Unite members together with other campaigners will hand in a mass petition to the department of health tomorrow (March 11) supporting a parliamentary Bill restoring public accountability to the NHS.
Nearly 22,000 have signed the petition ahead of a rally opposite Parliament urging support for the National Health Service Bill 2015-2016 – which MPs will debate tomorrow.
The union – which has 100,000 members in the health service – is angry at the continual erosion of public service ethos of the NHS as a result of the Tory-led government’s health and social care Act in 2012.
This has led to increasing privatisation of the health service, benefitting only profit-hungry private healthcare companies.
The Bill – proposed by Green MP Caroline Lucas, with strong Labour support – aims to roll back the tide of privatisation and reinstate the secretary of state’s legal responsibility for the health of UK citizens.
The Bill would also abolish NHS trusts, NHS foundation trusts and clinical commissioning groups.
Labour pledged to repeal the health and social care Act in its general election manifesto last year. Now the proposed legislation has received the backing of Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and others along with SNP and Lib Dem MPs.
Saving the NHS
Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said, “We are coming down to the wire when it comes to saving the NHS from being hived off to rapacious private healthcare companies.
“Now is the time for MPs to step up to the plate to reverse the detrimental changes of recent years and restore the NHS to its 1948 founding principles.
“For more than 25 years the NHS has been gradually undermined as a public service, with laws brought in to allow more and more of it to be outsourced to the private sector,” Jarrett-Thorpe added.
This culminated in the 2012 Act which saw the break-up of national needs-based patient care in England and replaced it with a competitive market model where groups of GPs in clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are obliged to put health services out to tender.
“This Act – probably one of the worst that MPs have approved in recent decades – has enabled billions of pounds to be siphoned off that should have been spent on frontline care.
Down the drain
“It has gone to fund this flawed and misguided concept of the ‘market’. To put it crudely, millions have gone down the drain.
“This neo-liberal ideology of ‘profits before patients’ must be stopped before the NHS based on each person’s need free at the point of delivery disappears for ever,” Jarrett-Thorpe added.
Unite members will help hand in the petition at the department of health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2NS at 09.45 tomorrow before a rally at 11.00 to publicise the NHS bill.
Sign the petition here