Labour’s unprecedented amendment to the Queen’s speech would protect the NHS from privatisation

CANCELLED Press Release on behalf of Keep Our NHS Public and We Own It – for immediate use

Labour’s unprecedented amendment to the Queen’s speech would protect the NHS from privatisation.

The following Labour Party amendment to the Queen’s speech has been tabled today by Shadow Health Secretary Jonathon Ashworth. It is moved by Jeremy Corbyn, Barry Gardiner, Emily Thornberry, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Nicholas Brown.

The amendment is as follows:

‘[Government wording followed by] ‘… but respectfully regrets that the Gracious Speech does not repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to restore a publicly provided and administered National Health Service and protect it from future trade agreements that would allow private companies competing for services who put profit before public health and that could restrict policy decisions taken in the public interest.’

If successful, this amendment points the way to protecting the NHS from further privatisation and exposure to future trade deals after Brexit. The amendment highlights the need to repeal the widely condemned Health and Social Care Act. This will require new legislation for the restoration of a publicly run and provided NHS under the responsibility once again of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, back in line with the rest of the UK.

This amendment to the Queen’s speech has major implications for the future of the health service and will draw a clear dividing line between those MPs who support NHS privatisation and those who don’t.

Ellen Lees from campaign group We Own It says:

“Boris Johnson is failing to protect our NHS from trade deals including with Donald Trump. That makes this amendment absolutely vital.”Competition and privatisation are already running rampant in our NHS. Our health service is therefore automatically up for grabs in a trade deal, no matter what Trump and Johnson say is ‘on the table’.

“MPs now have a chance to pick a side. They can stand with the 84% of the public who support a publicly owned NHS. Or they can open up our NHS to Donald Trump’s private healthcare lobby.”

Retired paediatrician and Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public Dr Tony O’Sullivan says:

“Despite recent misleading claims to be ‘the party of the NHS’, the Conservative record in government highlights their consistent undermining of the NHS. The proposals on Health in the Queen’s speech are nothing more than electioneering.

“Promises of more NHS funding by 2023/24 fail to compensate for the accumulated funding deficit of the last 10 years of over £30bn per year.

“The Government misleadingly claims to be reining in the chaos under Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act where tens of thousands of typically relatively small contracts go to private providers (43% of total contract value 2016/17). In fact, the proposals aim to give NHSE more freedom to give fewer but high value contracts.

“Already under this government, current spending on NHS services contracted to the private sector has risen to 18% of the annual budget, up 23% over the last 5 years (see LSE blog). Their proposals could mean the privatisation trend is more likely to further increase.”

NHS England’s and this government’s policy is to actively pursue the contracting out of much larger chunks of the NHS to the private sector – be it specialised cancer imaging in Oxfordshire or the huge pathology contracts in SE London and Kent. There is no likelihood that the damaging impact of competition and markets in healthcare is being ‘reined in’.

The amendment tabled for Monday’s debate aims to eliminate the wasteful chaos of the market in the NHS in England. By urging the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act it moves to end the costly errors of the last seven years and requires legislation to restore the NHS to a publicly provided service for which the Secretary of State in England would once again be responsible, as in Scotland and Wales.

For this reason Keep Our NHS Public and We Own It warmly welcome this amendment.

On Monday 21st October we are holding an event outside Parliament from 2pm …

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Please contact Keep Our NHS Public Press Officer Samantha Wathen: press@keepournhspublic.com or phone: 07776047472