Labour steps up campaign against Cameron's £24 million NHS waste in Wakefield
Labour has set out its plans for a final three month campaign calling on David Cameron to drop his reckless and costly NHS plans.
Since the Drop the Bill campaign was launched in November last year, Labour's Shadow Health team has visited every part of the country, work-shadowing NHS staff and rallying the public to join in the call for the Government to drop its Health and Social Care Bill.
As the Bill returns to Parliament, in the face of outright opposition from organisations representing 1.2m local NHS doctors, nurses, midwives and other health care providers, Labour's campaign is gaining momentum and public support.
Labour will spend the next three months campaigning across the country for the Government to drop its reckless plans, which are costing Wakefield's NHS at least £24m.
Wakefield MP Mary Creagh has added her name to the growing e-petition to Drop the Bill at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22670 which has been signed and supported by over 150,000 people, including Stephen Fry, Rio Ferdinand and Jamie Oliver.
Labour MPs will force an extra vote in Parliament on 22nd February to call on the Government to publish an official Department of Health document that details the risks the Government is running with patient care by reorganising the NHS. The Government is currently fighting the Information Commissioner's ruling, which ordered the document's publication in November 2011.
Mary said: "It is scandalous for the Government to waste millions of pounds on a reckless and unwanted back-room reorganisation of the NHS whilst 3,500 nursing jobs have already been lost and 2,500 more are set to be cut. The Government should stop this reorganisation and instead spend the money protecting the 6,000 nurses, as we have committed to do.
"Wakefield has already seen a 37% increase in the number of patients waiting longer than 18 weeks for treatment since Cameron became Prime Minister.
“Before his plans are even fully through Parliament, David Cameron's reorganisation is hitting the NHS hard and costs are now topping £3.45bn across the country for the first time. Spending this amount on an unnecessary reorganisation is totally unjustifiable when every single penny should be focused on maintaining standards of care.
"It couldn't be clearer: this is an out-of-touch Prime Minister who is putting his political pride before the best interests of the NHS.”
Andy Burnham MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, added: "David Cameron promised to protect the NHS but every day he digs in behind his Bill he damages it further. He is out of touch with the people of Britain. He is betraying the NHS. He must drop this Bill.”
Labour’s top five reasons for opposing the Bill are:
1. The Bill will break up the NHS and create an unfair postcode lottery. With no national standards, there will be widespread variation in the treatments available on the NHS. In some areas, people may have to go private to get services available for free elsewhere.
2. The Bill risks rises in waiting times and a two-tier NHS. It scraps the cap on hospitals treating private patients at the same time as watering down guarantees on NHS waiting times. This means local hospitals will be free to treat more private patients and make NHS patients wait longer.
3. The Bill turns the NHS into a full-blown commercial market, putting competition before patient care. It allows private companies to cherry-pick quick profits, potentially forcing local hospitals to go bust. Hospitals could even be fined for working together.
4. The Bill undermines the bond of trust between doctors and patients.
It creates conflicts of interest where financial incentives could interfere with medical decisions. GPs could even get a bonus for rationing your care.
5. This Bill is wasting money and creating bureaucracy. It is unforgivable to spend £3.5 billion on a reckless re-organisation when the NHS needs every penny it can get for patient care. Nearly £1 billion is being wasted on pay-offs for managers, only for many of them to be re-employed as consultants.