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Letter refutes ‘NHS not for sale’

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letter, the Guardian, Conservative party, pledge, NHS, not for sale, privatisation, campaigners, refute party comments, We Own It, Keep the NHS PublicWe urgently need new legislation that ends the privatisation of healthcare.

Campaigners and activists are urging candidates from all parties who aim to be MPs to sign a pledge protecting the National Health Service from further privatisation.

In a letter to the Guardian, they wrote: It is outrageous that Conservative party HQ has instructed its MPs and election candidates not to sign our pledge to protect the NHS from trade deals by ending privatisation (Steer clear of climate and NHS pledges, Tories told, 6 November). Conservatives continue to parrot that the “NHS is not for sale”. We would like to set the record straight.

Our NHS is already for sale – 18% of NHS funding now goes to private providers, including Virgin Care, Priory Group (an American healthcare company) and others. The 2012 Health and Social Care Act required NHS trusts to contract out the provision of services through competitive tendering, which has inevitably led to private companies winning contracts.

A trade deal could lock in current and future privatisation, making it impossible to reverse, as well as opening doors to ever-spiralling drug costs. Future governments trying to reduce or remove privatisation could be faced with expensive legal challenges from US healthcare companies and the risk of massive fines.

As long as private companies are allowed to provide NHS services through competitive contracting, the NHS is vulnerable to Trump’s trade deal – it’s on the table. But if our NHS was an entirely public service, it wouldn’t even be on the menu.

That’s why we urgently need new legislation that ends the privatisation of healthcare. So far, the pledge has been signed by more than 100 Labour, Green, SNP and Plaid MPs and candidates. Liberal Democrats have not yet signed up.

We appeal to election candidates from all parties to sign our pledge, and show where they stand.

The letter was signed by:

Cat Hobbs, Director, We Own It

Tony O’Sullivan, Co-chair, Keep Our NHS Public

Nick Dearden, Director, Global Justice Now

Diarmaid McDonald, Lead organiser, Just Treatment

Louise Irvine Secretary, Health Campaigns Together

Cllr Dr Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini, Co-chair of Oxfordshire Socialist Health Association

and

Dr Liz Peretz, Secretary of Oxfordshire Socialist Health Association.

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