Supporting Clive Efford’s bill could save the NHS

The coalition's reforms have caused massive inefficiencies, internal conflicts and confusion.

The coalition’s reforms have caused massive inefficiencies, internal conflicts and confusion

As a Londoner, a politician, a doctor and a parent it is my view that we must support Clive Efford’s private members bill today, to repeal the worst aspects of the Health and Social Care Act.

In just two years this unmandated and top-down reorganisation has fragmented our NHS. It squandered £3bn of tax payer money at a time when real term funding has been cut for five years; it has left our NHS on its knees.

The service is being forced to the brink of privatisation and is being pushed to engage in a race to the bottom, putting pounds above patient care.

Clive Efford’s bill today aims to save the NHS from complete atomisation, competition and what has been a privatisation by Jeremy Hunt in all but name.

I have always been open minded about reforming the NHS, but what happened two years ago was nothing short of vandalism.

The coalition’s Health and Social Care Act created an NHS that is open to complete unfettered free market competition. It asks doctors to manage huge commissioning budgets which they neither have the time nor the training for, and then blames them for all that is going wrong in the NHS.

Things have simply got worse under this government, and in London we are suffering crisis after crisis. Seeing a GP is getting harder. Being a GP is getting harder. Cancer waiting times and patient experience ratings are among the worst in the country. A&E waiting times are getting longer and ambulance response times are in free fall.

Under this government’s ‘reforms’ NHS London has been replaced by 32 Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG). This fragmented commissioning across London causes massive inefficiencies, internal conflicts and confusion. The NHS is fragmenting structurally and financially, none of which is good for the patients it is there to serve.

Under this government there is no trade protection for the NHS. There are fears that once the EU-US trade agreement is signed next year, US health care companies will have more power over the NHS than our own elected government.

Clive Efford’s Bill would rewrite the rules and stop the NHS being held to ransom.

It would remove the power of the NHS Monitor to act as a competition enforcer.

It would remove the NHS from any free trade partnerships and thus protect our health service from huge international competitors.

Finally, it would return responsibility of the NHS back to the secretary of state for Health, reinstating democratic accountability for the decisions made in our health service.

This bill is about protecting the NHS as a unified service to all, free at the point of need regardless of income or ability to pay. It is time we took back our NHS.

Dr Onkar Sahota is a member of the London Assembly for Ealing and Hillingdon, a practising GP and chairman of the London Assembly Health Committee. Follow him on Twitter

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10 Responses to “Supporting Clive Efford’s bill could save the NHS”

  1. John Willats

    I liked the way you put the NHS case in parliament today..Well done Clive!! And to have Dennis Skinner wade into the argument…Classic!!! I’m backing you all the way!!

  2. davidhill

    Whatever any of our politicians discuss it is now inevitable over time that the NHS is privatised. For it is not in the hands of British MPs, prime ministers or ministers but in the hands of the EU. In this respect the new trade agreement between the EU and the USA (TTIP) will make the NHS illegal over time and there will be nothing that our politicians can do about it. They may say that NHS privatisation is not part of the TTIP but where once it is signed it is forever and irrevocable. We all know how politicians work these days, get your foot in the door and eventually the door will fully open. That is exactly what will happen with the TTIP and where initially the NHS may (and I say may with a big may) be predominantly excluded but where over time the TTIP will nibble at the situation behind our backs and in no time more of the NHS will have fallen into the profit-driven private sector. You only have to look at what is going on now with companies like Virgin picking up £500 million NHS contracts and presently tendering for multi-billion NHS outsourced NHS contracts. The TTIP will open the flood gates for people like Branson and many others only interested in controlling overiddingly wealth for themselves. ‘The TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) will be an Absolute Disaster for the People of the EU (European Union) and the People of America (USA) in the long-term – We simply have to Vote AGAINST this behind closed doors Transatlantic Trade deal before it is signed up and too late for the People to do anything about it’ –

    Don’t let them con you again as all the political parties have signed up to the TTIP behind closed doors. I would not trust a senior politician as far as I could throw them and where the future will show that I am right unfortunately if the TTIP is pushed through behind our backs. Indeed ask yourself a question, ‘have you even heard of the TTIP?’ That’s how secretive this thing is.

  3. tigerowl

    Sorry, but you seem confessed. Not all parties have signed up to TTIP. Labour hasn’t. The NHS too is not in the hands of the EU. Perhaps you could tell us how you think that our NHS is run by the EU. Or is this more rubbish from UKIP. A party whose leader two years ago argued FOR private insurance to support the NH s and the other UKIP man, Nuttal also on his blog a few months ago, also saying the same. So a UKIP policy, made in the UK, not the EU is reality and the idea that the NH S is run by the EU, another UKIP fantasy.

  4. Godfrey Paul

    The EU’s TTIP will force the privatiasaton of our NHS. And the LibLabCon Westminster elite support it !!!

  5. davidhill

    Why isn’t Labour saying anything about the TTIP and telling the people that it will override our sovereign laws so that the privatisation of the NHS is inevitable with the TTIP? I am not a UKIP supporter but have read in detail what the TTIP will do. You can look yourself if you wished and what others are saying. Don’t be conned by any political party is my advise as they are all the same, selling the people down the river time and time again. That’s the reality of politics unless you know that the system is honest and above board? No political party is that and if you are blind the TTIP will do its worst.

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