Friday 10 June 2011

ACT NOW ON NHS - 38 Degrees

Things are moving fast. The press are reporting that David Cameron and Nick Clegg are trying to finalise changes to their NHS plans - at least two weeks earlier than expected. [1] The next few days are critical - we need to move quickly to influence their decisions.

It looks like Clegg and Cameron may try to push ahead with at least two of the more worrying parts of Andrew Lansley's original plans. They're still toying with imposing more competition from private health companies. And they're still looking to scrap their legal duty to provide the same level of healthcare to everyone wherever they live.

Together, we can persuade them to drop these dangerous bits of the plans. MPs don't get a lot of phone calls from their voters. If thousands of us call them today, it will send shockwaves through parliament as MPs, Clegg and Cameron realise how determined we are to protect our NHS!

Can you phone your MP today? It's quick and easy. Find their name, number, and tips for what to say, here:

Yesterday, in the 38 Degrees office, team members Johnny and Becky contacted key allies and experts at health organisations, charities and in Parliament to try find out what's going on behind the scenes. [2] It's a bit murky. But reliable sources are saying that, right now, Clegg and Cameron are plotting out which parts of Lansley's plans they need to drop to win public support.

Everyone seems to expect that whatever decision is reached will be a lot better than Lansley's original plans - thanks, in no small part, to the efforts of 38 Degrees members! But they're telling us that we need to pile on more pressure in two key areas:

- Competition in the NHS - an argument is still raging: will the future of the NHS be about health professionals working together to ensure patients get the best possible treatment? Or will Andrew Lansley get his way and shift the NHS towards a US-style system, with a growing role for competition, private companies, and "market forces"? [3]

- The government’s duty to provide a "comprehensive health service" - the government still wants to water down their legal duty to provide a decent health service to everyone, regardless of where they live. This legal duty has been enshrined in law ever since the NHS was created in 1948! Scrapping it would pave the way for a more patchy service, and mean in the future we could all face more problems with "postcode lotteries". [4]

There's still time to push these decisions in the right direction. But we need to move fast. Can you call your MP right now?

Together we can make sure that as senior politicians sit down round the negotiating table, they're hearing reports of record numbers of voters on the phone calling on them to stand up for the NHS. That could just tip key decisions the right way.

The very fact that Clegg and Cameron are having to negotiate which parts of Lansley's plans they have to drop proves that, by working together, we can play a key role in protecting our NHS. [5 ]Sky News reported in April that the government had started backtracking on the NHS as "the result of a lobbying campaign by a pressure group called 38 Degrees". [6] That's us!

Whatever deal is announced next week, it's unlikely to be the end of our campaign. Any changes to the NHS will still need to pass through Parliament to become law, which means we will have fresh chances to improve them. But decisions made in the next few days definitely matter - so let's take our chance to stand up for the NHS.

Please give your MP a ring. Find their name and number, and some tips for what to say to them, here:

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