Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson has written an open letter to Southport Lib Dem MP John Pugh calling on him to reject his own government's health plans which will lead to the part privatisation of the NHS.
John Pugh has secured a place on the House of Commons committee now reviewing the fine print of the government’s controversial Health and Social Care Bill. With the government’s plans set to open up all parts of the NHS to profit-making private companies, MP John Pugh has what UNISON has called "the opportunity to stop or support the break-up of the NHS".
As a member of the Bill Committee, Mr Pugh has the power to change the plans recently announced by David Cameron and his health secretary, Andrew Lansley. If the government’s overhaul of the health service goes ahead, private companies that undercut local NHS hospitals on price could leave those same hospitals facing financial problems and potential closure.
A proposal meanwhile, to lift the cap on the number of private patients treated at NHS units could lead to queue jumping, with NHS patients kept waiting longer.
In his letter to the Southport MP, Labour Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson called on Mr Pugh to stick to his principles and oppose the Tory-Lib Dem government plans.
Bill said: "John Pugh has an obligation, not just to the people of Southport or Sefton, but to the whole country to stand by his principles and oppose these plans.
"He is in an ideal position to block the government on its agenda to privatise the NHS and create a two tier service.
"If John refuses, then we will end up with an NHS which is sold off to the hghest bidders and where the 'haves' will get the best service and the 'have nots' will get a substandard service.
"This isn't what the post-war government envisioned when it created the NHS back in 1948.
"I call on John to do the right thing and take a stand against his own party and the Tories and their plans which will devastate our National Health Service."
Frank Hont, Regional Secretary of UNISON in the North West added: “As a member of the House of Commons committee debating the government’s plans for the NHS, John Pugh now faces one of the biggest decisions of his political life.
"The decisions they take in that committee mean they have the opportunity to stop or support the break-up of the NHS.
"John has always been a strong opponent of a privatised NHS. In April 2010 John said that having lived all his life under a public NHS he doesn’t want to see it broken up. I believe he can ensure that doesn’t happen by playing a constructive part in the Health and Social Care Bill Committee and sticking to his principles.”