Labour and the NHS

The Market is not the answer for the NHS – Labour will repeal the 2012 Act.

Responding to the Queen’s Speech in Parliament, Labour’s Andy Burnham confirmed our commitment to scrap the Health & Social Care Act 2012.

The full speech is here but you can read an extract below:

"The nonsense that the Health and Social Care Act has inflicted on the NHS was plain for all to see last year when the then Competition Commission intervened in the NHS for the first time in its history to prevent collaboration between two NHS hospitals on the grounds that it was “anti-competitive”.
What nonsense this is.
It was succinctly summed up by the chief executive of the NHS, who said that
“you’ve got competition lawyers all over the place…We are getting bogged down in a morass of competition law causing significant cost in the system and great frustration for people in the service about making change happen. In which case, to make integration happen, we will need to change the law.”
That is precisely what this Gracious Speech [i.e. the Queen’s Speech] should have done: change the law to help the NHS get on and make the changes it needs to make and remove the competition policy, which is fragmenting the NHS, not integrating it.
That is the challenge the Government have ducked completely. The problem is that if they stay on this path, the NHS will head in the wrong direction.

This Government and their Health and Social Care Act have placed the NHS on a fast track to fragmentation and privatisation when the future demands the integration of care. The Opposition are clear that the market is not the answer to 21st-century care. The NHS now needs solutions of scale to rise to the increasing challenges that it faces.
The NHS needed such leadership in this Queen’s Speech, but it was offered nothing. Instead, this Queen’s Speech leaves it lumbered with a Health and Social Care Act that puts competition before collaboration and the NHS on the wrong path for the future. The NHS urgently needs a Government who want to talk about the issues it faces and to get on with the job of securing its future. Let there therefore be no doubt that the next Labour Queen’s Speech will repeal the 2012 Act and pave the way for the full integration of health and social care."

Andy Burnham could not be clearer.

The market is not the answer.

Labour will repeal the 2012 Act.


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