Yesterday in Parliament, Members were given an opportunity to protect the NHS from the serious privatisation threat which was opened up by the Health and Social Security Act back in 2012.
Following the recent Queen’s Speech, Jon Ashworth (Shadow Health Secretary), tabled something called a ‘regret motion’ which read “This House…respectfully regrets that the Gracious Speech does not repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to restore a publicly provided and administered National Health Service and protect it from future trade agreements that would allow private companies competing for services who put profit before public health and that could restrict policy decisions taken in the public interest.”
As we reported three years ago, The Act removes the Secretary of Health’s legal duty to provide health care. It locks all services under the HSCA into competition law, allowing private companies legal rights to have services opened up for profit extraction.
Furthermore, in March this year, a very underreported merger took place whereby NHS Improvement was subsumed into NHS England, with CEO Simon Stevens now acting as head of both organisations. Stevens of course came from the world’s largest healthcare and insurance corporation, the American United Health Group. Prior to this merger clinical comissioners warned it “could have significant issues for managing conflicts of interest and in taking decisions around procurement”.
Yesterday’s vote was split pretty much along party lines, with Conservatives, DUP, and many ‘Independents’ voting against the motion, thus paving the way for future privatisation.
Labour, SNP, Greens, Plaid, all voted for the motion, hoping to protect the NHS from Americanisation.
Liberal Democrats all abstained.
Given that this was the first time for years that the Health and Social Security Act has been challenged, there is some hope in the numbers – 282 voted for the motion, with 310 against.
Our interview with Dr. Gill from 2017 still remains an excellent primer if you want to know exactly how the NHS privatisation plans have been implemented.