not go to the heart of what is required for restoring a universal and comprehensive service. The sensible approach would be to consult now on the NHS Reinstatement Bill in order to get the structures right. Sorry, but ‘constraints of government’ and of ‘legislative programmes’ smack as evasive.
I agree that getting public health and social care right is crucial – but the Bill is not prescriptive on public health, apart from the principle that it should be part of the NHS as it was before the Lansley Act; and its permitted (not mandated) integration of social care would be dependent on necessary future social care legislation. Again, I don’t understand why the Bill’s proposed provisions appear to cause difficulty on these points and why they cannot be consulted on now.
I’d also like to know more about what you are referring to in relation to ‘the placement of statutory duties on regional mayors’ – the Bill was intended to ensure that they were involved, not somehow to impose onerous duties on them.”
Sorry for short notice, but we will be sending the email at midnight Tuesday 26th June, in time for the Wednesday 27th June Labour Party meeting about the NHS Reinstatement Bill.
Email to Andrew Fisher starts here:
Dear Andrew Fisher
Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS is a cross-party/no party group that has campaigned enthusiastically for the cross-party NHS Reinstatement Bill since 2014.
It is central to our core aims of stopping and reversing NHS privatisation.
We are deeply disappointed that the NHS Bill will not have a reading on 11 July under the 10 Minute Rule Bill, as Eleanor Smith MP was due to present it. We are worried about government legislation bringing in the US-style organisational structure of Integrated Care.
We’re aware that you, as the Labour Party Executive Director of Policy, have been in touch with Professor Pollock. We also understand that a meeting is scheduled on Wednesday 27th June, for discussion of the NHS Bill among the Labour front bench and health team, to which Professor Pollock is invited and which Eleanor Smith MP hopes to be invited to as well.
We share Professor Pollock’s concerns that she expressed in her email to you, and we urge the meeting to take them on board and address them.
We also fully support Eleanor Smith in her attempt to present the NHS Bill as a Ten Minute Rule Bill and urge you to make sure she is invited to the meeting and listened to.
Our anxieties about your email to Professor Pollock centre on the possibility outlined by Professor Pollock, that a “Labour” NHS Reinstatement Bill would indeed be timorous and piecemeal in its approach to ending NHS privatisation. We fear a re-run of 2015 when the Labour Party’s alternative to the NHS Reinstatament Bill was the rather pathetic Efford Bill.
We agree with Professor Pollock that any NHS Bill that limited itself to ending private sector contracts and bits of the 2012 Act, rather than reinstating the duty to provide a National Health Service and the structures that would flow from that, would not solve the problems of privatisation and fragmentation in the NHS.
We are particularly worried that Labour-led Councils in Calderdale, Kirklees, the whole of West Yorkshire and beyond are busily setting up so-called place-based and locality Accountable Care Systems (which, as we all know, NHS England has re-branded Integrated Care Systems in order to avoid the connotations of the USA’s health care services.)
Labour elected mayors, for instance in South Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and London, also seem to be fully signed up to Accountable/Integrated Care.
Fundamentally the Labour party is split on the issue.
Many Labour party members who joined to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership bid, and have remained to do their best to make him the next prime minister (and this includes a fair proportion of members of Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS) remain adamant in their opposition to the imposition of Accountable Care on the NHS – with good reason.
They – and other members of Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS – fail to understand why Labour Party elected representatives across the country are actively working to introduce Accountable Care (however NHS England likes to spin and rebrand it), despite the Composite 8 motion at the last Labour Party Conference.
In this context, there also appears to be Labour Party support for the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s proposals for primary or secondary legislation to enable the creation of Accountable/Integrated Care Organisations – by whatever name they might go by. There also seems to be significant Labour Party support for the quite detailed proposals in the Darzi/IPPR Review of Health and Care, about what these new ACOs would do over the 10 years from 2020.
This gives an extra edge to our shock that Jeremy Corbyn or someone on the Labour shadow front bench – we really don’t care who – told Eleanor Smith MP not to present the NHS Bill as a Ten Minute Rule Bill on 11 July. And it shapes our worry that a Labour Party NHS Bill would in fact be an Accountable/Integrated Care Organisation enabling Bill.
In the circumstances, we fully share Professor Pollock’s concerns and support her email to you.
Jenny Shepherd (Chair, Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS)
Christine Hyde, (CK999 and N Kirklees Support the NHS)
Katherine Horner, (CK999)
Andrea English (CK999)
Chrissie Parker (CK999)