Updated: Saturday, 22nd February 2020 @ 5:50am

Tameside MP Andrew Gwynne slams Government's health bill

Tameside MP Andrew Gwynne slams Government's health bill

By Kate Banks

A Greater Manchester MP has slammed the coalition’s proposed health bill, and described Labour’s campaign as a final rallying cry to save the NHS.

MP for Tameside, Andrew Gwynne, said Labour’s ‘Drop the Bill’ petition aims to save Tameside NHS from Government attack.

He argues the Health and Social Care Bill will create a two-tier NHS and a postcode lottery, as well as increasing waiting times.

Mr Gwynne said: “The people of Tameside did not vote for it and our doctors, nurses and patients have already expressed huge concerns at the plans.

“Yet Cameron is ploughing on with his Health Bill, ignoring public and professional opinion.”

The Bill proposes to abolish NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) and transfer responsibility for health care funds to new ‘clinical commissioning groups’ (CCGs).

CCGs would partly be run by GPs, giving them control of around 60% of the NHS budget

According to the Department of Health, this would put health care professional at the centre of decision-making, as well as empowering patients.

However, the Drop the Bill camp argue that the Royal College of General Practitioners survey on the Bill showed that almost three quarters of GPs do not support the proposed changes.

 “In Tameside we have already seen waiting-times for those waiting over 18 weeks increase by 92.78% since David Cameron came to power,” said Mr Gwynne.

“Yet his plans encourage local hospitals to treat more private patients while NHS patients are left waiting longer.”

This perceived privatisation of the NHS is one of Drop the Bill’s five key arguments against the Bill, which was introduced to Parliament on July 19 2011.

Andrew Lansley, Secretary of State for Health, said: “We recognise that this speed of progress has brought with it some substantive concerns.

“Some of those concerns are misplaced or based on misrepresentations but we recognise that some are genuine.”

Mr Lansley announced in April that there would be a ‘pause’ to allow for further consultation and after a series of changes, the Bill was reintroduced to Parliament in July.

The House of Lords rejected a proposal to send the Bill for further scrutiny last month and are in the latter stages of examination.

Visit www.dropthebill.com for more information or click here for details of the survey.