Labour warns Cameron: our NHS is not for sale

Published on Monday, 05 December 2011 12:07
Posted by Scott Buckler

Labour today warned David Cameron to tread carefully in his plans to share patient records and NHS data with private companies

Labour also announced plans to force a major vote in the House of Lords on Wednesday afternoon on the Government's decision to fight the Information Commissioner's ruling on the release of the NHS risk register.

Speaking on both matters today Andy Burnham MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, said:

"Labour prioritised support for the life science sector and we agree that it must be an important part of Britain's industrial future.

"But the Prime Minister has to tread carefully. What he calls red tape others might see as essential safeguards. Some areas need proper regulation and patient records is certainly one of them.

"Where we have a big difference with the PM is on his willingness to open up the NHS to the private sector. He sees no limit on the involvement of the private sector and says he wants it to be a 'fantastic business'. In his desperation to develop a credible industrial strategy, he seems willing to put large chunks of our NHS up for sale.

"Our NHS is too precious to too many people for that to happen. Cameron's NHS reorganisation, and his plan to bring in multinational private companies to run the commissioning of services, is a step too far. This was just one factor that prompted the British Medical Association last week to oppose this Bill outright.

"This Wednesday we're calling on Peers to stand up to this arrogant and out of touch Government over it's outrageous decision to appeal the Information Commissioner's ruling on publishing the list of risks posed by their plans. It's ironic that Cameron is committing the Government to sharing data just days after they resorted to withholding information to preserve the pitiful levels of support for his Health Bill.

"People have a right to know exactly what level of risk this Government is prepared to take with children's and patient safety.

"The NHS is facing the biggest financial challenge in its history and the last thing it needs right now is a total top to bottom reorganisation. They are forcing Primary Care Trusts to set aside £3.44 billion for the costs of their plans, whilst waiting lists are spiralling upwards and thousands of nursing jobs are being axed. The public didn't vote for this reckless reorganisation and professionals do not support it. Cameron should start listening, drop the Bill and put the NHS first."


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