Dear Andy Burnham,
We know you probably haven’t heard of NHSpace. That’s fine; everyone has to start somewhere. What matters is we believe in something, and we’re willing to stand up for what we believe.
We thought you were too, Andy. We saw you give a talk to NHS staff last year, and we took notes. You said:
- “I prefer the NHS model over a more marketised system. A more marketised system means more costs.”
- “The NHS model avoids the inflationary pressures, rising costs and fragmented care that affects a market-based system.”
- “We will repeal the H&SC Act, and we will include that in the first Queen’s Speech of the next Labour government.”
So why, Andy, are you now supporting the marketisation of the NHS? You would reverse the H&SC Act only to replace it with a different flavour of privatisation in which the NHS and charities are ‘preferred providers‘. Such a system will still welcome private firms, be governed by European competition law, and waste billions on contracts and tenders.
You’re a nice guy, Andy, and you give good speeches. But what you’ve got lined up for our NHS just isn’t good enough.
Labour have strayed too far to the right and are now helping the Tories sell off the welfare state that Aneurin Bevan helped create. The Labour Party isn’t the same party that you joined at age 14 to fight the Tories, and it’s certainly not a party that Bevan would recognise. You of all people should be able to see that Labour need to sort themselves out.
Here’s an extract from the Health Service Journal on 3rd November 2014 (we’ve added the emphasis on certain parts):
Burnham sets out role for private providers in his NHS vision
Private health providers could play a significant role in providing NHS services under a Labour government, the shadow health secretary has suggested. In an exclusive interview with HSJ, the Andy Burnham gave his most detailed account of how his flagship policy that the NHS being the “preferred provider” for state run services would work.
Mr Burnham, who first floated the model in 2009 while health secretary under the last Labour government, said the “simplest way to put it” was that the “first chance” would be given to the NHS. He said: “So, there is going to be change, but the NHS will get the first chance to change. “You don’t immediately go to an open competition, [the NHS] gets the chance to embrace the model. But [if commissioners judge the] change isn’t acceptable or not embraced fully, then [we] say: ‘We’ve given you first chance to change but it’s not worked. We now need to open up to different ways of doing things.’”
The MP for Leigh also gave the all clear for NHS organisations bidding for contracts to bring in a private or third sector provider to deliver some of the work. He said: “The NHS preferred provider principle in non-negotiable for me. Because in the end the public NHS matters to me. “Once you’ve got that principle, then saying that in any locality, allowing people to develop systems that work from that principle but involve others, absolutely, that’s a healthy thing. I think you’d want that to be honest.
Is anyone else here just a little bit worried now?