It's time to put the NHS first and Drop the Bill - Burnham

8 November 2011

Andy BurnhamLabour launches campaign as Government is forced to abandon another key part of its health shake-up.

Show your support for the Drop the Bill campaign now.

Labour is today launching a major national drive to unite the country in a call on the Government to drop its unwanted Health and Social Care Bill.

The ‘Drop the Bill’ campaign aims to show the full scale of opposition to the Government’s plans, unifying patients, NHS professionals and the public in a final rallying cry.

People will be urged to sign an online petition at www.dropthebill.com

To build the campaign, Labour’s Shadow Health Team will be holding events in every English region over the next three months, work-shadowing NHS staff and holding ‘Drop the Bill’ rallies.

The launch of the campaign came just hours after the Government was forced to drop another component of its bitterly-contested Bill in a desperate effort to secure the votes needed for it to be passed by the House of Lords.

Late last night, the Government indicated it would abandon much of its plan to promote autonomy of NHS organisations – a measure designed to promote competition within the NHS ahead of collaboration.

Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said in advance of the launch:

“In Opposition, David Cameron promised no top-down re-organisation of the NHS. In Government, he went back on his word and ordered the biggest ever.

“Cameron’s dangerous Health Bill has no democratic legitimacy. Quite simply, nobody voted for it.

“The NHS is already facing the biggest financial challenge in its history. The very last thing it needs right now is  to waste £2billion on a costly and distracting re-organisation.

“It is plain for all to see that the Government has abjectly failed to make the case and build support for its Bill. Polls of doctors, nurses and NHS staff show overwhelming opposition. But, most importantly, patients don’t want as they can see it spells the end of the NHS as we know it.

“Yet, despite all this, Cameron is ploughing on with his Health Bill, ignoring public and professional opinion. He is out of touch with Britain.

“It’s time to make him listen. It is time for the Government to put the NHS first. It’s time for them to drop this Bill and let the NHS focus on the financial challenge.

“Aneurin Bevan said there would be an NHS for as long as there were ‘folk left with the faith to fight for it’.

“The NHS has never been in greater danger than it is right now. I know there are many millions of people in England who share that faith in what it stands for. Today, I ask them to come forward and show they’ve got the fight to defend it.”