On Sunday 21st September, Save Calderdale Hospital and Huddersfield Keep Our NHS Public campaigners went to lobby the Labour Party Conference to adopt a resolution to restore the NHS.
But the Labour Conference Arrangements Committee ruled the resolution out of order and refused to allow it to be put to the Conference.
Although the people’s campaign to save Calderdale and Huddersfield hospitals is not party political at all, many campaigners agree with Darlo mum Joanne Land.
She spoke at the lobby to say that the people’s campaign to save the NHS wants Labour to adopt policies for the next election that go well beyond what Andy Burnham has so far promised.
Save the NHS campaigners are looking to a Labour government to restore the NHS to its core founding principles and working methods – including an abolition of the marketisation of the NHS, restoration of proper funding to stop and reverse the NHS cuts, and an end to Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes.
The Calderdale Royal Hospital PFI scheme guzzles 10% of Calderdale’s NHS funding and siphons huge profits into banksters’ off-shore tax havens.
Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group’s Chief Officer, Dr Matt Walsh, said on Monday 22nd Sept at Calderdale and Kirklees Joint Health Scrutiny Committee that he wished one of the political parties would fix the £30bn NHS funding gap that will open up over the next 5 years – but that there’s no sign that any of them will.
Pete Radcliff, a member of Broxtowe Constituency Labour Party which submitted the resolution, announced to the crowd that the Conference Arrangements Committee had ‘disallowed’ the resolution. He said,
“If the Labour Party leadership won’t restore the NHS, we have to give them such a kicking that they’ll get no rest.
This isn’t just a struggle for the restoration of the NHS. The struggle is also for the restoration of Labour democracy.”
According to Pat Smith, Hull North CLP Secretary, the Arrangements Committee that ruled to resolution out of order has ‘heavy representation’ from Unite, Unison and GMB.
These are unions with big NHS staff membership.
Plain Speaker has asked Unison to comment on reasons for rejecting the resolution, and will update this article if/when they reply.
The Labour NHS lobby website says that,
“All the evidence suggests the party leadership does not want to be pinned down to a clear policy to rebuild the NHS as a comprehensive public service.”
When Andy Burnham spoke to the lobby, his statement that a Labour government would make the NHS the preferred provider did not go down too well.
It was greeted with shouts of:
“The only provider.”
Calderdale People’s Assembly member Roger O’Doherty said,
“The lobby was successful and clear in its demands for the rebuilding of the NHS according to its founding principles. I thought Andy Burnham made substantially the right noises but the proof will be in the pudding. I thought it a shame that a Labour PPC (Lloyd Russell-Moyle) was barracked by people as that undermined the claim to be non party political. I don’t know him but was prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt in his staunch defence of the NHS. We cannot afford to alienate allies.Burnham’s statement that that he would make the NHS the ‘preferred provider’ in a bidding process tells us that Labour will continue with competitive tendering but nothing about the commissioning process and whether or not CCGs will remain in their current form, which they must not as they are integral to the privatisation process.”
Andy Burnham told the Conference lobby that a Labour government would repeal the stealth-privatising Health and Social Care Act 2012.
But a tweet from a Nuffield Trust fringe meeting at the Conference, that Andy Burnham addressed on Monday, reports that Andy Burnham told the meeting that a Labour government would repeal part 3 of the HSCA 2012 – but not the part that set up Clinical Commissioning Groups.
The Nuffield Trust is a pro-privatisation think tank.
Campaigners at the NHS Lobby said the whole marketisation of the NHS needs to end – as it has in Scotland.
The Secretary of Calderdale NHS 38 Degrees Campaign, who attended the Labour Conference lobby to restore the NHS, said,
“I am extremely disappointed by the failure of the Labour Party to commit to the restoration of the NHS to its former fully public state, dismantling the market culture and ending the privatisation agenda. This is a huge mistake.”
The NHS liaison campaign to get the Labour party to commit to restoring the NHS is continuing, despite the Conference rejection of their resolution. They are still inviting people to sign a statement of support.