Why I’m Backing the NHS Takeback Pledge
The NHS Takeback Pledge has currently been signed by 80 MPs including myself and it is more relevant than ever in a time when the NHS appears to be drifting from many of its original principles. The pledge includes five sections pledging to make the NHS more accountable, to keep healthcare within the public sector and to scrap PFI and manage the debts created by Private Finance Initiatives. The five sections are:
1) Honour the founding vision of the National Health Service
- Give back the duty to provide high quality NHS services, open to everyone, to the Secretary of State for Health.
- Make sure the NHS is properly funded, ready to deliver the comprehensive care people need now and in the future.
- Get private, profit-making companies out of NHS service provision – bring contracts in house as they come up for renewal.
- Make the NHS an integrated, efficient service – scrap the costly bureaucracy of the internal market and end the ‘purchaser/provider’ split.
- Run the NHS as a national, democratically accountable service delivered through regional and local publicly owned NHS bodies.
- Require joint planning with local authorities, with integration of social care and public health into the NHS.
- Establish Community Health Councils to represent the interest of the public in the NHS.
- Keep NHS assets and land in public ownership, for the benefit of patients, now and in years to come.
- Save money by stopping any further private financing of the NHS (PFI/PPP), manage existing debts to limit the damage to the public purse.
- Make sure no part of our NHS is for sale, now or in the future, as a result of international trade agreements.
The NHS is Labour’s proudest achievement in government and this pledge acknowledges that and seeks to strengthen our health service. This can be done by reversing many of the changes that have undermined the NHS in recent years, it is a blueprint for restoring a publicly-run, universal health service. The pledge is backed by We Own It, Our NHS, Keep Our NHS Public and London Health Emergency, among numerous other organisations.