The following message from the 38 Degrees team provides an update on their campaign to save the NHS, and encourages people to lobby their MP before next week’s crucial vote on NHS reform:
In just one week, your MP has to vote on massive changes to our NHS. But 38 Degrees members now have something our MPs don’t – thorough, independent legal advice about what these changes really mean.
Our expert legal advice is sobering. Despite the “listening exercise”, the government’s changes to the NHS plans could still pave the way for a shift towards a US-style health system, where private companies profit at the expense of patient care.
MPs are being told by the government that the NHS is safe. If they read our evidence they’ll know that the spin doesn’t stand up. We can put them under massive pressure to vote to save our NHS. So we need to work together to get the legal advice to our MPs right now!
Email your MP now:
Our independent lawyers identified two major problems in the new legislation:
- The Secretary of State’s legal duty to provide a health service will be scrapped. On top of that, a new “hands-off clause” removes the government’s powers to oversee local consortia and guarantee the level of service wherever we live. We can expect increases in postcode lotteries – and less ways to hold the government to account if the service deteriorates.
- The NHS will almost certainly be subject to UK and EU competition law and the reach of procurement rules will extend across all NHS commissioners. Private health companies will be able to take new NHS commissioning groups to court if they don’t win contracts. Scarce public money could be tied up in legal wrangles instead of hospital beds. Meanwhile, the legislation lifts the cap on NHS hospitals filling beds with private patients.
So who are MPs going to listen to when casting their vote – you, or lobbyists from private health companies? This is our NHS, and it’s up to us to defend it. Email your MP now:
It’s pretty extraordinary what we’ve managed to achieve together already. Nearly half a million of us have signed the petition to save the NHS. And after Andrew Lansley announced the last round of changes, thousands of 38 Degrees members immediately chipped in to get top independent legal advice on the new plans.
Barrister Rebecca Haynes found that the government’s plans could pave the way for private healthcare companies and their lawyers to benefit most from changes, not patients. Another barrister, Stephen Cragg, found that we were right to be worried that Andrew Lansley was planning to remove his duty to provide our NHS.
This is the conclusion of a top legal team paid to have no other interest at heart but yours.
MPs vote in just seven days. Seven days to not only get the evidence, but be convinced there’s way too much public concern to ignore it. The good news is, with over 800,000 of us now armed with expert legal advice, we are just the people to speak up. Let’s give MPs from all parties the mandate they need to think again and vote against these changes to the NHS.
Johnny, David, Cian, Becky, Hannah, Marie and the 38 Degrees team.