Pledge to the NHS, Ed

Dear Ed Miliband,

I am writing to make a request. Publicly pledge to repeal the Health and Social Care Bill when you get into government.

The past few days, weeks and months have seen the Health and Social Care Bill go through both Houses, without MPs or Lords being shown the Risk Register despite the court ruling. As you are aware, this Bill was passed against the recommendations of the great majority of the governing bodies and unions of health professions, despite the largest public petition since the introduction of the epetition system and without any political mandate. My immediate, guttural response was written up yesterday – apologies for the swearing.

I understand, of course, that you cannot use the sort of language I have done in previous posts. But you are in a position to do something that no-one else is. As a potential Prime Minister, you can:

  • pledge to undo the move toward the two-tier, insurance based health system that this Bill embodies
  • pledge that public spending decisions are taken by public bodies, with the public interest at heart

The most effective way to do this, both in terms of setting up legislation and institutions, and selling it to the public, would be to repeal the bill in its entirety. This is what you should pledge to do.

Andy Burnham in particular made efforts to prevent the Bill passing and has said that he would repeal the Bill if in government. As Shadow Health Secretary, this is excellent news. However, he needs the support of the party leadership to ensure that this is carried out and to make the message sound credible. Will you lend him this support?

I feel that this would be an excellent political move, as there are a number of once Liberal Democrat voters in particular that want to see the NHS continue as an egalitarian system. Many on the left, centre-left and centre would prefer this to the overly expensive and less effective systems we see elsewhere in the world. There are many arguments in favour of a publicly funded and managed health service – value for money for the public, security in open and immediately accessible quality healthcare, minimal conflicts of interest and basic human decency.

If you pledge to ensure the Bill is repealed, I for one, would campaign for Labour for the first time. As it stands, I am an entirely inactive member, with serious concerns over the previous Labour government record, particularly around civil liberties, willingness to enter foreign conflicts unnecessarily and without proper planning, and light touch financial regulation. However, these reservations would be put aside for the sake of rebuilding arguably the greatest achievement of living memory – the NHS.

Please, publicly state that you will ensure that healthcare will never be two-tiered, run by private for profit organisations. The only way to get this message across succinctly would be a commitment to repealing the Bill.

I will be contacting your colleagues, both sitting MPs and parliamentary candidates, before elections to ask them to commit to the same pledge. I will also keep a public record of any correspondence I receive here, or possibly a dedicated blog, unless specifically requested otherwise. I will keep a running tally of those politicians that openly say they would repeal the bill, those who refuse, and those who do not answer given fair opportunity.

Of course, I do not wish this to be a partisan affair and I will be asking the other parties’ members the same question.

Kind regards,


    • theholyllama
    • March 21st, 2012

    This is a great letter. Do you mind if I steal some of the ideas to write one of my own?

    • Not at all, holy llama, help yourself. I’d be interested in any responses you get.

    • M
    • March 22nd, 2012

    Plagiarised this massively, and have now received a response from my local Labour MP. He is usually good at responding to my emails and we seem to be in agreement on most things, but the ‘clearly no commitments’ is very disappointing:

    Thank you for your email and I certainly share your anger at the passage of this Bill.

    I was there for all the votes, and I can assure you that Andy Burnham was speaking not just for himself but also for the Labour Party, although clearly he nor anybody else can give commitments for the details of our election manifesto in 2015.

    Mark Lazarowicz
    MP for Edinburgh North & Leith

    • Thanks M.

      That’s a shame – it’s great that he got back to you quickly, and he has expressed some of the right sentiment, but clearly stops short of making the commitment I would like.

      Do you mind if I use this over at I have thrown something up to start posting responses and keeping track of peoples positions.

    • M
    • March 22nd, 2012

    Please do. Thanks for putting it together.

  1. March 21st, 2012
    Trackback from : joel182
  2. March 22nd, 2012

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