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Last Chance To Halt The NHS Privatisation And Funeral On 24th April

If the current amendments to the Health And Social Care Act 2012 go through, it will mean the total privatisation of the NHS as ALL healthcare services will have to be put out to tender if there is more than one healthcare provider in the area. Under 'any qualified provider' the likes of Virgincare, Circle Health, Serco and American companies, will be running your local healthcare services which will include; your GP surgery, out of hours surgery, and clinics such as physiotherapy, mental health services, childrens healthcare services; to name just a few.

Today, 21st April, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham warns that in the House of Lords, the LibDem peers are about to help the Tories hammer in the final nail in the coffin of the NHS; by supporting the S275 regulation changes to the Health & Social Care Act 2012 and voting against the Labour motion 'prayer to reject these regulations'

The crucial vote takes place on Wednesday 24th April, and if it fails, the NHS as we know it will be dead and buried, as VirginCare, Circle Health, Care UK and a whole wave of American private healthcare companies being to take over NHS services for a minimum 10% profit margin!

But in fact, privatisation of NHS services has already begun: according to many sources including Channel4's Dispatches and the website, Liberal Conspiracy.

There may be a GP surgery near you that is now run by Virgin, says Liberal Conspiracy. Until March 2012, and the passing of the Health & Social Care Act 2012, Virgin Care did not exist. However, it now runs at least 358 GP practices. Behind the friendly PR face of the bearded entrepreneur, Richard Branson; patients see a different face, cold and sinister.

The Kings Heath Practice in Northampton is a perfect example of things to come across the whole of the NHS. Since Virgin took it over from the NHS, patients have had to wait up to three weeks for an appointment instead of three days, three GPs have been reduced to one, and three nurses cut to one part-time nurse. And while the company boasts about the surgery’s opening hours, often there are no clinicians present, just an open empty building. Locals complain that Virgin has “brought Third World medical standards to Kings Heath.”

In the event that Labour's motion now being debated and voted upon on Wednesday 24th April in the House of Lords goes down, the S275 regs will become law and the NHS funeral and burial will take place across all NHS Trusts in England.

The loss of the world's best national healthcare service will be irretrievable, resulting in needless surgical procedures, worsening public health care, rationing of care services, cost being put before healthcare, and earlier deaths. The UK position of having among the worst cancer cure rates in the western world will deteriorate even further.

click to go to the websiteThe TUC have joined forces with 38 Degrees campaigning group and are asking, via their Going To Work website; for you to support the NHS and write to your local House of Lords Peer to vote with the Labour peers in the House to support a motion that will kill off the amendments, (SI275) to the Health And Social Care Act 2012.

The TUC campaign website says:

After a huge public outcry forced Jeremy Hunt to withdraw and rewrite his controversial new NHS competition regulations earlier this month, the government have come back with a new suggestion to put this part of last year’s Health And Social Care Act into practice.

Peers have good reason to examine these regulations closely, as the Act only narrowly passed last year after the government gave Peers considerable assurances that competition and marketisation would not be made compulsory, where local people and their commissioning groups decided they do not want it for their services.

However, expert legal opinion suggests that the new regulations do in effect make competition almost impossible to avoid. Local groups will be pressured into opening nearly all services out to private markets by a combination of over-strict guidelines and the real threat of legal action from private healthcare companies. Services will become further fragmented, and scarce NHS funds wasted in complex tendering processes and legal fees.

A motion has been laid in the House of Lords to oppose the regulations, and represents the last chance for Parliament to amend or reject them. Members of the House of Lords have a chance to give the regulations the scrutiny the government have been so keen to avoid, and hold the government to the promises they made in the House last year.

You can help raise concerns about the threat to NHS services by writing to a member of the House of Lords. They aren't as used to individual lobbying as MPs, so receiving personal contacts from members of the public should really get their attention.

Of course, one of the reasons they don't get much contact is that they don't have a direct group of constituents. The TUC can help get around this, using their website tool to adopt a Peer.

It will match you at random to a member of the House of Lords and help you to contact them, either directly with a posted letter, or by email.

If you have previously written to a Peer, the website will be able to identify who it was and offer you the chance to write to the same Peer again, or choose another.

To get started, add your email address here

See also:

Channel 4's report: Getting Rich On The NHS

Liberal Conspiracy report: 2012: how the NHS became privatised and the impact that has had

Source: TUC / Channel 4 News / Liberal Conspiracy

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