On Friday 21st November I was in Parliament to support my Labour colleague Clive Efford’s private members’ bill on the NHS. I received well over 500 emails from constituents expressing their support for the bill, which would scrap David Cameron’s new market framework for the NHS and ensure NHS patients are always put first.
The NHS has never been more vulnerable than under the present government. The Tories wasted £3billion on an unnecessary and damaging top-down reorganisation. The new rules allow hospitals to earn up to 49% of their income from private patients, which risks pushing NHS patients to the back of the queue. New competition rules also force doctors to open up services to competition from the private sector.
Clive’s bill would end the creep towards NHS privatisation, bureaucracy and red-tape and put patients back at the heart of the NHS. Labour has pledged to invest the millions of pounds saved by scrapping competition red-tape in ensuring people can get a GP appointment within 48 hours, or on the same day if they need it.
At the vote 241 MPs supported Clive’s bill and only 18 voted against. Unfortunately we have to expect that the Government will block it at the next stage. The only way we will repeal the measures in the Health and Social Care Act is by having a majority of MPs in the next parliament who are willing to do so.
As many of you know I am standing down in May 2015, but I very much hope my successor will be in a position to repeal the act.