Labour has called a major vote to halt privatisation of the NHS

NHS logo
Support us and go ad-free

Labour has called an Opposition Day debate in parliament on 23 May. This “humble address” is to debate [pdf, p6] “outsourcing and privatisation in the NHS”.

Outsourcing and privatisation

As The Canary previously reported, there are two important debates timetabled. The debate concerning the NHS will demand papers (including minutes and discussions) from Theresa May’s government, to give details about three key areas:

  • Proposals for reform under the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
  • Details about proposals for accountable care organisations (ACOs).
  • Matters relating to any proposed increase of outsourcing and privatisation in the NHS.

Copy of debate

Opposition Day debates offer Labour a valuable opportunity to challenge key government policy. For those concerned about the future of the NHS, information from this debate could have far-reaching implications for May’s government.

Say no to ACOs

Shadow health minister Jon Ashworth said ACOs were “potentially the biggest change which will be made to our NHS for a decade”. But so far, there has been little public consultation.

The ACO model originated in the US and will, according to campaign group Keep Our NHS Public (KONP):

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.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

But KONP is also concerned about the lack of financial accountability:

Their accountability for spending it and their obligations to the public will be under commercial contracts, not statutes.

Prof Allyson Pollock, part of a group pushing for a judicial review about ACOs, said the organisations:

involve government and private insurers awarding large contracts to commercial providers to run and provide services.

High court

On 23 May, legal proceedings to challenge ACOs will also begin at the High Court. As reported by the National Health Executive:

The JR4NHS group, founded by doctors and academics and strongly supported by world-renowned scientist Prof Stephen Hawking until his death earlier this year, are fighting against the creation of ACOs because they argue they will act as private partnership bodies incorporating hospitals, community services, and councils.

However, the campaigners’ concern that ACOs will lead to privatisation “is denied by ministers”.

Privatisation

At prime minister’s questions on 23 May, the Mirror reported that Jeremy Corbyn challenged May about:

spending on outsourced services [doubling] to £9billion since 2010.

He also criticised the government over a £1.5m payment to Virgin Healthcare by Surrey NHS.

The push towards ACOs is causing wider concerns about ‘privatisation by stealth’ across the NHS; in particular, because ACOs are based on a US model.

This is especially pertinent in light of post-Brexit trade deals. On 22 May, “think-tank delegates” started “discussions on an ‘ideal’ US-UK trade agreement” following Brexit. It’s not known what these discussions entailed.

But the motion put forward by Labour could force May and health secretary Jeremy Hunt to reveal documents confirming if the discussions involve the NHS.

Featured image via Wikimedia

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