Craig Whittaker has refused to sign Early Day Motion 1188. EDM 1188 asks for the annullment of the ‘new’ regulations (SI 2013/500) under Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act – the ones that provide a stealth route to privatising the NHS. The advice of David Lock, a Queen’s Counsel employed by campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, is that the new regulations (the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013),
“are likely to have the effect of both permitting and promoting the transfer of NHS services to private sector.”
David Lock QC also says that private health care providers will
“seek to use the (in places unclear) wording of the Regulations to put pressure on CCGs”
(CCGs are Clinical Commissioning Groups, the new organisations that are responsible for commissioning NHS services for their area.)
Craig Whittaker vows to defend the NHS from privatisation
Craig Whittaker MP does not share this legal opinion. His reply to my request that he sign EDM 1188 starts (after the usual niceties):
“The Government took the concerns about these regulations very seriously and in response, improved the drafting of the regulations so there can be no doubt about how they apply.”
Mr Whittaker’s refusal concludes:
“It has never been the Government’s intention to make all NHS services subject to competitive tendering, or to force competition for service.”
To which I can only say, you may not want the horse to gallop out of the stable, but if you leave the door open it will be your fault if it does. These new regulations create a situation where – whatever the avowed intentions of the Government who’s made them – expert legal opinion is clear that it will become impossible for CCGs to resist the transfer of NHS services to private companies.
I am curious about what powers Craig Whittaker MP believes he can summon to support his final statement that,
“I can assure you that there will be no privatisation of the NHS under this Government. I will therefore not be signing EDM 1188.”
When Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group starts handing out contracts to private companies, Calderdale NHS facilities are about to go dark and Calderdale NHS staff are about to be thrown on the dole, I shall remember to call on our MP to stop all this happening and make sure Calderdale NHS survives intact.