South Asia Tribune
Thursday 04 October 2012
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Andy Burnham has vowed to reversethe “rapid” privatisation of NHShospitals in England if Labour winspower.The shadow health secretary warnedthat some NHS hospitals wereplanning to double the number of private patients they treat under new freedoms.Now more than ever, the healthservice needs folk with the faith to
ght for it and Labour is its best hope,
indeed its only hope, the shadow health secretary Andy Burnham toldthe Labour party conference. Here ishis speech“A year ago, I asked for your help.
To join the ght to defend the NHS
– the ultimate symbol of Ed’s OneNation Britain.Hundreds of private contractssigned in ‘biggest ever act of NHSprivatisation’Labour says contracts worth aquarter of a billion pounds have beensigned this week Contracts for almost 400 NHSservices, worth a quarter of billionpounds, were signed this week resulting in the “biggest act of privatisation ever seen in the NHS”,Labour’s health spokesman Andy Burnham has said.
In a brieng before his speech
to the Labour party conference,Burnham said he had new “evidenceof accelerating privatisation” –citing a rash of examples acrossEngland which he said showed thegovernment was committed to a“market in healthcare”.Burnham pointed out that “non-emergency” ambulance servicesin the north-west would soon berun by the bus group Arriva andthat Lancashire county council hadawarded the contract to run “patient
advocacy” groups to a private rm,
Parkwood Healthcare.However the “biggest privatisation”so far was in “community services”– those areas of healthcare offeredoutside of hospitals. Labour usedfreedom of information requests tosurvey England’s NHS primary caretrusts on the “range and value” of community services being offeredto the private and voluntary sectorunder the government’s “any
qualied provider” policy.In the rst wave, 398 contracts were
signed this week in eight NHS areas– including musculoskeletal servicesfor back pain, adult hearing servicesin the community, wheelchairservices for children and primary care psychological therapies foradults.Labour says £262m of services havedrawn bids from 37 private healthcarecompanies. In about a quarter of thecases – 110 times – the health trustsstated “they had no plans to tender before the government instruction”.Burnham said he was “against themarket in the NHS, not privatecompanies”. He said the use of markets had seen “care beingfragmented and services becomingdisjointed”. For example, inLincolnshire six private providerscompete to offer patients diagnostictests as well as the NHS.
‘’The NHS desperately needs a Labour win in 2015’’
Call to halt NHS ‘privatisation’
Miliband vows to rebuild UK as ‘one nation’ in bid to boost prole
The “one nation” slogan is traditionally used by Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservativeparty but was employed in the speech to thecentre-left party’s conference to show Labour would help Britain through hard times.The hour-long speech was light on policy butfull of detail about the background of Miliband, who surprised many by winning the leadershipcontest against his brother, former foreignminister David Miliband, two years ago.Observers said it was a brazen attempt to take back the centre ground that Cameron has triedto occupy.Miliband, who walked around the stage anddelivered the speech without notes, soughtto court Conservative voters, saying he couldunderstand why they had turned away from thethen Labour government and voted for Cameronin 2010.But Miliband said the coalition government of the Conservatives and their junior partners, theLiberal Democrats, had let the country downand failed to stimulate economic growth andcreate jobs.“When David Cameron says to you ‘Let’s justcarry on as we are and wait for something to turnup’, don’t believe him, don’t believe him. If themedicine isn’t working, change the medicine.“And I tell you what else to change, change thedoctor too, and that is what this country needsto do,” Miliband said to loud applause.Miliband also teased Cameron for his closenessto a key former Rupert Murdoch aide RebekahBrooks, who has been charged with phone-hacking offences.He said Britain could not move forward if itremained “two nations, not one, the bankersand the rest of the country”.“We must have a one-nation banking systemas part of a one-nation economy,” he said.In a lengthy personal passage of the speech,Miliband contrasted his own education at astate school in London with thatof Cameron, who was educated at the elite fee-paying EtonCollege. Polls show that while Labour are aheadof the Conservatives with more than two yearsto go until the next general election in 2015,Miliband himself does not enjoy high personalpopularity.
Labour would extend theFreedom of Information Act : Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan, the shadow justice secretary, hasannounced that Labour would extend the Freedomof Information Act to cover private companiescontracted to do public sector work. As the Press Association reports, he said in his speech FoI
legislation would apply to private rms running
prisons and delivering education and healthservices. They would all be subjected to the“disinfecting transparency” of the FoI regime, Khansaid in his speech. The pledge to extend Freedomof Information legislation to private companies by Sadiq Khan, the shadow justice secretary, will covercontracts to deliver public services, such as prisons,hospitals and schools. They will be required to share with the public information on contracts which arefunded with public money.Khan said it was time to “address this blind spot inour freedom of information laws” and in contrast toTony Blair’s view in his memoirs that he had been an“idiot” to introduce FoI in 2000, the shadow justicesecretary said he was proud of the achievement,however awkward it could prove to be.“Not only will the next Labour government protectFOI, we will seek to extend it,” Khan promised the
conference. “For the rst time, FoI will cover the
delivery of public services by private companies.This includes our prisons, our schools, and ourhealth service. Public, private or voluntary,subjected to the same disinfecting transparency of FoI.”On his justice brief, Khan also plans to create adedicated minister for mental health within theMinistry of Justice and the creation of a women’s justice board similar to the existing youth justice board. He also unveiled a new proposal to makeit obligatory for the courts consider the option of restorative justice as part of any sentence that ishanded down.Labour, the one nation party of strong and safecommunities.The party of neighbourhood and responsivepolicing.The party of open and fair justice and civilliberties.The party of constitutional reform in the interestsof the nation, not ourselves.The one nation party that stands up for and protectsthe many, not the few.
Miliband: Nopromises on hospitalclosures
The day after the Labour Party leader wowed
delegates with his condent “one nation” speech,
Ed Miliband told Channel 4 News he could notguarantee that the NHS would be saved frompublic sector cuts under a Labour government.
“Of course I can’t promise there won’t be hospitalclosures and then some services get changed,” he said.
On the day that the future of the NHS is beingdebated by delegates at the conference, theLabour leader admitted that the public sector asa whole was not immune to cuts under a Labourgovernment: “I couldn’t have been clearer thatthere will tough settlements in our public services,and it will make life harder for those who use them,and harder for those who work in them.”But Mr Miliband repeated the pledge that he would repeal the NHS bill if he became the nextprime minister in two years’ time, even if changes were already under way under the coalitiongovernment.During his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference in Manchester, Mr Miliband paidtribute to former Conservative leader BenjaminDisraeli and his idea of’ “one nation”. The Labourleader did not commit to whether he wouldapprove a referendum on Europe at any point inthe future, but said it was not a priority “at the