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Lynne's letter about the NHS

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To all in Central Devon

Labour is committed to bringing forward a bill to repeal the Tories' damaging changes to the NHS.  I back Labour's commitment and will vote to make it a reality if I am elected at the General Election.

Labour has consistently opposed the Conservatives' top-down reorganisation of the NHS. Ed Miliband has said that one of the first acts of a Labour Government elected in 2015 will be to repeal David Cameron's Health and Social Care Act 2012, putting the right values back at the heart of the NHS. This will be in Labour’s first Queen’s Speech.

Labour's repeal plan will ensure that the Secretary of State has a duty to provide a comprehensive national service which is free at the point of need, that private patients are not put before NHS patients, and that the conflicts of interest the Act has created are tackled. We will also ensure that the Secretary of State is able to give directions to the NHS.

Labour will break down barriers that prevent or deter co-operation. We will take competition law out of the NHS by ending the monitor's role as an economic competition regulator and by scrapping the Section 75 regulations that force services to be put out to tender. We will stop the drive towards privatisation and where private companies are involved in providing clinical services we will cap their profits to ensure resources are spent on patient care.

Following the huge disruption caused by David Cameron's NHS reorganisation – something he promised would not happen – we will not make the same mistake, so we will work to improve services through the organisations we inherit. There will be no more top-down reorganisation – something that people working in the NHS have told us the health service could not withstand. But we want to protect and strengthen the NHS and make it fit for the challenges of the 21st Century.

That means bringing together the different parts of the service and helping them work together, built around patients, not around bureaucratic silos. We will integrate health and social care services into a system of “whole-person care”, bringing together three separate, fragmented services into a single service coordinating all of a person’s needs – physical, mental and social – with preventing illness and promoting good health at its heart.

 Labour has made a number of other commitments on the NHS which I hope you can also support. We've pledged an extra £2.5 billion over and above Tory plans to pay for 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 GPs, paid for with a mansion tax on properties over £2 million, by tackling tax avoidance and with a new levy on tobacco firms. We've promised to guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours for those who want it, and on the same day for those who need it. And we’ll guarantee a maximum one-week wait for cancer tests and results.

I hope you agree this is right for our treasured NHS, and I hope you will be able to support me at the General Election.

I would be interested in your views; please leave comments below.

Yours sincerely,

Lynne Richards

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