Barbara spoke in a Westminster debate in support of a Private Members Bill which aims to protect the NHS from privatisation. The Bill had been introduced by the Labour MP Clive Efford.
The NHS (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill was given a Second Reading, with MPs voting 241 to 18 in support of the Bill. It should now be considered further in a Commons Committee but this stage requires the Government to move a motion to allow this. Among measures in the Bill is one to make the Health Secretary fully responsible again for the provision of NHS services. It would also put measures in place to prevent the NHS being forced to contract out services due to the Conservative-led Government’s Health and Social Care Act.
“The Conservative-led Government’s measures have put competition and privatisation above the needs of NHS patients. I talked in the debate about negative experiences my constituents have had in Salford since patient transport was contracted out to the bus company Arriva. One case I mentioned meant a cancer patient had to wait for three hours for ambulance transport back to Salford Royal after treatment at the Christie Hospital.
Waits like these are distressing for patients and their families and terminally-ill patients should never have to wait like this. I also talked about the concern I have that commissioners in some parts of the country are considering contracting out all cancer and end of life care services in their area. This could be very risky for future cancer treatment.
Millions of pounds are being wasted on unnecessary tendering process when that money that should be spent on improving front-line patient care. Labour wants to improve patient care through integration of health and social care, but integration needs collaboration not competition. It is vital that Parliament passes this Bill to safeguard the NHS from privatisation.”