Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Reforms will break up NHS, says Labour

  • Comment

Health reforms being pushed through by the government will lead to the break-up of the NHS, Labour has warned.

Shadow health secretary John Healey said that the government’s plans to hand commissioning power to GPs masked a more fundamental change which would impose a “full-blown market system” at the heart of the NHS.

Competition requirements contained in legislation before parliament will mean that GPs’ hands are tied and they are forced to send patients to private companies which undercut local NHS hospitals, he predicted.

Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday accused the government of conducting an “experiment in right-wing ideology” on the NHS, and warned that public anger over the changes will dwarf the recent protests over privatisation of the forests.

Legislation will give GPs the power to commission treatment and services for their patients from “any willing provider”, including private companies. Primary care trusts will be abolished and GPs will control commissioning totalling £80 billion - around 80% of the NHS budget.

Mr Healey told BBC1’s The Politics Show: “If this was simply about giving GPs more power, they would have our support. But then they would not need legislation that is three times longer than the act which set up the NHS in the first place.

“In truth, this is about a very far-reaching fundamental shift of ideology which puts a full-blown market at the heart of the NHS. We think that is simply the wrong reform at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons.”

While in power, Labour was ready to involve the private sector in clearing NHS backlogs of particular operations or in improving hospitals, but only in a strictly limited way, said Mr Healey.

This had led to the highest standards of patient satisfaction and the lowest waiting lists ever, he said.

But he said that the present government’s plans were “totally different”, adding: “It opens up all parts of the NHS to private health competition in the future and it will lead to the break-up of the NHS in the long run.”

Mr Lansley said: “Before attacking the government for cutting the NHS, John Healey needs to tell us whether he supports the extra £10.7 billion we are putting into the NHS.

“If he won’t support that extra funding, people will see these attacks for what they are - pure political opportunism.

“Labour has no vision to improve care for patients. They have turned their back on the very things we need to modernise our NHS - any willing provider, increasing the power of frontline staff and making accountability work for patients, not bureaucrats.”

We’re going viral! Have you friends heard about the ‘seat on the board’ petition? Let’s ensure nurses are actively involved in the new commissioning consortia.

 

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.