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Andy Burnham MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, said in response to the return of the Health and Social Care Bill to the House of Lords this afternoon

"David Cameron is clear: this Bill is about competition and turning the NHS into a market. No amount of minor amendments to save face for Nick Clegg is going to change that.

"So Mr Clegg now needs to decide where he and his party stand. Is he with the millions of patients and NHS staff who can see the damage this Bill will do? Or is he with a Tory Party which wants more privatisation and a market-based health service?

"Today's talk from the Lib Dems of minor amendments is too little, too late. They will only serve to further complicate a Bill already described as a "confused mess" by a former NHS Chief Executive.

"Last week, the President of the Liberal Democrats said the Bill should have been dropped. If that's what the majority of Lib Dems believe, NHS staff will be entitled to ask why they haven't they had the guts to say that to Mr Cameron's face. The fact is they have been sitting on the fence for far too long and have allowed this mess to develop.

"The truth is this busted flush of a Bill shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the Statute Book. It is confused and contradictory and threatens to cause long-term damage to the NHS. This is why even the professional groups like the Royal College of Surgeons that have supported the Bill are now reconsidering their position.

"It is nothing short of humiliating for the Prime Minister to see groups that attended his summit only a week ago now opposing his Bill. It's time for him to admit he has lost the argument and, for the good of the NHS, drop the Bill."


Written by Scott Buckler
Monday, 27 February 2012 15:03

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