Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, has joined Unite the union in opposing the Conservative’s Health and Care Bill, which will be debated in the commons for the last time by MPs on Tuesday.
The Bill, which has faced a large amount of criticism from health and union leaders, will restructure large parts of the NHS, and proposes to establish 42 independently run Integrated Care Systems to cover the whole of England. Gwynne has previously written about his concerns that these ICSs may have on the already-integrated care in Tameside.
Critics have also argued that the Bill will pave the way for private companies in the UK to play a larger part in public healthcare services. There are no safeguards in the bill to prevent contracts being handed out without proper tendering processes, and the Bill also hands unprecedented powers to the Secretary of State for Health, Sajid Javid.
Additionally, the Bill does not make any specific references to slashing waiting times, and only references workforce planning once.
Commenting on the proposed bill, Andrew Gwynne said:
“This is the wrong bill at the wrong time, and doesn’t prioritise the things that desperately need sorting – such as record waiting lists, missed A&E and cancer targets, and a totally broken social care system.
Instead, this Bill will see even more contracts awarded to private companies without proper scrutiny, and give the Health Secretary totally unnecessary powers to intervene in the operational independence of our health care system.
This Government has systematically underfunded the NHS for over a decade, and now risks exacerbating the problems they helped create with this poorly formulated and extremely damaging Bill.
I am proud to be joining fellow colleagues and Unite in opposing this Bill.”
Jacalyn Williams, Unite national officer, added:
“The Westminster government’s new Health and Care Bill is a Trojan horse for more privatisation, cronyism, austerity and a licence for politicians to run down and sell off the NHS.
“Attempting to drive this through whilst we are still in the middle of a pandemic and without a care for staff and patients is a disgrace, Unite is opposed to this disgraceful bill and we will lead a serious and effective campaign to ensure this bill is stopped.
“We need you all to act now, wherever you work, whichever sector, community, retired, or young members we need you all to get involved and defeat these plans that will give our NHS to profiteers at the expense of staff and all patients.”