Save the NHS – Response from Judith Bunting

Having been copied in on many, many emails from people about the recent NHS vote, I thought I would make my reply available to everyone who is interested and/or worried.
If you are one of those people who contacted me, thank you. In making this letter public, I am, of course, admitting that I sent out a standard response. Not ideal, but it is the only way to manage mail in such numbers. Indeed my email box actually was taken off line, on the assumption I had been hacked, when I tried to send so many similar emails, one by one.
Mostly, the emails I received reassured me, it’s great that so many people in West Berks care so strongly about the NHS. The NHS is the pride of Britain and needs to be supported, protected and cherished. I have been glad, in the past, to pass on constituent’s worries to both Catherine Bearder and Vince Cable and am glad to report that they are adamant that TTIP does not open the doors to privatisation. Vince Cable even went so far as to say that if he sees anything like that creeping into negotiations, he will always vote against, oppose it all the way.
After reading, if you would like to be added to my newsletter list or just to tell me what you think on the matter, do drop me a line at judith.bunting@wbld.org.uk.
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Re: National Health Service (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill
Thank you for copying me in on your email to our MP.
I am glad to reassure you that I am fully committed to maintaining the principles of the NHS and ensuring that it always remains free at the point of use and is based on need. 
The Liberal Democrats always been clear that, while in some cases we see a role for competition and the private sector inside the NHS, just as previous Governments have, we strongly believe that the NHS should always remain free and be based on need, not ability to pay. It is these principles that I am hugely proud of – principles that form a very important part of the fairer society that the Liberal Democrats are seeking to build. We will always resist any attempts by other parties to privatise the NHS.
I understand why Clive Efford is bringing his Bill to the Commons, tomorrow, but it is important to recognise that it was the previous Labour Government that introduced competition to the NHS – and set out the original guidance for competition.
The Health and Social Care Act did not introduce competition to the NHS, it did not even change the rules on when to have competitive tendering. What it did do is to introduce a way of managing the competition that had already been introduced and accepted. During the passage of the Act, the Lib Dems also worked hugely hard to make changes that ensure Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are not automatically expected to competitively tender services unless they feel it is in the interests of patients. Patients should always come ahead of competition. There is more to life than profit.
Re TTIP, this is worrying. On the one hand, TTIP takes away bureaucracy and could be worth an extra £10 billion to the UK economy each year. Allowing a market into the supply of equipment and the delivery of medical services by private undertakings is not new as most of the supplies are already provided by private companies, other than clinical services – after all, who makes our drugs, who manufactures medical instruments? What must remain is that the NHS is free at the point of delivery.  Other countries in the EU also have their own medical services to protect, and I can assure you that no members aim to copy the US system of health care, and therefore will not agree to this type of health service by the back door. Like you, I will be watching.
If I am elected to Westminster, I will work every step of the way to ensure that the NHS is always be protected as well as improved. With this in mind, I am particularly pleased that Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb is calling for the Government to make the NHS a priority this year, not just at the next election, by announcing a £1.5bn investment in the upcoming Autumn Statement. On top of this, if in Government again, the Liberal Democrats will be providing an extra £1 billion of real term funding for the NHS in the years 2016/17 and 2017/18.
Once again, thank you for getting in touch. I will add your email, if I may, to my newsletter list so that you can stay up to date with my activities and campaign around Newbury and West Berks. If you prefer not to receive those emails you can unsubscribe, by the usual means, or just let me know. 
Yours,
Judith
Judith Bunting
07914 835 073
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, 
Newbury and West Berkshire Liberal Democrats
 
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Published and promoted by and on behalf of Newbury Liberal Democrats, Ringway House, Kelvin Road, Newbury, RG14 2DB. 

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