I share the concerns of the many people from Ipswich who have written to me about this problem. I agree that a comprehensive health service should continue to be provided free at the point of use and that encroaching privatisation of the NHS must be halted. I also believe that there needs to be more investment to provide the NHS and social care with the funding it so desperately needs.
I am concerned that under this Government waiting lists have topped 4 million and the number of patients spending more than 4 hours in A&E has risen 250%. A report by the British Medical Association revealed that the number of people waiting on trolleys reached the highest level to date in November 2016.
The Government recently confirmed that NHS England expenditure on independent providers has increased by £3.4 billion since 2011/12. At the General Election I stood on a manifesto that committed to reverse the privatisation of our NHS, return our health service into expert public control, and repeal the Health and Social Care Act which puts profits before patients.
I support the introduction of a new legal duty on the Health Secretary to ensure that excess private profits are not made out of the NHS, and I agree that there should be no new private finance initiative deals.
Throughout the summer the Labour Opposition fiercely opposed the Government’s proposal to sell 75% of NHS Professionals, an effective and successful public body which saves the taxpayer around £70 million a year and ensures that hospitals don’t have to rely on expensive private staffing agencies. The Government’s plans were met with widespread opposition from NHS staff and patients, and I will continue to fight with my colleagues alongside patients’ groups, Unison, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and other bodies to keep the NHS free and publicly owned.
I can assure you I will continue to stand up for the NHS in Parliament.