Wednesday 24th April 2013 will go down as a very black day for the English NHS. You would have thought the NHS needed some TLC in its 65th year but instead it has been dealt a severe blow by our politicians.
Last week the Lords debated further legislation that will in effect put many more services out to tender - and we know when tendering occurs it isn't a level playing field. The large corporate companies are circling like vultures over the NHS - looking for the tastiest morsels to feed on. These companies have buildings full of lawyers, accountants, PR specialists and managers ready to put bids together for contracts that will deliver a tasty profit to their shareholders.
What chance have the small charities or not for profit organisations got against these big boys of the City? None at all.
The Lords had an opportunity to ensure that local clinicians could choose who was best to provide local services rather than be forced to put services out to the market. Local clinicians are more likely to go to the market in order to avoid costly legal disputes which they can't afford on their meagre budgets.
The voting figures can be found HERE and the Liberal Democrats were placed under a three line whip by the LibDem leadership to vote with their Conservative colleagues to ensure the law was passed. It is also worth noting that many members of the House of Lords have declared that they have financial interests in many private healthcare companies - so voting through this legislation was in their wallets best interest too.
This is just the beginning and many campaigners are girding their loins to continue to fight for an NHS that is publicly funded, publicly owned and is publicly accountable. Nothing less than this will do to ensure we protect Aneurin Bevan's legacy.