The Health and Social Care Bill returns to Parliament this week for its third reading.
The Green Party is calling for the resignation of Andrew Lansley, as new research demonstrates the poor outcomes of the proposed Americanised system of healthcare.
It also comes as some hospitals face major funding problems, including Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, where managers are considering a proposal to shut St Mary's, Paddington, and sell off the site to property developers to make up for a £100m debt. (1)
Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP is giving her full backing to amendments to prevent NHS privatisation, and she supports the 38 Degrees petition against the Bill, which is now heading towards 450,000 signatures.
Caroline Lucas said: “I have been working closely with 38 Degrees on the crucial campaign to protect the NHS – and am doing all I can in Parliament to support the opposition to the Government’s dangerously flawed proposals. The Health and Social Care Bill would set the legal stage for private companies to be allowed to run much of the NHS and for market forces to determine the way health services are provided. Like the many constituents who have contacted me in recent weeks to voice their opposition to the Bill, I believe this is totally unacceptable.”
Stuart Jeffery, health spokesperson for the Green Party: "The NHS needs reform, but the direction that the Conservatives and Lib Dems are taking the NHS in will bring the system far closer to the US version of health care. The US system is constantly found wanting.
“We welcome new research which demonstrates clearly that the US system was one of the least cost-effective in reducing mortality rates, while the UK was one of the best (2). MPs should take note of this when then vote on the bill this week.
"The US system of health care is predicated on competition and insurance, both of which are enshrined in the draft Health Bill. Moving the UK towards the US system will either cost lives, or it will cost taxpayers billions.
"Despite the rhetoric of Labour, Lib Dems and the Tories, competition and markets in health care increase costs and make outcomes worse. Markets require the threat of failure, yet no sensible government should be introducing failure into health care. Claims that the NHS won't be privatised are simply untrue. Revelations this week have shown (3) that takeover discussions started last year. It comes as no surprise that the Health Bill absolves the Secretary of State of his duty to provide health care. (4)
"Andrew Lansley should therefore resign immediately as Secretary of State for Health for his disgraceful attempt to destroy the NHS. He is not fit to lead health care in this country and clearly does not want to do so either.
“The NHS may not have been safe in Labour's hands but in Conservative hands it is in immediate peril."
2) Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine Short Reports July 2011 available at:
3) Overseas management of hospitals discussed
4) Legal opinion on 'Duty to Provide"