28 JUN 2011
National health service
Today I spoke in the debate on the Finance Bill. I questioned why Labour had tried to privatise the NHS when they were in power. I asked former Labour Health Secretary Frank Dobson about this:
- I am puzzled that Labour Members oppose the new clause as creeping privatisation, because when they were in office they privatised large sections of the NHS, with the independent sector treatment centre programme. I do not see how those two views sit together.
- The right hon. Gentleman is being extraordinarily generous in taking interventions, and he has a long-held principled position on the national health service. On the private sector creaming off, as he would say, the easy cases, does he agree that, first, he would not have acceded to the independent sector treatment centres programme and, secondly, that it was wrong for the private sector in that case to charge for operations which were not carried out?
- I respectfully put it to the right hon. Gentleman that our priority is not to bung £200 million at people, as he describes it, but to see real increases in NHS spending as against the cuts that were in the last Budget of the Government whom he long supported.
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