PLEASE ACT NOW TO SAVE THE NHS!
Right now, the government is trying to rush through secondary legislation (SI 257 under Section 75 of the Health & Social Care Act) to force virtually every part of the NHS to be opened up to *compulsory* competitive markets, open to the private sector. There has been an outcry from the medical profession (see links below), who now see that the promises of ‘local clinical control’ are false. We have less than a month to stop these regulations becoming law, and we need to start straight away.
These regulations are likely to be the final straw for many of our NHS hospitals and clinics, already damaged by too much costly marketization, fragmentation and cuts.
Parliament does not normally even debate or vote on this type of regulation – but it is possible. Even those Lib Dems who supported the Health & Social Care Act should be very concerned as the regulations break the reassurances offered to parliament and to the local Clinical Commissioning Groups, that the Act allowed local choice about when to use competition. For example Andrew Lansley promised doctors that “commissioners, not the Secretary of State and not regulators – should decide when and how competition should be used to serve… patients interests” (see briefing for other examples of the promises that were made). But these new regulations do not allow local freedom to decide when to use competition, at all.
These regulations were laid down on 13th February and will become law on 1 April unless all MPs who care about the NHS first insist on a debate and vote, and then vote them down.
Please take time now to
a) urgently ask your local MP to sign Early Day Motion 1104 http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/1104 which is the only way the Commons can debate and vote on these regulations to be defeated. Send them the Keep Our NHS Public briefing http://www.keepournhspublic.com/pdf/Section75parliamentarybriefingFeb%202013.pdf & use the bullet points in the briefing to help you explain to your MP why you are so concerned. If you don’t have your MP’s email address, or know you your MP is, you can use either http://www.writetothem.com/ or http://action.goingtowork.org.uk/page/speakout/ask-your-mp-to-pray-against-jeremy-hunt-s-nhs-regulations to help.
b) Sign the 38 degrees petition calling for a debate and vote and defeat of these regulations in parliament https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/page/s/nhs-section-75#petition. The petition has already passed the 200,000 signature mark in just a few days, along with 20,000 signatures on an earlier petition started by GP and Lib Dem candidate Charles West.
c) Ask others to do the same! Please spread this message widely to friends, colleagues, any groups you are in, and write to the newspapers using the points in the attached briefing, along with your own experience.
d) If you ‘adopted a peer’ during the campaign against the Act itself, you could write to them again (especially Lib Dem and cross bench peers) raising the points from the Keep Our NHS Public briefing.
e) An unprecedented 2000 people (and over 1000 more via the TUC) contacted the clerk of the House of Lords Committee on statutory instruments which will be examining the regulations on 5th March. The deadline to do that has now passed, but there will be a lobby outside parliament on that day, see www.keepournhspublic.com for details.
f) If you are in touch with your local clinical commissioning group (CCG) – and especially if they seem sympathetic – you could ask them if they share your concerns, if they will make a statement about the implication of these regulations, and if they will speak out against them. CCG leaders are already beginning to speak out, which is very significant, see for example http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/commissioning-news/gps-will-walk-if-ministers-do-not-reword-competition-rules-says-commissioning-leader/20002076.article#.US9NfKLrGbA.
g) As your doctors to speak out in the strongest possible terms locally. Nationally, the professional medical organisations are already beginning to do so, see for example http://www.rcm.org.uk/college/about/media-centre/press-releases/government-backtracks-on-nhs-privatisation-issue-25-02-13/ and http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/02/doctors-bemoan-nhs-privatisation-by-stealth
You can also read more background here
With a broken promise, the Government has handed he NHS ver to the market. Clive Peedell. Guardian
And some more updated articles here
Finally, if you are not already a member of Keep Our NHS Public (without whom this campaign would not have been possible) please consider joining today