Conservative plan for health TESSAs

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The Independent Online
THE TORIES were accused of devising ways to "privatise the NHS" yesterday, after Ann Widdecombe, the party's Health spokeswoman, suggested that more private money should be pumped into the service.

In a clear attempt to prove the Conservatives were still "radical" on health policy, Ms Widdecombe announced that the party was considering plans for "Health Tessa", savings accounts to boost private health care. The accounts would be used to fund medical care during a five-year period, but could be cashed in if no funds were called upon during its lifetime.

"I want to go on expanding the NHS, but that won't be enough and I need an addition on top of that and it's to private monies that I'm looking for the addition," Ms Widdecombe told BBC 1's On the Record programme. A source close to a Health minister told the Independent that Ms Widdecombe's comments showed the split in the Tories over NHS funding.

"The Tory party is now in total disarray. Peter Lilley and Ann Widdecombe are diametrically opposed and until William Hague sorts this out nobody will take the Tories seriously at all," he said. "The only thing that is clear it that Ann Widdecombe wants to privatise large parts of the NHS by any means necessary."

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