The following is a guest post from Bet Tickner, Reading’s lead councillor for health and community engagement:
“Only days or weeks remain before the Tories try to force the disastrous and universally unpopular NHS bill into law, in the teeth of opposition from virtually every medical professional body and the public. Now the Lib
Dem party has voted against the Bill at their weekend conference.
At this eleventh hour, Labour MPs have forced a Commons debate on the Drop the Bill e-petition, which was started by a GP and now has 173,000 signatures – that’s a record – this Tuesday.
Let’s remember that there is no democratic mandate for this Bill – Cameron said before the last election that there would be no top-down reorganization of the NHS.
Nick Clegg says now “this is a bill for patients not profits” . It emphatically is not. GP commissioning will open the floodgates for private healthcare companies to drive into the heart of the NHS. This is because good GPs want to spend their time treating their patients, not on the cumbersome and complex task of commissioning.
I call on every Lib Dem supporter to ask their Lib Dem councillor or MP – where do you stand? What will you do to stop this Bill ?
Will you now join with the public, the doctors and healthworkers who want an NHS which resolves the issues of the future, not through competition but by collaboration and cooperation to preserve one of the best healthcare systems anywhere in the world?”
See my comment to Tony Jones. This sort of lowest-common-denominator partisan posturing is likely to produce the opposite effect to the one I want to see. The combination of Andy Burnham and Dr Death does to Liberal Democrats what a certain ex-Reading East MP does to most of you lot.