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Letter To the 'Observer' Newspaper (That They Didn't Print) From the Bishop's Stortford LibDems About NHS Changes

June 30, 2011 5:17 PM

20th June 2011

Dear Sir,

Re :-- Liberal Democrat influence over the NHS 'Reform' Bill,

As Liberal Democrats, we are delighted that the Government has agreed to make significant and major changes to the proposed NHS 'Reform' Bill. This is due in no small measure to pressure exerted by the Liberal Democrats which, in association with concerns expressed by the medical profession, caused the Government to pause and to consult.

Led by Baroness Shirley Williams and Dr. Evan Harris, the Lib-Dem Spring Conference voted overwhelmingly to demand changes, and to ensure that patient welfare should take priority over competition, and that no special favours should be given to private companies - that there should be no "privatisation by the back door".

Following last week's announcements, the Bill is now very much better and it will ensure that decisions are taken in the best interests of patients. The regulator 'Monitor', will have a duty to ensure co-operation and collaboration rather than competition. 'Cherry picking' the easy, most lucrative services will not be allowed. Commissioning Consortia will involve Hospital doctors as well as GPs, and the deadline for bringing in changes will be relaxed.

We are all aware that the NHS needs to adapt to meet the challenges of an ageing population and the rising cost of drugs and new technologies. But, it must always provide universal care for all, based on need, and free at the point of use.

We are pleased that Liberal Democrats, working in the coalition Government, have been able to influence important policy decisions, and we are confident that they will continue to do so in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Mione Goldspink, Mike Wood, Les Pinnell, Bob Taylor, Mike Shaw, Matt Harris, and Martin Adams.