York City Council is now officially opposed to the NHS reforms that were recently being bulldozed through Parliament by Lansley and co. Thanks to Defend our NHS York campaigner, Beth, for this fantastic news. Those keeping a keen finger on the pulse of this controversial issue will know that the government have taken a bizarre step of ‘pausing’ and to conduct a ‘listening exercise’ (did they listen to us at the March for the Alternative on the 26th March? Why only start listening now? We’ve been banging on about it for yonks!). Is this to limit embarrassment for when they U-turn? More on the listening exercise later.
Councillor Madeleine Kirk, a Liberal Democrat and a hospital governor, proposed this motion which was passed last week:
“Council notes the concerns raised by local residents and health professionals in regard to the Government’s proposed reforms to the NHS contained in the Health and Social Care Bill and the petition collected by Defend Our NHS York.
Council is especially concerned by the introduction of a market based approach to the NHS and the impact this could have on decisions about local patient care. Council is also concerned that the proposals do little to improve on the current lack of local accountability for health care decisions.
Council supports the suggestions made in the amendments agreed at the recent Liberal Democrat conference, including ensuring elected local councillors have a strong role in making services accountable to local people, and believes these changes should be incorporated into the Bill by the Government.
Council therefore asks the Chief Executive to write to the city’s MPs asking them to support amendments to the Bill in order to address the concerns of residents and safeguard health services for local people.”
*Labour argued that the Lib Dem Conference amendments did not go far enough [they wanted to add something to Cllr. Kirk’s motion about the Gov. not having a mandate as it was not listed in either manifestos and that the Chief Executive should write to all Lib Dem MPs, not just the city’s MPs, asking them to support amendments to the bill.] Their amendment to Cllr. Kirk’s motion was not passed.
Perhaps other groups could ask councillors to propose similar motions?