The solitary Green MP in the House of Commons, Caroline Lucas, has argued strongly in favour of the NHS in Parliament.
Indeed, Lucas has recently proffered the NHS Reinstatement Bill to parliamentary members.
In announcing the bill, Lucas pointed out that in Brighton & Hove the future of five GPs surgeries has been thrown into doubt as the private firm running them announced it was to terminate its contract.
Lucas paints a picture of health workers striving to save the NHS that is loved by people all over the country from what she believes is mistreatment by the existing government.
“From the junior doctors forced to go on strike to defend safe and fair practices to the nurses demanding decent financial support for their studies, a new wave of protest has erupted. Added to this rightful discontent among staff is the fact that patients are suffering as our hospitals are being hit by crisis after crisis. Just days ago the local hospital in Brighton was placed on ‘black alert’ meaning that it was unable to cope with demand, and patients were diverted elsewhere,” Lucas observes.
The fight over the NHS has become increasingly defined by a demarcation between the two major parties.
David Cameron’s Conservative party has attempted to characterise itself as significantly supporting the health service, while Jeremy Corbyn’s left-cleaning Labour Party has been extremely critical of Tory policy.
Yet members of the less prominent parties in the House of Commons have generally supported the position of the Labour Party, with many MPs sceptical about the Conservative approach and ethos to the health service.
Luke is particularly points to the increasing privatisation of services in the NHS.
“If you zoom out to look at the big picture you’ll find that our NHS is changing rapidly. Many services have been handed to private companies such as Virgin, Serco and US giant United Health, hiding behind the NHS logo. In the last five years there has been a 50 per cent increase in the amount spent by local health bodies on non-NHS providers. An army of staff is now employed to manage these contracts – while the core functions of the health service are chronically underfunded,” Lucas commented.
It is hoped by the Green MP that the NHS Reinstatement Bill can play a significant role in reversing the existing trends in the health service, which Lucas characterises as being the creeping marketisation of the NHS.
Her rallying cry for the future of the is that public should be placed right back at the heart of the health service, meaning a publicly paid for and provided NHS.