Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, has written to David Cameron today, condemning the Tory-led Government’s reckless reorganisation of the NHS amid reports that the Government is reviewing their proposals yet again.
Ed Miliband said in his letter to David Cameron:
“Your proposals to undertake one of the most expensive reorganisations in the history of the NHS today leave committee. They have been roundly condemned by patients groups, professionals and experts as wasteful, unnecessary and potentially very damaging to the NHS.
“In defending your reorganisation you have sought to misrepresent the arguments of those opposed to your changes and misrepresented the performance of the NHS, leading to the BMA deploring your 'government’s use of misleading and inaccurate information to denigrate the NHS, and to justify the Health and Social Care Bill reforms'."
Ed Miliband states in his letter that the right response from David Cameron now would be to withdraw the confused plans and come back to Parliament with a new set of proposals which are more able to deal with the future challenges facing the NHS.
However, if the Tory-led Government are determined to persist with this confused, expensive and reckless re-organisation, he suggests amendments to the legislation which offer five basic NHS safeguards against the most damaging aspects of the plans:
1. That the Government amend the legislation to protect the NHS against the full force of UK and EU competition law.
2. That the Government protects patients from the loss of guaranteed waiting times by re-instating the requirements that all NHS providers meet minimum waiting times guarantee, like 18 weeks.
3. That the Government abandon the breaking up of commissioning into hundreds of small GP-consortia, risking the fragmentation of care, particularly specialist services like cancer care, and a loss of public accountability for how NHS money is spent by commissioners.
4. That the Government amend the legislation to ensure that commissioners make decisions about NHS resources in the interests of patients and prevent commissioners making private profits or commissioning services from themselves. And to safeguard commissioning as a transparent, open and public function, preventing conflicts of interest and involving patients’ representatives in decision-making bodies.
5. That the Government act to safeguard NHS services for NHS patients and prevent the full commercialisation of Foundation Trusts by retaining a performance regime for underperforming hospitals and capping private income to prevent cross-subsidy of fee-paying private patients.
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