Reforms will hit NHS integration, Labour MP warns

The Health Bill will turn the NHS into a full scale free market and fragment services, a Labour MP has warned.

Shadow health & social care minister Emily Thornberry (Lab, Islington South and Finsbury) told a BMA conference in London that the plans would fragment local services, creating health inequalities and a ‘postcode lottery’ for healthcare.

Speaking at the BMA conference of staff grade and associate specialist doctors, the MP urged the DoH to delete part three of the Health Bill, which focuses on competition, the role of Monitor and the any willing provider policy.

Ms Thornberry stressed the need to integrate health and social care but argued that this should not be a priority at a time of budget cuts and major upheaval. 

‘On the one hand you are cutting local authorities to the bone and on the other hand you are turning the NHS upside down by the ankles and shaking it hard and then you say "integrate",’ she said.

‘The government doesn’t need to pause, it needs to stop,’ Ms Thornberry added.

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