MP Jonathan Reynolds has backed a parliamentary Bill designed to reduce the amount of competition in the NHS.
The National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill includes measures that would restrict the amount of income a hospital could generate from private patients and end the routine practice of compulsory competitive tendering for NHS contracts.
It is designed to counter many of the measures in the Government's controversial Health and Social Care Bill. And the Bill – a Private Member’s Bill - received its second reading in Parliament on Friday, when it was overwhelmingly backed by MPs, by 241 votes to 18.
Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds believes the measures in the Bill would ensure patient care was put before profit in the NHS. And he says the funds saved by scrapping the market framework could be re-invested in the NHS.
He said: “The Government’s reorganisation forces doctors to open up services to competition from the private sector – but this wastes millions of pounds on legal process and tenders that could be better spent on patient care.
“The measures in this Bill would scrap unnecessary competition red tape that costs the NHS millions of pounds – and that could be invested to make sure people can get a GP appointment within 48 hours.
“The changes to the NHS implemented by this Government have made it more vulnerable than ever before. But the Labour Party is committed to the NHS and this Bill is a step towards securing its future.”
According to data supplied to the Labour Party under the Freedom of Information Act, NHS hospitals are now spending more than £20 million a year complying with the Government’s competition requirements for NHS reconfigurations and mergers & acquisitions. Releasing those funds could pay for more than 600,000 GP appointments.
Following its second reading, the Bill will now be committed to a Public Bill Committee, where it will be scrutinised line-by-line. No date has yet been announced for the committee to meet.