Tonight the Labour Party has forced a last minute debate to save the NHS, because we believe the Government should defer consideration of Lords Amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill until disclosure of the transition risk register.
As expected, the Tories will vote this Bill through. Unfortunately, it appears that Liberal Democrat MPs will vote for the Bill too, instead of standing up for the NHS.
In the last month a huge momentum has been growing for the Tory-led Government to drop the unwanted Health and Social Care Bill. My ‘Drop the Bill’ rally at the beginning of March was a huge success. We had speakers from the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, Unison, Unite and the GMB. The Royal College of Midwives had also planned to send a speaker but unfortunately had to pull out due to illness.
The room was filled to capacity and there was a great atmosphere. It is clear the Tories’ plans for the NHS just do not have anyone’s support.
Today we reach the final stages of debate on the Health and Social Care Bill, the Tories and Lib Dems have yet again passed up an opportunity to drop the Bill, instead pushing ahead with plans for an unnecessary and damaging top-down reorganisation of the NHS. Following our own rally in Southampton, last week over 2,000 nurses, midwives, doctors, cleaners, porters and other health workers attended a rally in Westminster where Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham and other speakers addressed the crowd.
The Tory-led Government’s proposed changes would see a top-down reorganisation of the NHS that will cost billions. Meanwhile, there are 3,500 fewer nurses since the General Election – by the next one David Cameron will have cut 6,000 nursing posts in total. More people are waiting longer for treatment and tests, and A&E waiting times have risen too.
The list of professional bodies opposing the Bill has grown ever longer – and now includes the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Radiologists, the Faculty of Public Health, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, the British Geriatrics Society, the Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health, as well as the Patients Association. Instead of wasting money on a damaging and unnecessary reorganisation, Labour would put patients first and protect the 6,000 nursing jobs set to be cut by 2015.