The local NHS campaign have launched a new website:
It has details of tonights' public meeting; Thursday 15th March, 7pm in the Sub Rooms. I was asked yesterday about whether Caroline Lucas had been doing anything for the Greens - well the link below covers a whole host of formal questions, debate etc but here is also a statement from this week... Caroline Lucas MP writes:
Despite hollow government assurances and some cosmetic changes to the Health and Social Care Bill in recent weeks, the reality is that its main purpose - to vastly increase the commercialisation of the NHS - remains intact. This is not scaremongering. We can already see the ground opening up to more NHS hospitals being run by the private sector. Just this week, for example, George Eliot Hospital in Warwickshire confirmed it's open to a takeover and in talks with potential private partners.
A broad coalition of people, including many working in the NHS, are now deeply worried about the government's plans for top down reform. Many hundreds of constituents have lobbied me with their concerns. And people are right to feel anxious.
This Bill allows hospitals to use nearly half our public beds for private work. It introduces a dangerous element of competition between service providers, and allows private companies to cherry pick the easiest cases for treatment.
It proposes a much more complex NHS structure, and rather than giving power to local GPs, it creates confusion about individual bodies' roles and responsibilities - and a crisis of accountability. To make matters even worse, it makes provision for charging, and removes the statutory duty to provide public health services for children, smoking cessation services, alcohol and drug services and a raft of other crucial services.
The government has no mandate for any of this, from the voters or in the Coalition Agreement. We must now join together to force the Prime Minister to drop the Bill.....We must also have a wider debate about the creeping commercialisation of the NHS that has taken hold over the last 20 years - helped along in no small part by the previous Labour government - to ensure that we safeguard the founding principles of our health service.
Caroline has an NHS themed news page called ‘Drop the Bill’ on her website which lists some of the work she has been doing in Parliament to oppose the Health and Social Care Bill: http://www.carolinelucas.com/cl/media/drop-the-bill.html