After an outcry from many grassroots activists including 350,000 signatures on a 38 Degrees petition, last month the government re-wrote the NHS privatisation regulations that they were trying to sneak through parliament. However, further expert opinion has made clear that the revised regulations are just as bad, although Conservative ministers have changed some of the wording in order to get Lib Dem coalition partners to support them.
Following campaigning, there will now be a (highly unusual) vote in the House of Lords on 24th of April, in which Peers could vote to overturn these regulations altogether. Campaigners are calling for the government should go back to the drawing board until they can come up with something in line with what Ministers promised.
WHAT CAN WE DO NOW?
1.Print out the attached leaflet and distribute it as widely as you can (feel free to amend / add your groups logo)
2.Use the links below to contact Peers to ask them to vote against the NHS Privatisation Regulations on 24th April.
3.Ask others to do the same (you could also use the attached template letter to your local paper)
WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?
The regulations (made under Section 75 of the Health & Social Care Act) still require all NHS services to be put out to competition unless the commissioners can prove there is nly one provider capable of delivering them. Far from putting competition ‘back in its box’ as some have suggested, these regulations roll out the red carpet to it and will lead to a massive, expensive and damaging extension of privatisation in the NHS.
Campaigners are calling on everyone to give some time to doing this if you want the NHS to stay the kind of institution we love, rather than a profit-seeking business where health is a commodity which is bought and sold.
There are several template letters you can use to contact members of the House of Lords (particularly Lib Dem and Crossbench peers, and Bishops) to ask them to reject these undemocratic changes:
Keep Our NHS Public has two template letters, one for Lib Dems and one for cross benchers
The TUC’s ‘Adopt a Peer' tool helps you write letters and emails directly.
Save Lewisham’s Hospital’s site includes an extremely useful list of target peers with specific health interests, and their contact details
You can also find further contact details at They Work For You (to email a specific peer), and a list of all email addresses for all Lib Dem peers, crossbencher and bishops, on the National Health Action Party website here.
Make sure your letter gets read!
- Personalise the letters at the beginning as much as you can
- Send letters rather than emails if possible, since some peers will not use emails. The address is Houses of Parliament, Westminister SW1A 0AA. Most powerful of all, if you have time, could be a handwritten letter (or handwritten covering note).
What about MPs?
The Regulations can in theory be defeated in either House. It is less likely in the Commons, but it is still worth asking your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1188. If your MP has refused to sign, and you are concerned about their arguments, do have a look at the David Lock QC links, below.
WANT MORE INFORMATION?
This cartoon brilliantly explains what our NHS could look like, especially if we don't overturn these regulations. The artist has kindly given permission for this to be used for campaign purposes, please contact carolinejmolloy[at]gmail.com if you would like a high resolution file to use.
Professor Bob Hudson highlights why the Section 75 regulations are the key battle ground in the NHS here.
David Lock QC has also written further comments on the government response to this legal advice, here.
And criticism from a wide range of experts, here.
With thanks to Keep Our NHS Public