Labour candidates challenge Bristol MP to support Clive Efford's NHS Bill in the House of Commons this Friday
On Friday, a Private Member’s Bill from Clive Efford MP will be debated which, if passed, will restore real democratic accountability for the NHS, scrap the new competition framework and make sure NHS patients are always put first.
I and my colleagues Darren Jones and Jo McCarron, hoping to unseat Stephen Williams, Charlotte Leslie and Chris Skidmore respectively, in next May’s general election, have written to the sitting MPs to call on them to listen to the concerns of constituents, to note the pressures that Southmead, Bristol Royal Infirmary and local GP practices are under, and to support the bill. I will post news of any responses.
A copy of the letter in full:
Before the 2010 General Election, David Cameron said the NHS was his number one priority, and promised that he would "stop the top-down reorganisations that have got in the way of patient care". Then within days of becoming Prime Minister, his Government launched the biggest reorganisation of the NHS in its history. It was a reorganisation no-one voted for, that NHS staff didn’t want, and that has cost £3billion which could have been spent on patient care.
If a Labour Government is elected next May, we will repeal the Government’s Health & Social Care Act to undo the damage their reforms have caused. But I know it isn’t good enough just to make promises about what we will do after an election – which is why Labour is putting a Bill to Parliament this Friday to do away with the most harmful aspects of the Government’s reforms.
I am writing to urge you to vote with Labour MPs on Friday in support of this Bill.
The reforms brought about by the Government’s Health & Social Care Act have piled pressure on our health service. Implementing the reorganisation has taken £3billion out of frontline care. Pay-offs have gone to 4,000 members of NHS staff who were fired, then rehired. And rules have been introduced forcing doctors to put services out to the market, even if they do not want to, meaning large sums of money are being wasted administering tendering exercises. In a recent survey, two thirds of commissioners said they had experienced “increased commissioning costs” as a result of the new regulations. So Labour’s Bill will scrap these rules, saving money on bureaucracy which could be put into frontline care.
The Health & Social Care Act has also exposed the NHS to the full force of EU competition law, and established Monitor as an economic regulator to enforce competition in the health service. Ultimately this means doctors are not just forced to put services out to the market – it means providers must compete to cut costs, and cut corners, in order to win contracts. It means a race to the bottom and threatens the quality of care patients receive. So Labour’s Bill will scrap the competition framework and remove the role of Monitor as an economic regulator.
I have no doubts that you’ll be hearing from your constituents about the impact of your Government’s NHS reorganisation on the care patients receive – I certainly am.
Please use this opportunity to show your constituents where you stand on the NHS, and to start rebuilding trust from those who voted for you believing a Conservative Government would protect our NHS.
Given the public interest in the future of the NHS I am putting a copy of this letter on my website.
I’ll look forward to your response
The briefing for the NHS bill can be found here
And here's my blog about Bristol's GP surgeries