NHS legal advice: just in (38 Degrees)

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Dear Andy,

It’s being called backdoor NHS privatisation. And if we want to stop it, what happens in Parliament this week is crucial. Some Green, Labour and Lib Dem MPs have tabled a motion demanding the NHS privatisation plan be immediately withdrawn. [1] So far only 72 MPs have signed up. [2] We need to make that number grow, and quickly.

In the last few hours, the legal advice paid for by thousands of 38 Degrees members’ donations has come in. The verdict seems clear. If the government forces through these new NHS privatisation rules, it will mean ministers breaking promises they made last year when they said doctors wouldn’t be forced to privatise everything. [3]

We’ve got the proof we need to show MPs that the government is breaking the promises made when the NHS law was forced through. Now we need to make sure every MP reads it, to convince them to sign the motion demanding these new privatisation rules are stopped.

If MPs hear from thousands of us we can make sure that they sign up to block backdoor privatisation. Can you click here to send an email asking them read our legal advice and oppose the plans?

The government says their ‘modernised’ NHS is supposed to be about giving more control to local doctors and communities. But under Jeremy Hunt’s new regulations, the government will force GPs to open up every part of local health services to private companies – whether or not it’s what they or local people want.

And it’s not just us saying this. On Sunday, the Observer newspaper reported an explosive letter from the head of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to the health minister, outlining concerns that “healthcare will be disrupted and hospital services damaged as a result of time-consuming, disruptive and unnecessary tendering processes,” and that these new regulations are “at odds” with reassurances previously given to doctors. [6]

These are hardly the voices of radicals or political opportunists – so what’s it going to take for MPs to sit up, take notice and admit that something’s not right here? Let’s seize this moment and ask our MPs to listen to doctors, patients, legal experts and concerned constituents, before they make a big mistake:

We can stop this now, if we try. In the past week we’ve grown our rapid-response petition to over 230,000 signatures. We’ve chipped in to pay for expert legal advice. Now let’s make the talk in the halls of Parliament on Monday be about how many voters are getting in touch about these broken promises. Together, we can help those wavering MPs to find some backbone, and help even the diehard supporters of privatisation to realise the game is up.

Thanks for using your voice,

David, James, Hannah and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES (supplemented by Andy Chyba)
[1] The motion was originally tabled by Green MP Caroline Lucas, but then re-tabled co-sponsored by Lib Dem Andrew George and Labour leader Ed Miliband.
[2] You can see the motion, and the latest signatures, here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/1104at time of posting, Bridgend MP, Madeleine Moon, has maintained her track record of ignoring EDMs.
[3] For example, Andrew Lansley sent a letter to prospective CCGs on 16th February 2012, during the height of the battle to get the Bill through parliament, in which he assured them, “I know many of you may have read that you will be forced to fragment services, or to put services out to tender. This is absolutely not the case.” See http://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/nicola-cutcher-lucy-reynolds/nhs-as-we-know-it-needs-prayer
[4] https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/nhs-section75-legal-advice
[5] Telegraph: Scrap NHS competition rules say 1000 in letter to Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9901194/Scrap-NHS-competition-rules-say-1000-in-letter-to-Telegraph.html
[6] Guardian: Doctors bemoan NHS privatisation by stealth http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/02/doctors-bemoan-nhs-privatisation-by-stealth

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