New NHS privatisation regulations to be debated in House of Lords on 24 April. Campaign now.

This is  a briefing from Keep Our NHS Public (KONP). It basically asks you to write to LibDem and Cross-bench peers asap,asking them to block the second set of NHS privatisation regulations. It provides examples of standard letters for each type of peer. It also asks you to write to your MP asking them to support Early Day Motion (EDM) 1188, if they haven’t already done so.

I’m doing these things today, I hope you will too.

It explains the background to these campaign requests.

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KONP Briefing starts here.

The government withdrew its first set of privatisation regulations because they caused such an outcry. It is now crystal clear that the new set are just as bad, although Conservative ministers have changed some of the wording in order to get Lib Dem coalition partners to support them.

Why do we think that?

What can we do about this?

House of Lords
The government would be forced to withdraw its privatisation regulations if it loses the vote in the House of Lords on 24 April. We need an avalanche of letters to members of the House of Lords to ask them to reject these undemocratic changes. Please give some time to doing this if you want the NHS to stay the kind of institution we love rather than a profit-seeking business where health is a commodity which is bought and sold.

The key targets in the Lords are LibDem and Cross-bench peers. The motion has been put by the Labour Lords minister, Lord Philip Hunt and Labour peers will support it. We assume most Conservative peers will back the government, although if you know of any who might not it is worth contacting them.

We have created two standard letters which you can use:

How to contact members of the House of Lords

  • Write your own letter or use one of the standard letters KONP has prepared to contact either Crossbench or Liberal Democrat Peers (see above). Most Labour and Conservative peers will vote with the whip, so letters would be a waste of time.
  • Aim to get the letters read rather than thrown away as standard letters. So
  • Personalise the letters at the beginning and end, especially if you have any points of connection with the peer.
  • You could write a personal first page and then attach the standard letter (cutting out the salutation and signature).
  • Send the letter to their home address if you know it – this will help them think about the issues in advance rather than receiving them just 2 days before the debate when they return from the recess.
  • Send letters rather than emails since some peers will not use emails.
  • Find the full list of peers and their party affiliations at Parliament home page or MPs, Lords & offices
  • Or you could use the Adopt a Peer scheme, which provides you with randomly generated contact details.

House of Commons
Ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 1188, which has been sponsored by the Leader of the Opposition. Follow this link to see who have already signed – 120 MPs on 28 March.

The Commons cannot overturn this directly but it could influence the Lords, who can.

Here are two standard letters which you could use to write to your MPs, with names and addresses to be inserted by you. We have produced two letters, with one letter for MPs who signed Early Day Motion 1104 against the first version of the privatisation regulations, and may well be supporters. The second letter is for those MPs who did not sign. Check on this link to see whether the MP you are writing to signed EDM1104.

Also …

See Amend in haste, repent at leisure – NHS section 75 saga continues by Caroline Molloy.

Read a statement by Lord Howe.

See this article in Pulse.

Letter to The Times


New regulations on NHS competition

The debate about the future of Sir David Nicholson (letters, Mar 4, 5 & 6) has, perhaps not coincidentally, diverted attention from what is arguably a more important health issue: the Government’s temporary withdrawal and redrafting of its regulations on competition in the NHS.

Comments by ministers raise some fundamental questions. First they claim that they have only now realised that the words could, inadvertently, be confusing, suggesting rather implausibly that they failed to read these provisions that lie at the heart of their health policy before issuing them. Second, they claim they go no further than those of the last Labour Government, raising the question of why a hugely controversial 300-page Act was required.

Third, they say that the regulations must be consistent with the reassurances they gave to get the Act passed in the Lords, yet to do so, they would have to make the regulations inconsistent with the Act itself, from which their now withdrawn regulations flowed so clearly.

They now face the challenge of producing regulations consistent with the Act that are workable and affordable. Unfortunately, the few health professionals who had continued to support the Act have finally realised that this will be impossible.

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
8 March 2013 

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