Many constituents have written to me to raise their concerns about NHS privatisation and trade deals with the US.
I share the concerns that putting the NHS on the table in future trade negotiations would undermine it as a free, universal public service. We must not allow this to take place. I am committed to upholding the NHS’s founding principles as a universal healthcare system provided free at the point of use: a comprehensive, integrated and public NHS that is there for all of us when we need it.
I also share concerns raised about the privatisation of the health service more widely. It is worrying that NHS spending on private providers has more than doubled in cash terms since 2010. In 2018/19, the Government awarded a record £9.2 billion of the health service budget to private providers. This is despite promises by the Health Secretary that there would be no privatisation on his watch!
I believe the Government’s reforms to health and social care have created a fragmented, marketised system, which prevents proper integration of services and requires NHS commissioners to advertise many larger NHS contracts to private firms. These contracts are tendered on the same regulations and legislation that NHS England has urged the Government to repeal. If the Government is going to support our health service, I believe it should listen to the advice of the NHS and repeal the counterproductive effect that competition rules and powers have on the integrity of NHS care.
At the last general election, I stood on a manifesto which pledged to reverse the Health and Social Care Act, reinstate the duty on the Health Secretary to provide universal care, end privatisation and fragmentation and move towards genuine integration, planning and partnership, publicly administered and provided.
Thanks to those of you who wrote to me about this important issue. I will continue to press the Government to end privatisation and protect our NHS from US corporations.