House of Lords to decide future of controversial Section 75 “privatisation” regulations

Tim Lezard

Big Ben parliamentUnite members will this morning campaign outside Westminster in a last minute bid to halt the privatisation of the NHS.

Labour Peer Lord Phil Hunt is later today calling for the controversial Section 75 regulations –  that pave the way for privatisation – to be annulled on the grounds they do not implement the assurances given by parliament.

The regulations have already been withdrawn and re-written once following a huge public outcry.

Unite fears the coalition’s NHS policies, including a multi billion pound funding squeeze coupled with a massive reorganisation, will destroy the 65-year-old health service, paving the way for a new marketised system where paying up to £10,000 for maternity costs or £13,450 for a new hip is the norm.

Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “Patients need MPs and peers to wake up urgently to what this government is doing to our NHS. Since 2010, the private grip on this public service has tightened with more than £20 billion of our health pounds now in private hands but the regulations before parliament today will only accelerate this.

“With falling income and a costly upheaval, the health service is under tremendous stress.  Private companies are desperate to advantage of this, encouraged by the government.  The harsh truth though is that they will not take decisions in the best interests of patients but for their profits.

“Already, one of the most powerful figures in the NHS, Malcolm Grant, has warned that healthcare free at the point of use in England, is at risk, which is why we must fight to stop the private sector being given a free pass to our NHS.

“The government has already been warned about its sneaky attempts to allow the private sector into the NHS through the back door.  It was handed back the regulations and told to think again.

“But the House of Lords’ fatal motion today is needed because the government is at it again.  The regulations that it is trying to push through parliament will unleash full compulsive competitive tendering on all NHS services.

“The government’s warm words are fast becoming dangerously misleading.  It promised to re-write the regulations in the best interest of patients but have instead allowed private industry to get a massive great foot in the door.

“The NHS wheel of misfortune will be a reality if we don’t take a stand to defend what is perhaps the greatest social benefit of any country. Sixty-five years of healthcare based on need and not the ability to pay is at stake.”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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