Liberal Left has sent the following letter to Nick Clegg, arguing that the government should dump the Health & Social Care Bill, and highlighting a positive way forward.
Today’s news that even Conservative Home has come out against the Health and Social Care Bill should give our party serious pause for thought. This was always a problematic piece of legislation for Liberal Democrats given that it is at odds with so much of our party’s longstanding approach to health. However, it is also risks breaching public trust because it is entirely at odds with the Coalition Agreement promise of “no top down reorganisation”. The resulting bitterness in the party, amongst professionals and most importantly, in the country, should now lead the government to cut their losses – show a little leadership and admit they got it wrong.
This is an important opportunity for the Lib Dems for once to demonstrate our values – to show the nation what truly differentiates us from the Tories and maybe actually gain some credit for honestly making a difference.
We believe that local democracy is the key to ensuring accountability of the NHS and the best way to ensure that the NHS meets community priorities, rather than more competition, and that where long-term structural reform is necessary it should focus on this aspect of our last manifesto:
Empowering local communities to improve health services through elected Local Health Boards, which will take over the role of Primary Care Trust boards in commissioning care for local people, workingin co-operation with local councils. Over time, Local Health Boards should be able to take on greater responsibility for revenue and resources to allow local people to fund local services which need extra money.
We urge you to take the lead on this and dump this unpopular and potentially unworkable piece of legislation.