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Burnham For Mayor

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Labour steps up 'Drop the Bill' campaign in fight for the soul of the NHS

Andy Burnham MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, said in response to a letter from GPs in today's Telegraph:

"The real news story here is not that 56 GPs support the Government's plans but that a Bill sold as a pro-GP reform is now seen as completely unacceptable to the profession as a whole.

"The vast majority of GPs oppose the Government's Health Bill because they can see it for what it is - a privatisation plan for the NHS.

"Andrew Lansley's problem is that he mis-sold his Bill. To be fair to David Cameron, he was more honest at this week's PMQs about the Government's real agenda: more competition and privatisation in the NHS.

"That is why this debate is turning into a battle for the soul of the NHS. Next week, Labour will set out plans to escalate the Drop the Bill campaign over the coming weeks. We will fight this Bill to the last and with everything we have got.

"The call on the Government to drop its discredited Bill is gaining momentum and support from the professions and the public. Last night, the crisis of professional confidence in Andrew Lansley and his Bill deepened with Royal College of Radiologists voicing concern. Doctors, nurses, midwives and now radiologists stand in outright opposition to his Health Bill.

"This has been a week of sheer panic on the fourth floor of the Department of Health. But no amount of pressurising phone-calls and desperate concessions will make the Bill acceptable.

"I repeat my offer to the Government again today: drop the Bill and we will work with you to introduce GP-led commissioning. We are not against giving GPs a bigger role in shaping NHS services. But GP-led commissioning could be delivered more quickly, with less disruption and at much lower cost without this Bill.

"If the new CCG s took over commissioning working through the existing legal structure of the NHS, this would bring much-needed stability and allow the NHS to focus on the real priority which is the financial challenge.

"This would be the safest route forward for the NHS."

98% of RCGP members support withdrawal of the Bill, according to RCGP Survey