John calls for apology over NHS reform

John Healey called on Conservatives to apologise for forcing through the largest ever NHS reorganisation and overseeing waiting list rises and service cuts.

The MP was speaking during a debate today (Friday 21 November) on a private members’ bill he is sponsoring.

Clive Efford MP’s NHS Bill would set tough controls on NHS privatisation, scrap the new competition framework and make sure patients are always put first.

Mr Healey received around 150 emails from constituents asking him to support the bill ahead of the vote on Friday, which was won 241 to 18.

He was shadow health secretary at the time of legislation which became the controversial Health and Social Care Act 2012, and accused the Government of misleading MPs about the £3 billion reorganisation.

Mr Healey said: “Why no Tory apology to NHS staff, patients and the public?

“Why no Tory apology to NHS staff for forcing through the largest internal reorganisation in 65 years of NHS history and for forcing them to cope with increasing confusion, complex bureaucracy and wasted cost?

“Why no Tory apology to the public for an NHS that they now see has longer waiting lists and service cuts? Why no Tory apology to the public for breaking election promises and the terms of the coalition agreement to stop top-down reorganisations of the NHS, which have often got in the way of patient care?

“We on the Labour benches cannot wait for the debate on the NHS to be put right at the heart of the next five months of policy and political debate

“The Government were and are driving free market political ideology through the heart of our NHS.

“That is why the bill that Clive Efford has introduced is so essential and why I am so pleased and proud to be one of his sponsors.”

He said the Bill corrected the three fundamental flaws in the Health and Social Care Act – cost, complexity and competition.

He added: “The Secretary of State has his foot lightly on the accelerator of privatisation for now, but let us make no mistake, if the Tories win the next election, he will press it hard down to the floor immediately afterwards.”

Mr Healey said in the 18 months since the Act, 131 contracts worth £2.6 billion had been won by private companies.