Why privatise?

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If the so-called National Health Action candidate thinks that the quantity of his letters to the Herald will make up for the lack of quality of his facts then he is sorely mistaken.

He claims that the current controversy over the MSK contract is all down to the Health & Social Care Act of 2012 and it’s my fault for voting for it. It isn’t.

Contracting out of services has happened in the NHS since 1991, with most of the reforms coming in under the last Labour government, which made the practice commonplace.

I didn’t hear Mr Walker raise any complaints then nor indeed at the last election when Labour proposed cutting the NHS budget, which Conservatives fortunately reversed. Call me cynical but that might be linked to the fact that his party is not standing any candidates against Labour MPs.

The 2012 act actually brought in new safeguards where the health regulator monitor can intervene if there is any danger from contracting out to the quality of services to local patients.

Sir Peter Bottomley and I have been holding a series of meetings with the hospital trust and CCG and called for a full impact assessment of the proposed MSK contract, where there is still much detail to be thrashed out.

If there is any suggestion that the quality of care for our constituents would be seriously compromised by the proposals then we will be the first to organise against them. I think that is a rather more helpful approach than the grandstanding by Mr Walker and throwing round all sorts of unsubstantiated claims about privatisation.

Who on earth would want to privatise the NHS when its strength and international reputation is based on the universal availability of quality services to all, free at the point of use, and long may it remain so?

So it is Mr Walker who should be apologising for his disgraceful scaremongering and the impact it will have on vulnerable local patients, particularly, who hugely value our fantastic local hospitals.

It was they in their thousands who joined those of us who set up the KWASH campaign and fought tirelessly over months back in 2007/08.

When we were leading marches, delivering 130,000 petitions and letters of protests and holding all-night vigils, Mr Walker and his party were nowhere to be seen.

In contrast, with a general election seven months away, the opportunism of his highly partisan and ill-informed campaign now speaks volumes.

Tim Loughton MP

House of Commons

London

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