7th September 2011
Alan Whitehead has voted to protect out NHS and to protect a woman's access to abortion counselling in the Commons vote on the Health and Social Care Bill.
The Tory Government wants to use this Bill to set the NHS up as a full scale market, based on the model of the privatised utilities.
Under their plans a new economic regulator will enforce competition law on the NHS for the first time, and have the power to fine hospitals 10% of their turnover for working together.
There will be no cap on the number of private patients that are treated in NHS hospitals, while NHS patients wait longer. That means more legal challenges from competition lawyers. It also means that much of the planning, collaboration and integration that is at the heart of the best of our NHS today will be very much harder, and perhaps illegal, in future.
The Bill also removes a key protection of the 1946 Act that set up the NHS – that the Secretary of State for Health is directly accountable for providing the health service. The Government’s plans will break up the NHS as a national public service so that patients will increasingly see the services on which they depend subject to the lottery of where they live.
The Bill was eventually passed with the support of Tory and Lib Dem MPs, but Labour MPs have vowed to continue to campaign against the plans.
Dr Whitehead said:
This is a fundamental assault on the founding principles of our NHS. Both Tory and Lib Dem MPs should be ashamed for voting it through. We'll continue to do everything we can to stop this Bill and protect the rights of everyone who uses our health service."
Alan also voted against the amendment put forward by Tory MP Nadine Dorries to restrict women's access to abortion counselling. That amendment was defeated by a majority of 250.
Southampton residents can sign up to the campaign to save our NHS by visiting the NHS Alert website.
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