Dennis Skinner only took 15 seconds to lay bare Jeremy Hunt’s plans for the NHS [VIDEO]

Support us and go ad-free

Britain’s oldest MP, Dennis Skinner, only needed 15 seconds to nail Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plans for the NHS. Skinner was talking in the Commons on 19 December about the number of hospital closures around the country. And he spoke about the “growing suspicion” that Hunt wants to:

lose all those beds in the hospitals forever so that the private sector can move in and take the lot.

Skinner was also adamant:

That’s what’s going to happen.


Hunt denied the claims. According to parliamentary record Hansard, he stated:

Let me just say to him that if that were the Government’s intention, we would not have found an extra £2.8 billion for the NHS in the Budget, including £1.95 million for Chesterfield hospital, which will benefit his own constituents.

But Hunt also couldn’t resist a sarcastic comment at the beginning of his reply when he thanked Skinner for his “Christmas cheer”.

Bah humbug!

But there isn’t much “Christmas cheer” for our hospitals. There are 100,000 unfilled vacancies across the NHS. And as The Independent reported on 15 December, one in five hospital trusts say that they have had at least one day already this winter where they reached capacity and had no spare beds.

Meanwhile, data from NHS England released in September showed that those waiting twelve hours or more at Accident and Emergency (A&E) from January to March had increased by 10,546% in five years.

And against this backdrop, hospitals and specialist units across England are facing closure under the government’s Sustainability and Transformation Plans for the NHS.


There are many who believe Skinner is right in his assessment of what Hunt is doing to the NHS. And it is the introduction of Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs) which campaigners believe will usher in more private health care. As The Canary previously reported, ACOs originate in the US and will, according to campaign group Keep Our NHS Public:

Fundamentally change the NHS and involve a radical reorganisation of health and social services in England. They will have control over the allocation of NHS and taxpayers’ money.

Professor Stephen Hawking, who had a public row with Hunt over privatisation of the NHS, has added his name to a judicial review to challenge ACOs. Hawking stated:

They have not been established by statute, and they appear to be being used for reducing public expenditure, for cutting services and for allowing private companies to receive and benefit from significant sums of public money for organising and providing services.

But the Department of Health denied the “misleading claims”, saying:

it is irresponsible scaremongering to suggest that Accountable Care Organisations are being used to support privatisation and harm the fundamental principles of the NHS. The NHS will remain a taxpayer-funded system free at the point of use; ACOs are simply about making care more joined-up between different health and care organisations.

Save our NHS

But this doesn’t need to be what happens. We can come together and fight what the government is doing to our NHS. Our NHS is precious. And it is down to all of us to hold the government to account and ensure that it’s not sold off to the highest bidder.

Get Involved!

Support the fight to oppose Accountable Care Organisations.

Featured image via screengrab

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed