Thank you to all who have supported the campaign to reinstate the NHS through legislation over the last few years.

Thank you to all who have supported the campaign to reinstate the NHS through legislation over the last few years.

On Wednesday 11 July, Eleanor Smith Labour MP for Wolverhampton SW presented her National Health Service Bill in the Commons under the ’10-minute rule’. Campaigners gathered outside Parliament in support of the bill’s public service principles.

The long title (the description) of Eleanor Smith’s bill was in accord with the NHS Reinstatement Bill. The bill’s short title was The National Health Service Bill. The full text will not be known until it is published. In her speech Eleanor Smith said, “The Bill has been created with the Labour Front-Bench leadership team and we will continue to work together on its future development with campaigners, unions, professionals and stakeholders.”

The NHS Reinstatement Bill cannot circumvent Labour’s procedures. Professor Allyson Pollock & Peter Roderick, the Reinstatement Bill’s authors, will not be the authors of this Labour Bill. But they will continue discussions with Eleanor and the Labour party with a view to the party producing a Bill that is as close as possible to the Reinstatement Bill . The Bill Group will be paying close attention to the content of Labour’s bill  – if and when the full text emerges – to ensure it remains true to the principles of a public service NHS.

The Reinstatement Bill itself will not be affected by the Labour Party’s processes. The campaign has always been supported by people who are members of various political parties as well as those who have no party affiliations. NHS Bill Now are especially grateful to Caroline Lucas MP (Green) and Margaret Greenwood MP (Labour) who have previously put the Bill forward in parliament and to the SNP, with special mention to Dr Philippa Whitford MP, who were early supporters.

Many thanks once again from the Bill Group Team. We hope that you will continue to support our campaign for the reinstatement of the NHS as a wholly public service based on Bevan’s principles, not commercial ones.

Eleanor Smith will table a 10-Minute Rule Bill for the NHS

Statement from the NHS Bill Now Campaign

We are pleased to hear that Eleanor Smith MP will now be tabling a 10-Minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons on 11 July 2018 to reinstate the NHS in England.

We understand that the Bill will be a Labour Party Bill based on the NHS Reinstatement Bill and We Own It’s #NHSTakeBack pledges.

Next week we will be publishing the version of the proposed Reinstatement Bill that we have provided to Eleanor Smith once we have completed the explanatory notes.

Labour commits to legislation to reinstate the NHS

Campaigners are set to play a leading role in shaping Labour legislation to reverse the 2012 Health and Social Care Act and end the fragmentation and privatisation of the NHS.

That was the positive outcome of a constructive meeting called in Westminster by Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary Jonathan Ashworth MP earlier today (June 27).

The meeting brought together representatives and advisors from the shadow health team and Labour Leader’s office and health policy advisors, along with Eleanor Smith MP who had planned to move the NHS Reinstatement Bill as a 10 minute Bill on July 11, Allyson Pollock and Peter Roderick – the authors of the Bill, the Socialist Health Association, Health Campaigns Together, and Keep Our NHS Public.

It was called as an urgent response to the decision last week by the Labour whips’ office not to support Eleanor Smith’s Bill for parliamentary procedural reasons, and to address the subsequent criticism and fears expressed by campaigners in social media that this decision represented a retreat by the Labour leadership from a full commitment to end privatisation in the NHS, reverse the 2012 Act and reinstate the NHS.

Jonathan Ashworth underlined his support for the underlying principles of the NHS Reinstatement Bill, and also stressed the Parliamentary Labour Party’s record of implementing the various commitments for campaigning as set out in last year’s Labour Conference Composite motion 8. He explained that his intention in calling the meeting had been to find ways in which legislation, which all can support, could be developed through a process of collaboration and consultation.

Campaigners were repeatedly assured that Labour’s leadership is committed to proposing its own Bill in the first Queen’s Speech of a Labour government that would embody the principles of the NHS Reinstatement Bill. The explanation of the decision to pull support from Eleanor Smith’s Bill was that the level of detail that it included is too great for tabling at this stage as a 10 minute Bill, with some of it potentially controversial within the Party. In particular significant debates need to be had on how Labour wishes to address the crisis of the heavily privatised social care system currently run through local government, and whether the NHS or local government should take charge of public health.

It was agreed that while this work needed to be done, in the short term, as Eleanor Smith and others argued strongly, a declaration of intent and principle is needed from Labour in this 70th anniversary year of the NHS.

With this in mind the meeting agreed:

  • Jonathan Ashworth and Eleanor Smith would publicly sign up to show their support for the ‘NHS Takeback’ pledges, based on the Reinstatement Bill, that is promoted by the We Own It campaign
  • Labour will seek the earliest opportunity – if possible before the summer recess – to table a shorter version of the Reinstatement Bill as a 10 minute Bill, to be moved by Eleanor Smith. This would echo the Takeback pledges and the NHS Reinstatement Bill as previously tabled.
  • Further detailed meetings will take place beginning immediately – between the Leader’s office, the shadow health team and the drafters of the Reinstatement Bill, but also on a wider level to draw in and engage with campaigners, trade unions and other significant stakeholders – to draw up more detailed Labour legislation based on the Reinstatement Bill. Meetings will also take place with other committees as appropriate with the aim of developing an agreed draft Bill by the end of 2018 suitable for inclusion in a Queen’s Speech.
  • Campaigners will continue to work with and advise Jon Ashworth and the shadow health team in responding to any NHS England proposals for new legislation or amendments to the Health & Social Care Act that might be tabled by the current government. Joint efforts to expose and challenge privatisation and encourage those such as the Wigan strikers who are actively fighting it will continue.

The unique and historic nature of this meeting and these agreed proposals was stressed by Jonathan Ashworth and recognised by the meeting. This unprecedented level of collaboration is a result of years of hard work on the ground by campaigners.

The result will be a stronger and broader campaign in Parliament and across the country for legislation that will restore and improve the NHS as a publicly owned, publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable service.

Statement from Eleanor Smith MP on the withdrawal of the Bill reading

Statement from Eleanor Smith, Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West:

“Following the withdrawal of the NHS Bill on Wednesday I have now received clarification from the Health Policy team as to where the resistance to the Bill came from.

In view of this I want to reassure supporters of the Bill that the main thrust of its content will be maintained; we are going to try and work through and resolve the issues; meetings are being arranged for next week- and I expect to be invited to take part in them.

I know that passions are running high, and no-one is more disappointed than I am but please can I ask supporters to keep their passion but also remain patient.

The fact is, in the 70th anniversary year of the NHS, we desperately need a Bill that we can all support and rally behind. We must preserve the NHS before it is completely destroyed by this Tory government.”

Campaign update for the NHS Bill 11 July reading

The best birthday present the NHS could have had this year is the NHS Bill, written by Professor Allyson Pollock and Peter Roderick, to restore it to a full public service, after 30 years of incremental steps to privatisation.

The NHS Reinstatement Bill Group were expecting Eleanor Smith, MP for Wolverhampton South West to table the Bill in the House of Commons on 11th July 2018. Eleanor Smith, an NHS nurse for 40 years before she became an MP in 2017, is passionate about this issue.

Yesterday morning she informed us that this will not now happen. We understand that this was the result of the shadow health team vetoing it.

Chair of the Group and co-author of the Bill, Professor Allyson Pollock said:

“We are deeply disappointed and somewhat shocked that the shadow health team is not backing the bill. It was voted for unanimously as policy by Labour Conference in 2017 and has been supported for a number of years by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. The Health Select Committee has suggested that primary legislation is needed for the NHS, so surely this is the moment for Labour to be championing a public service bill. Otherwise we are at risk of government legislation bringing in the US-style organisational structure of Integrated Care, which NHS campaigners are vigorously opposing.”