Is this going to be another Kidderminster where the electorate in 2001chose an independant MP,Dr Richard Taylor, in a landslide victory to save the local casualty unit in their hospital? Last night the Health Minister, Andrew Lansley, announced that the Con Dem,s are giving time for consultation and rethinking through their proposed NHS reform bill .
They are taking a break to, "consult with the people". Translated , it means they know the reforms won't work, are unacceptable to the electorate and are unpopular to most of us who depend on it and can't afford private health care.. A u-turn possibly. Perhaps the Tories fear losing major council seats in the May elections and face a defeat in the House of Lords also.
At a Tory party conference, Cameron once said that "Blair had 3 words, education, education, education. He has 3 letters-NHS". What he didnt tell us were his 3 words to go with it- cut, privatise, close! The excuses they give for this is that they await "impact assessments", what ever that is. If they bothered to listen to what the unions, patients groups, health professionals and the general public were saying then they would know what we know. The so-called impact assessment is that it will be bad for our health service and we do not want these reforms, cuts, privatisations, reorganisations or what ever else you want to call them.
People want their NHS safe for all, free and available at the point of need. That is what generations have fought for since 1945, making it clear that they did not want a return to the 30's with means testing, poverty and poor health care. The Welfare State is not something future generations should read about in history books and wonder why it disappeared? We must ensure it survives and thrives, not wither on the vine, as the Coalition intend.
The need for a massive campaign to save the NHS is needed now more than ever. Local groups have been very active up and down the country campaigning in many ways. Now is the time to turn up the heat. The problem is that Milliband has already conceeded some of the arguements, accepting the role of the private sector. Yes New Labour went further than any Tory Gov't was willing to go, with Gordon Brown's Private Public Partnerships. So it is not only Lansley that needs to rethink but also the Labour front bench.
We are told that the private sector has played a key role in delivering quality health care with the drug companies supplying medication. If only Labour in 1945 had nationalised them. The drug companies are renowned for ripping of tax payers with their expensive branded products. How many times have they gone to court to oppose generic alternatives which were far cheaper? Now on top of this, a new layer of consultants will replace NHS managers, advising GP's on managing priorities for patient care choices. Oh the accountants will be happy.
So let us ensure the Con Dem's fall on their sword over this but also let's make sure the campaign is further strengthened to make this happen. We can not afford to miss this chance to save the NHS now so it is not history.