If I am elected as MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, one of my key priorities will be to protect our NHS.
The Act sought to subject the NHS to the full force of competition law, with new clauses to enforce economic regulation and to “prevent anti-competitive behaviour. The subsequent (Section 75) regulations tie the hands of health commissioners, making it extremely hard for them to avoid using competition.
The Act also watered down the Health Secretary’s responsibility for providing a comprehensive NHS and vastly increased the amounts that foundation trusts could raise from private patient income, creating the potential for NHS patients to be pushed to the end of an ever-lengthening queue for treatment.
The problems that my union UNISON and many other organisations warned about in 2011 and 2012 are already becoming a reality. Department of Health accounts show a marked increase in the amount paid to non-NHS providers, and research shows that the private sector is now winning more than half of all contracts available in the new NHS market.
To compound matters, the government has adopted a complacent attitude to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that has the potential to subject further swathes of the NHS to the market and could deter a future government from reversing privatisation.
Clive's Bill aims to bring greater accountability back to the NHS, by reinstating and enhancing the Secretary of State’s duty to provide a comprehensive health service.
It makes clear that it is the Secretary of State, not CCGs, that must ultimately arrange for the provision of services.
The Bill frames the Secretary of State’s duty as one explicitly based on mutual cooperation and social solidarity.
The Bill seeks to provide a comprehensive shield to the NHS from EU competition law.
It gives the Secretary of State the power of direction over CCGs and NHS England.
The Bill brings foundation trusts fully into the NHS’s own contracts system, so that for the purposes of EU competition law the NHS is seen as one entity rather than being encumbered by legally-binding contracts.
The Bill abolishes the 2012 Act’s sections on competition, limiting Monitor’s powers, and removing the application of the Competition Act 1998 and the reference to “preventing anti-competitive behaviour”.
The Bill seeks to limit the amount of income that trusts can make from private patients.
In addition, the Bill would ensure that treating private patients should not have an adverse impact on NHS patients, and that it should be used to benefit NHS patients.
The Bill would give Parliament sovereignty over the NHS so that the TTIP would have to be debated and voted on in Parliament before being applied to the NHS.
Our NHS was recently ranked first in the world for access to health care and despite its problems (which we need to address like Labour's pledge to have access to a GP within 48 hours and more nurses and doctors) it remains one of the cheapest healthcare services in the world.
I am immensely proud to be standing for a Labour Party that formed the NHS and if elected will fight to protect it in 2015, free from the wolves of privatisation and free at the point of need for everyone regardless of status.
If you'd like to find out more about me, my campaign or my views then please contact me here www.angelarayner.com