Letter from Parliament - Jim Dobbin
Date published: 06 September 2011
In 1948 the Labour Government’s Nye Bevan began the National Health Service. 63 years later in 2011 a survey of patients registered the highest rates of satisfaction for many years.
On September 6 2011 the Coalition government began the process of privatisation and the complete breakup of the NHS. Bevan will be remembered as the creator of the finest Health Service in the world. Lansley will be remembered as the destroyer of the NHS. The Coalition’s programme is a reckless, bureaucratic and wasteful re-organisation.
I have received a very large number of letters and emails from constituents on this important issue and I know how concerned local people and local health professionals are about the government’s proposals.
Labour has been making this clear in Parliament since last autumn. The Bill removes a key protection of the 1948 Act that set up the NHS, that the Secretary of State for Health should be directly accountable for providing the Health Service.
The Coalition’s plans will break up the NHS as a national public service and fundamentally weaken the Secretary of State’s responsibilities.
The Bill contains essential elements of the Tories’ long term plan to set the NHS up as a full scale market based on the model of the privatised utilities, gas, electricity and Water. Under their plans a new economic regulator will enforce competition law on the NHS for the very first time and have the power to fine hospitals 10% of their turnover for working together.
The Bill has yet to go through the House of Lords and I pray they will throw it out.
John Denham, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary is proposing to introduce a requirement that any company wanting to provide goods and services to the public sector must have an apprenticeship scheme before they can get a contract. This would increase the number of apprenticeships by thousands and give immediate help to many of the one million unemployed under 25s.
The Coalition should keep Labour’s amendments to the Energy Bill to secure apprenticeships through the Green Deal. This together with Labour’s plans to repeal the Bank bonus tax as well as a temporary reversal of the VAT rise would kick start the economy and provide growth and jobs that are urgently required. We need to reverse the escalating unemployment levels.
I enjoyed the 50th birthday party of Ann Jones who runs the Members’ Office in the Town Hall. Ann’s family have been neighbours of ours for 37 years. The event took place at Rochdale Golf Club and it was a good opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues from my days on Rochdale Council.
I had a detailed briefing during a visit to Middleton Probation Service. Their programme is wide and varied. They concentrate on supporting those on probation to find jobs and get their lives back together. I found the visit very worthwhile.
On 30 August I was present when Charles Hendry MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy opened a newly refurbished unit at Granada Material Handling, who design and supply lifting equipment for an off-shore wind farm off the North West coast. Here we have a local company leading the way nationally. Sales Director Mark Sidwell can be justly proud of this achievement.
Parliament is now in session for two weeks before the Party Conferences.
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