Call comes ahead of opposition debate at Westminster on Tuesday and follows LibDem spring conference vote against key clauses in embattled Health and Social Care Bill. Pic © Jess Hurd/Report Digital
UNISON is calling on MPs to use their last chance to save the NHS by voting to drop the Health and Social Care Bill in the Labour Opposition Day debate in the House of Commons tomorrow.
The union is also calling for Liberal Democrat peers to respect the wishes of members at their Spring Conference last weekend by defeating the widely unpopular measure, which critics believe will force widespread privatisation across the health service.
Officials believe key Liberal Democrat activists and supporters are clearly worried about the impact of the legislation and the ‘Drop the Bill’ Emergency Motion received more first preference votes than the alternative proposed by Baroness Shirley Williams.
The final result saw Baroness Williams’ motion amended to remove the reference to Liberal Democrat peers supporting the bill at the Third Reading.
Dave Prentis, UNISON general secretary said: “We’re running out of time but the fight the save the NHS is not over. The Liberal Democrats now have a final opportunity to get this bill dropped or they risk losing voters at the next election.
“The bill will allow hospitals to raise huge amounts of money from private patients, meaning NHS patients will be forced to wait longer for treatment endangering the key principle that our National Health Service should be based on need and not ability to pay.
“Accompanying policies such as Any Qualified Provider will lead to a much greater role for private companies, despite scandals in other sectors that demonstrate the recklessness of this approach.
“It’s time for the Liberal Democrats to join the thousands of nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants, hospital porters, cleaners and caterers, as well as the growing list of professional bodies and royal colleges that are adamantly opposed to this bill.”
A recent YouGov poll for the union has shown that one in three potential Lib Dem voters would be more likely to vote for the party at the next election if it called for the Health Bill to be dropped.
The union is also calling on the government to ditch the legal challenges that are wasting thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money and publish its risk register of the NHS plans. Last week, the Information Tribunal ruled that the government must release the register- the second such ruling that the government has ignored.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.