I agree that putting the NHS on the table in future trade negotiations would undermine it as a free, universal public service. We must not allow this to take place. I am committed to upholding the NHS’s founding principles as a universal healthcare system provided free at the point of use: a comprehensive, integrated and public NHS that is there for all of us when we need it.
The Prime Minister is still also prepared to risk a devastating no-deal Brexit. We know the impact this would have on our cherished National Health Service. From the supply of medicines and patient access to care, to the impact on the health workforce: no part of the health service will be left untouched. It is scandalous that by stubbornly refusing to rule out No Deal, Boris Johnson is putting patients’ health and lives at risk.
I also agree with you on the privatisation of the health service more widely. I am concerned that NHS spending on private providers has more than doubled in cash terms since 2010. In 2018/19, the Government awarded a record £9.2 billion of the health service budget to private providers. This is despite promises by the Health Secretary that there would be no privatisation on his watch.
The Government’s reforms to health and social care have created a fragmented, marketised system, which prevents proper integration of services and requires NHS commissioners to advertise many larger NHS contracts to private firms. These contracts are tendered on the same regulations and legislation that NHS England has urged the Government to repeal. If the Government is going to support our health service, it should listen to the advice of the NHS and repeal the counterproductive effect that competition rules and powers have on the integrity of NHS care.
At the last general election, I stood on a manifesto which pledged to reverse the Health and Social Care Act, reinstate the duty on the Health Secretary to provide universal care, end privatisation and fragmentation and move towards genuine integration, planning and partnership, publicly administered and provided.
I will continue to press the Government to end privatisation and protect our NHS from US corporations.