What Some MPs Really Think of 38 Degrees

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March 11, 2013 by Protect Our NHS

Below is an exchange between the office of a Conservative MP and a concerned patient.  Well I say Conservative, but of course the views of this MP were made very clear today in his speech to the IEA where he advocated a freeze on all government spending.  While this hapless government staggers on leaving a trail of wreckage behind it, its own right wing vultures circle above desperately hoping to benefit either personally through privatisation or through preferment following a lurch to the right on behalf of its frightened Parliamentary members.

—–Original Message—–
Sent: 04 March 2013 17:45
Subject: Sign the motion to stop back door NHS privatisation

Dear Rt Hon. Dr Liam Fox MP,

I’m concerned about the current plans for the NHS which could force doctors to privatise more of our NHS. Last year the government said it would leave these decisions in the hands of doctors. Please sign up to EDM 1104 to block these plans.

38 Degrees members have paid for legal advice which sets out how the new NHS plans break promises the government made last year:

Our National Health Service is valuable especially to the people of North Somerset and the older population of people who vote.

My own daughter.s life was saved by her own doctor responding to an out of hours call and recognising meningitis – she is your age.!

Yours sincerely,

—– Original Message —–

Sent: Saturday, March 09, 2013 4:15 PM
Subject: RE: Sign the motion to stop back door NHS privatisation

Dear Mrs

Thank you for  your email about NHS procurement, patient choice and competition regulations.

I recognise that there have been a number of concerns over the precise wording of these regulations. On 5 March 2013 the Care Services Minister Norman Lamb announced that the regulations would be amended to ensure that they could not be open to misinterpretation and that they faithfully implement the assurances given to Parliament during the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill.

The Government has always said that it should be commissioners, not Monitor or Ministers, who decide when and how competition should be used to serve patients’ interests.

Concerns have been raised that Monitor would use the regulations to force commissioners to tender competitively. The regulations will make clear that this is not the case. Concerns have also been raised that competition would be put before integration and co-operation. I want to assure you that the Government was very clear, during the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, that competition can only be a means to improve services for patients, not an end in itself. What is important is what is in patients’ best interests. Integration is key to improving services for patients, and commissioners will be under a duty to use this approach. The Government will amend the regulations very shortly to make that point absolutely clear.

It is wrong to suggest these regulations will result in “enforced privatisation.” What they would actually do, in line with the principles adopted by the previous government, is ensure that it is doctors and nurses who decide on the best providers to deliver services to their patients, taking decisions on when and how to use competition so they can improve services for patients, with appropriate safeguards to protect patients from conflicts of interest, discrimination and anticompetitive conduct.  There will be no privatisation of the NHS under this Government.

I know that this interpretation has been circulated by 38 Degrees through its own legal advice. I thought you may be interested to know that the author of the 38 Degrees “independent” legal advice is former Labour MP, David Lock QC, who was the MP for Wyre Forest until losing to Dr Richard Taylor, the Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern candidate who ran to oppose the last Labour Government’s NHS policies. Mr Lock remains active in Labour politics as Chair of the West Midlands Labour Finance and Industry Group. Indeed, while I fully appreciate your strong views on this particular issue, I did want to make you aware of the very close links that exist between 38 Degrees and the Labour Party. One Co-founder contributes significantly to the Labour Party, its leader and its unofficial website ‘Left Foot Forward’ while another put himself forward as General Secretary of the Labour Party last year, and a director described himself as “dedicated to the Labour cause’.

I am sorry to have to send you rather a long email but I wanted you to have all the information about this issue that is available.

Yours sincerely

Parliamentary Office of  the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP

—– Original Message —–

Sent: Saturday, March 09, 2013 11:08 PM
Subject: Re: Sign the motion to stop back door NHS privatisation

Dear Dr. Fox,

Thank you for your comprehensive email and I sincerely hope that monitor will not force commissioners to tender competitively.  However, I do have concerns about the independence of commissioning groups.  Having attended part of two recent commissioning group meetings, many of the questions put by the public were fielded off to other organisations.  I cannot find any record of the minutes of meetings published.

I joined my local Patient Participation Group, as I wanted to know how my local practice felt about the changes.  You say that Doctors and nurses will have the say. I quote from the minutes of this meeting:

X advised she has attended several CCG committee meetings and understands that the constitution for N Somerset has gone ahead although none of the amendments put forward by lay members (including a need for more transparency) were accepted. X asked how the Practice felt about the changes.  Practice Manager stated that as the directives are coming from the top down, it does not feel there is currently much scope to influence how things are moving.  However she hoped that, in future, practices will have more of a say in what services are commissioned and that services will be more tailored to the area’s needs.

Let us hope that our practice manager  is correct about the future.

I do not see the relevance of your comments about 38 Degrees.  I contribute in a very minor way to their organisation and I have no attachment to the Labour Party.  I am just grateful that someone cares enough to finance an ability for concerned constituents to contact their MP.

Yours sincerely,

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“That’s the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don’t work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital.” Noam Chomsky

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