Letter: Labour: we won't privatise NHS

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article on the failures of the Tories' Private Finance Initiative in the National Health Service ("No escape from privatisation for NHS", 22 April) rightly sets out what a shambles it has been. Not a single brick has been laid for a major hospital scheme, despite constant re-announcements of supposed progress from ministers.

But you wrongly suggest that Labour has embraced the privatisation agenda in the NHS. We haven't.

We do believe it is right and proper to involve the private sector in public/private partnership for the provision of new hospital facilities. But the Tories want to go further, and have openly said that they would welcome the privatisation of clinical services. They are already doing it - at Stonehaven in Scotland and at the Royal Hallamshire in Sheffield. Any such commercial operation of patient care endangers the precious relationship between health professional and patient - dedicated to the clinical needs of the patient and no other considerations.

On this issue there is a gulf between the two parties.


Shadow Secretary of State

for Health

The Labour Party

London SE17