An Open Letter to Parliament

On Sunday 24th Feb I was discussing with colleagues about the latest attempt by the coalition to force privatisation of NHS services on local commissioners. I had an idea to gather names for an open letter to publish in the press and exert further pressure on both Houses of Parliament.

Little did I know that in 48 hours I would collect over 1000 names prepared to sign the letter (below) ranging from nurses, doctors, porters to Professors and senior consultants - staff from across the whole spectrum of the NHS. I wasn't surprised in a way because the NHS engenders such a feeling of support from the whole country and the wish to prevent it from being sold off to the commercial sector is huge.

I hope the Department of Health, Jeremy Hunt, David Cameron and Nick Clegg take heed of this huge groundswell of opinion that we do not wish our NHS to be sold off to the commercial sector. We did NOT vote for this at the last General Election and democracy must be seen to prevail.

The Daily Telegraph printed the letter along with the 1000 plus names on Friday 1st March 2013 and also a story ran on the piece that same day.

In subsequent days there was much discussion about this huge show of concern by doctors, patients and NHS workers and the coalition began urgent talks on how to deal with this latest problem in marketising our NHS. An influential body called the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges wrote a letter to Lord Howe which leaked and the letter expressed serious concerns over this latest move by the coalition.

Unfortunately the Academy had not been quite as forthright during the Health Bill passage through Parliament when it was quite clear to the vast majority of the population that the Health Bill would lead us to where we are now - on the verge of selling off many NHS assets. The Academy undertook an embarrassing u-turn in February 2012 after pressure was exerted by Mr Lansley et al leading them to issue a very bland statement which in effect helped the Health Bill become law.

We must maintain the utmost pressure on all policy makers and medical leaders to continue to oppose the Health Act and subsequent secondary legislation which will continue to sell of parts of our English NHS to the commercial sector.

Please consider writing to your MP as letters to them really do make a difference - you can find out who they are and how to contact them here. Feel free to use any of the information here or a previous blog of mine when you write to them.

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This is how I sought signatories to the letter which can also be found below


Dear all,
Another damaging step is about to occur to our English NHS.
To highlight this I intend to send the open letter which is below to a national newspaper. Please read and then sign your details if you are happy with it.
I am intending to gather as many signatures for this open letter and then send it to a major daily newspaper but I need to do this VERY QUICKLY. Therefore please send this link far and wide to anyone who works in the NHS.
Newspapers always need certain information and not just a name. Therefore I am asking for your name, job title, location and address and a daytime telephone number. I give you my ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE I will not release anything apart from your name job title and location. So in the newspaper mine would look like this Dr David Wrigley, GP, Lancashire.
Many thanks and below is the letter I intend to send.
DEADLINE is WED 27th Feb midday.
David
@davidgwrigley
More information can be found HERE


Dear Sir/Madam,
We write as doctors and healthcare workers who are worried about the latest attempt by the government to irreparably damage our NHS. The government has just laid secondary legislation (under Section 75 of the Health & Social Care Act) to force virtually every part of the English NHS to be opened up to *compulsory* competitive markets, open to the private sector to bid for NHS contracts. In just over a month these regulations will be law.
Parliament does not normally even debate or vote on this type of regulation – but it is possible. Even those Lib Dems who supported the Health & Social Care Act should be very concerned as the regulations break the reassurances offered by the Government to both Houses of Parliament, to local Clinical Commissioning Groups and to the English electorate that the Act allowed local choice about when to use competition. But these new regulations do not allow local freedom to decide when to use competition in the provision of our healthcare.
These regulations were laid down on 13th February and will become law on 1 April unless MPs first insist on a debate and then vote them down.
The campaigning group 38 Degrees has launched an urgent petition and we urge Parliamentarians to force a debate to discuss and vote on this issue, which is a further nail in the coffin of a publicly provided NHS, free from the motive of corporate profit allowing it to concentrate on patient care first and foremost.
Yours,

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