Preston MP Mark Hendrick has come out in support of the “Drop The Bill” campaign, which opposes the government’s plans to reform the NHS.
Today opposition MPs will debate the bill while examining an alternative Labour motion to the proposed Health and Social Care Bill.
Mark Hendrick said: “The Government has finally relented in the face of public and professional opposition to the Bill. 173,000 people have signed the online e – petition and in Preston alone 400 people signed our Drop the Bill petition in under 2 hours.”
“I hope the Government does the right thing and listen to the public and health professionals and Drop the Bill.”
If passed, the bill would be the most extensive reform of the NHS in its history. It proposes to get rid of Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities and instead hand power over to GP clinics. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has today mounted a defence of his policy in the British Journal of Nursing, saying:
“Some people say we should not have embarked on this programme of NHS reform.
“To those people who doubt what we are doing I would say, because of the pressures we are facing, we cannot afford not to reform the NHS.
“To take the approach advocated by Labour of simply sitting on our hands would be storing up a crisis for the future”
“So frankly I don’t care if I come out of this reform process under attack from the professions and the opposition. All I care about is that we avert that crisis and give the NHS the support it needs for the future.
“I didn’t go into politics because I wanted to win a popularity contest. I decided to work in public service because I want to help improve my country for future generations and that is what we are working to do.”
You can read a full analysis of Lansley’s comments in the Guardian.
Critics say that the proposed plans will lead to an increased privatisation of the NHS, with more than 270 delegates voting to “kill the bill” at the recent Liberal Democrat conference.