I copy below a letter from Roberta Blackman-Woods in response to a request from me to know what the Labour Party will do about the reinstatement of the NHS after the very damaging legislation passed by the Coalition, in particular the health and Social Care Act 2012. Carole Reeves
From Roberta Blackman-Woods
1st May 2015
Thank you for writing to me recently about the NHS.
I believe Britain needs an NHS that is true to the principles on which Nye Bevan founded it in 1948 – public provision, free at the point of need for all who need it, and accountable to them – and which is also capable of providing the best possible care for all throughout the 21st Century.
It is a huge challenge which certainly can’t be met by introducing more competition.
This Government’s Health and Social Care Act has removed the Secretary of State’s legal duty to provide a health service and created Monitor to remove “anti-competitive” practices in the NHS – together a charter for privatisation. The Act also wasted £3 billion, which could otherwise have been spent on patient care.
Over £70 million of public money has been spent on competition lawyers and related administration because of the Act. The biggest private deal in NHS history, worth £780 million, has recently been agreed by the Government and an even bigger deal, worth over £1.2 billion, is proposed in Staffordshire. NHS as well as private bodies have been invited to bid; but the Guardian has reported that the leaked tender document included requirements to minimise VAT payments. NHS bodies are exempt from VAT altogether.
I strongly welcome Labour’s manifesto pledges to repeal the Health and Social Care Act; to exempt the NHS from the TTIP trade agreement and other forms of commercial competition law; to invest an extra £2.5 billion a year in the NHS to provide 20,000 more GPs, 8,000 more nurses, 5,000 more home care workers, and 3,000 more midwives; and to begin the integration of health and social care services, reducing “bed-blocking” and ensuring dignified care for everyone who needs it.
Labour’s plan to integrate health and social care, and greatly raise the profile and quality of the latter, is the only way to safeguard the future of our NHS.
If Labour is elected in May we will have a difficult job to make sure our NHS remains a world-class service free to all at the point of delivery. But it must be done if, to paraphrase Nye Bevan, we are to continue to call ourselves a civilised society.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me on this important issue and please don’t hesitate to contact me again if I can be of any further assistance.
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for the City of Durham