Friday 9 March 2012

Speech at TUC Save Our NHS Rally, Westminster Central Hall, 7th March

Because I’m bloody angry about this bill

As co-chair of the NHS Consultants' Association, I support Bevan’s idea and vision of an NHS which is comprehensive, equitable and free to all at the point of delivery and crucially an NHS that is publicly funded, provided, and accountable.

But this bill fundamentally undermines these principles because it is a denationalisation and privatisation bill that will dismantle the NHS with profound knock-on effects for the social fabric of our nation. It will bring back fear to the poorest and most vulnerable in our society.

The Government has systematically failed to make the case for its radical reforms at a time when the NHS is performing very well by international comparisons. The bill lacks an evidence base, is hopelessly flawed and is being introduced at a time when the NHS is facing the biggest financial crisis in its history.
According to Professor Patrick Dunleavy of the LSE, it has all the hallmarks of a “Policy Fiasco”

The bill is a top down reorganisation and it has no democratic mandate.
It will increase costs and bureaucracy, fragment care and reduce access to care, undermine professionalism and the doctor- patient relationship, the social contract and the public service ethos, and worsen healthcare inequalities and healthcare outcomes.

Unsurprisingly there is near unanimous opposition to this bill from the major healthcare professional organisations. Even the LibDems own health policydoctors are calling for the bill to be withdrawn.

Professor Lyndsey Davies, President of the UK Faculty of Public Health said the bill:
“will damage the NHS and the health of people in England”

In the face of such massive opposition from the very people who are crucial to the success of any NHS reform, the idea that this bill is about to reach Royal Ascent and pass onto the statute book beggars belief.

It is a national scandal that MPs and Peers have failed to listen to healthcare professionals and withdraw this bill. The NHS is being disgracefully horse traded for political purposes.  A shameful example of putting the interests of party politics before patients and the public.

It is vital that the Libdems debate their Emergency motion to withdraw the bill.
So I will be channelling my anger into a 42 mile run from Middlesbrough to Gateshead to try and support the brave LibDems who actually care about the NHS and want to save it for the generations to come.
But let’s keep fighting and punish those LibDem MPs who support this bill, at the ballot box

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