Socialist Worker

NHS bill ‘could be the next poll tax’

Dave Sewell looks at the Tories’ fears as their health ‘reforms’ unravel

Issue No. 2290

Protesters call for the health service to be saved from the Tories’ attacks  (Pic: Smallman )

Protesters call for the health service to be saved from the Tories’ attacks (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Anger at the NHS privatisation bill could be fatal for David Cameron’s government—according to Tory cabinet ministers.

Tim Montgomery, the editor of influential Tory blog ConservativeHome, wrote that health secretary Andrew Lansley’s bill “could cost the Conservative Party the next election”.

He said three Tory cabinet ministers had encouraged him.

“One was insistent the Bill must be dropped,” he said. “Another said Andrew Lansley must be replaced. Another likened the NHS reforms to the poll tax.”

And Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes wants Lansley to resign.


This comes as the government’s own risk assessment report shows that many NHS facilities will not be able to survive the impact of changes in the bill.

Lansley has so far refused to publish it. But parts of the report dealing with the NHS in London have been leaked.

It warns that the new commissioning groups, which are due to take over from primary care trusts in April 2013, “may not be able” to commission services from within their budgets.

That would mean “poor” healthcare, it adds.

And it says the disruption caused by the bill could drive health workers out of the profession, leading to “dilution of expertise”. It could mean harm to children and unsafe maternity services.

Even without the bill, NHS London expects that only two out of its 18 hospital trusts will be “financially viable” in three years time, thanks to £20 billion in government cuts.

But the bill would make things far worse by splitting the NHS into small, competing units.

That’s why opposition to the Health and Social Care bill continues to grow. The Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association is the latest organisation to come out against it.

Let’s show the Tories they are right to be afraid—we won’t let them loot our NHS.

Save our NHS, Wednesday 7 March. Lobby 1pm, rally 6pm, Westminster Central Hall, London SW1H 9NH

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