Will Labour reverse the privatisation of the NHS? I want to believe it...

Allowing in for-profit companies is the worst way to better our care

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It always happens after a bad break up - the past gets rewritten. It was no different with the Labour party. They dropped 'new', distanced themselves from Blair, and hoped that halting a conflict in Syria would help us forget about Iraq. New Labour PFI reform of the NHS was a dress rehearsal for the wholesale privatisation of health threatened by today's Coalition government. Labour still have much to answer for, but at least they have started to recognise their past mistakes.

Labour now acknowledges the runaway free market that nearly caused global financial meltdown. They understand that unregulated Thatcherism is unlikely to be the solution to the problems it created. The ingenuity of the government's recovery plan was in convincing the country that privatising what remains of the public sector can somehow limit this shameless profiteering, that we can dig our way out of this hole.

And so it goes with the NHS. The Prime Minister has ignored the uncomfortable idea that comprehensive, universal healthcare is expensive. Even though a state provider has proved more effective with better outcomes than private equivalents, maintaining the country's health remains extraordinarily expensive. But it is worth every penny.

Ed Miliband’s party is working hard to woo voters back from apathy. He could be bold, and promise to fund the NHS proportionate to its needs. David Cameron talks proud of the NHS, but makes cuts behind closed doors. Miliband’s Labour can do better than this.

Fragmenting our health service, and selling off the most profitable elements to private, for-profit companies is the worst way to better our care. It is phenomenally wasteful, too easily putting taxpayers' money in the pockets of health company executives rather than reinvesting it back into patient care.

The economic downturn meant the NHS was forced to find £20 billion in efficiency savings. But now, thanks to the Health and Social Care Act, private firms are bidding to win £20 billion worth of NHS services that have been put to out to tender. While the public sector saves, private companies prepare for profits.

This is AQP - Any Qualified Provider. New legislation means businesses can bid to run all but the 'core' services your GP currently offers. And if a proposed EU US Free Trade Agreement is ratified, these providers could be UK, EU or US healthcare companies. American health companies, running NHS services, for profit.

I want to trust Labour. I want to believe Angela Eagle MP, the chair of Labour's Policy Forum - at the think tank Class' conference she told me "yes, yes, yes" when I asked whether Labour could absolutely assure a reversal of the Health and Social Care Act, and an end to the Coalition's privatisation agenda. I want Labour to be the party of Nye Bevan, the party that founded the National Health Service, who understand that health is worth the investment. The NHS needs the Labour party that created it. Now Labour need to prove they are worthy of their heritage.

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