The NHS is our greatest institution, established more than 70 years ago to provide universal healthcare free at the point of use. I will always fight for it to uphold its founding principles as a comprehensive, integrated and public NHS that is there for all of us when we need it.
Coronavirus has demonstrated beyond all doubt just how important our health service and its dedicated staff are, but it has also revealed how stretched it has become following ten years of Tory under-investment. Our NHS, social care and mental health services must be fully resourced so that all patients receive the care they need.
Beyond the pandemic, I would like to see the Government repeal the counterproductive effect that competition rules and powers have on the integrity of NHS care. NHS England has described general competition rules as “counterproductive” and highlighted the negative impact these have had on the integration of NHS care. A fragmented and marketized system prevents proper integration of services and forces NHS commissioners to advertise many larger NHS contracts to private firms. NHS spending on private providers has more than doubled since 2010, and in 2018/19 the Government awarded a record £9.2 billion of the health service budget to private providers.
I am also extremely concerned about the potential impact of a UK-US trade deal on the NHS. While the Government says the NHS will not be on the table in trade negotiations, it opposed an amendment, which I supported, to the Trade Bill that would have put this commitment into law.
I will continue to press the Government to end privatisation, repeal the Health and Social Care Act, provide investment and support to hard working staff and reinstate the responsibilities of the Health Secretary to provide a comprehensive and universal healthcare system.