Academics call for Parliament to tackle the privatization of NHS

On Friday 24th March, the NHS Reinstatement Bill will be presented in the House of Commons by Margaret Greenwood, Labour MP for Wirral West.

It is the result of a body of work by Newcastle University academic Professor Alyson Pollock and colleague, barrister Peter Roderick.

Professor Pollock, the newly-appointed Director of the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, said: "The NHS has been one of the UK's greatest achievements and for almost 70 years it has provided a cost effective, universal health service. Yet this has been eroded.

"I believe the Health and Social Care Act 2012, forced a commercialised model on the NHS in England as the first thing it did was remove the duty on the Health Secretary to provide services throughout England. In effect this makes commercial tendering virtually compulsory.

"The result is billions of pounds of NHS money and thousands of health services put out to commercial tendering, removing scarce resources from the system and putting them into the private sector instead.

"The aim of today's Bill is to force the issue into the open, and allow debate on what I consider as a momentous failing to society."

The Bill proposes that the NHS should be restored as a public service by reversing marketization in the NHS, by abolishing the purchaser-provider split ending contracting and re-establishing public bodies and public services accountable to local communities.

The academic team believe this is necessary to stop the dismantling of the NHS under the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Allyson Pollock was professor of public health research and policy at Queen Mary University of London, and set up and directed the Centre for International Public Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh before moving to Newcastle.

Her research at Newcastle University will focus on health inequalities, the privatisation and marketization of health services, pharmaceuticals and clinical trials and will build on her well-respected work on sports injury, in particular head injuries.

The Bill was co-written with the help of Peter Roderick, Principal Research Associate within the Institute of Health and Society.

He said: "In writing this bill, we are reinstating the founding principles which made the NHS. These have been eroded and they will not be restored unless Parliament passes a law to do so."

MP Margaret Greenwood took up the Bill because of growing public concern about the state of the NHS and she is calling on people concerned about the NHS to write to their MP to ask them to support the Bill.

Another key supporter of the Bill is MP for North Tyneside, Mary Glindon.

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