NHS privatisation

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They’re getting jumpy. It looks like Jeremy Hunt is already feeling the pressure of our huge, people-powered opposition to his NHS privatisation plot. The Telegraph is reporting that “an outcry from medical groups, MPs and campaigners against privatisation in the NHS has forced a re-think”. [1]

And that’s hardly surprising – 130,000 of us signed the petition against the changes in just 24 hours. But we haven’t won yet. Over the next few hours, Hunt will be deciding whether or not he can hold out in the face of public outcry. Now we need to ramp up the pressure by making the petition continue to grow fast.

Can you help keep the pressure on Jeremy Hunt not to widen privatisation in the NHS by adding your name:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/nhs-section75

In case you missed it, here’s the email from Monday:

Dear Andy,

A new fight over NHS privatisation has just begun. Jeremy Hunt is trying to use new powers, hidden within last year’s controversial NHS laws, to force local GPs to privatise more health services. [2] This is one of the things we were afraid might happen – and now our worst fears are being confirmed. We need to do all we can to stop it.

Jeremy Hunt’s new privatisation plot is contained within “NHS competition regulations”. [3] Usually these kinds of rules get quickly rubber-stamped by Parliament. This time, we need to get MPs and Lords to stand up to Hunt and block his plans. [4]

It’s a long shot, but we have a chance of stopping these changes because Hunt is breaking promises made to MPs when NHS laws were voted through last year. [5] If we generate a huge, public outcry to put pressure on the politicians who clung on to those promises last time the government attacked our NHS, we can convince them to stop these new laws.

Sign the petition against Jeremy Hunt’s new NHS privatisation plan here – we’ve got just a couple of days before we’ll need to deliver it:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/nhs-section75

Hunt’s new regulations (Statutory Instrument 257 under Section 75 of the Health & Social Care Act 2012) are like a catalogue of our worst fears. [6] GPs would have to open up every part of local health services to private companies, whether or not it’s what they or local people want. It would speed up the break up of the NHS, giving profit-hungry companies new rights to muscle in.

Last year, the government promised it wouldn’t go as far as forcing privatisation on local health services. Lots of MPs and Lords said these promises convinced them to vote for the NHS law. Now, we need to go back to these same MPs and Lords, and tell them to find some backbone. If they really voted for the law because of those promises, now they’ve got no excuse not to put a stop to Hunt’s latest privatising move.

Let’s build a petition to hand in to each of the MPs and Lords who believed the government’s promises on privatisation:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/nhs-section75

All over the country, 38 Degrees members have been working together to convince their local NHS decision makers to do the right thing and limit privatisation in their area. Now, government is trying to take that power away from local doctors and the patients they serve.

This is going to be tough. It could be the start of the second round of the fight to protect everything that’s precious about the NHS. But it’s the right thing to do, because we know that when private companies move in, all too often it doesn’t end well for patients.

Sign the petition now:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/nhs-section75

Thanks for being involved,

Ian, Becky, Alex and the rest of the 38 Degrees team

NOTES
[1] The Telegraph, Norman Lamb: NHS competition rules must be reviewed: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9896186/Norman-Lamb-NHS-competition-rules-must-be-reviewed.html
[2] The National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice & Competition) Regulations 2013 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/257/contents/made
[3] Under Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012
[4] Although rare, there have been a few examples of Parliament blocking regulations contained in secondary legislation: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-information-office/l07.pdf
[5] For example, Simon Burns MP, then a health minister, told parliament: “…it will be for commissioners to decide which services to tender…to avoid any doubt—it is not the Government’s intention that under clause 67 [now 75] that regulations would impose compulsory competitive tendering requirements on commissioners, or for Monitor to have powers to impose such requirements.” (12/7/11, Hansard, c4423)
[6] See for example this briefing by Keep Our NHS Public: http://www.keepournhspublic.com/pdf/Section75parliamentarybriefingFeb%202013.pdf

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