Radical local NHS reforms are privatisation by the back-door, Se

Bill Esterson

This week's Tory-Lib Dem benefits changes coincide with radical changes to the NHS which Bill said is nothing short of privatisation by the back door.

From last Monday, Primary Care Trusts were axed and replaced with Clinical Commissioning Groups.

These CCGs are made up primarily of GPs who now have full control of multi-billion pound budgets.

Bill said: "As well as the benefits and welfare reforms, we are seeing a radical reorganisation of the NHS this week, with the introduction of Clinical Commissioning Groups. These groups are made up of doctors who now hold the purse strings to the local NHS's multi-billion pound budget.

"These CCGs get to decide on where they commission health services from. That may be the NHS, or it may be private providers. Putting aside the obvious potential conflict of interests where GPs could be choosing to commission services from health firms which they themselves have a financial stake, this will lead to the gradual demise of the NHS and the growth of private companies who put profit before patient care.

"As GPs choose to commission services outside of the NHS, the NHS in turn loses vital funding which in turn will lead to the closure of services, clinics and eventual whole hospitals.

"This is yet another change which health professional, including the BMA, have warned the Government not to make."

Bill said thousands of people in Sefton Central were opposing the NHS changes.

Bill said: "I have personally been contacted by hundreds and hundreds of people from Sefton Central. The campaign group 38 Degrees has had thousands of people, including many local Labour councillors, sign the petition opposing these changes.

"But the Tories and Lib Dems have yet again disregarded the concerns of ordinary people, in the same way they have disregarded the very real concerns of health professionals.

"I am sorry to say that what we have seen this week is the Tories and Lib Dems taking strides to privatise the NHS.

"This is something which we in the Labour Party have vowed to reverse when we get back into Government.

"The NHS is an institution which was established by the Labour Government following the Second World War and one which is of great pride to many in this country.

"But the Tories and Lib Dems see it as yet another opportunity to make their wealthy friends even wealthier at the great expense of the rest of us."



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