MPs are due to vote on a Bill to reverse the introduction of private-sector and market-based influences on the National Health Service.
The NHS Reinstatement Bill, introduced by the Green Party’s MP Caroline Lucas, would strip out the internal market, first introduced in 1991, as well as the Conservatives’ latest reforms to NHS commissioning.
The law would abolish the purchaser-provider split, end the contracting out of services, and aims to re-establish public bodies and public services directly accountable to local populations.
The Bill has cross-party support and has been signed by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell – but Labour has yet to make a formal party statement on the Bill.
The Scottish National Party and other individual Labour MPs also support the proposed law.
The proposal will be looked at MPs on Friday. It is very unlikely to pass without the support of Labour and a significant rebellion by Conservatives – of which there has been no sign.
Private bills proposed by individual MPs are also very vulnerable to filibuster by MPs who are opposed and do not wish a vote to be held on the item.
Other provisions in the Bill include the re-establishment of community health councils, the abolition of the NHS Commissioning Board, and the integration of Health and Social Care services.
Ms Lucas the proposal would reverse the creeping “marketisation” of the service and urged Labour to back it.
“This Friday MPs have a chance to show their commitment to our NHS. The NHS needs Labour to back this Bill,” she said
“It’s the best chance we’ve got to bring people’s anger about what’s happening to our NHS into Parliament – and to then move towards reversing the failed privatisation experiment.
“Across the country we’re seeing people making a stand against the ongoing marketisation of our health service. The NHS is saddled with a wasteful internal market, and increasingly widespread outsourcing of services to the private sector.
“When you add this privatisation to the near-constant Government attacks on the NHS workforce, including forcing junior doctors to strike again today, you can see why so many people are supporting the NHS Bill.”
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