Yvonne Fovargue. now a Labour whip. can’t vote on Early Day motions! #NHS

I emailed a question (via theyworkforyou.com) to Yvonne Fovargue, on Early day motion 773.

I usually post her other replies, so I’ll post this, which gave a positive response.

I’ve now learned that frontbencher’s can’t vote on early day motions i.e. they can not speak for their constituents in certain instances.

I find this surprising and suggest that it’s time to re-examine Parliamentary procedures (unless it’s to be abolished by the EU). I can think of no reason, apart from an “us and them” attitude amongst peers.

Thank you for contacting me recently concerning the Government’s Health and Social Care Act and the related Early Day Motion 773.

I share your disappointment that this ill-conceived Act has now completed its passage through Parliament and will become law. Many local people, health professionals, staff and patients have also expressed their concern about the Government’s re-organisation of the NHS in recent months and I agree that this Act is unnecessary and that it risks breaking-up the NHS as a national public service. That is why I voted against the Health and Social Care Act and why would like to see it repealed as soon as possible.

I am particularly concerned that the Government’s plans will set up the NHS as a full-scale market, that competition could be put before patient care, that it could weaken national standards, increase health inequalities and lead to a `postcode lottery’ emerging with widespread variation in local NHS treatments.

I also fear that the Government’s reforms could lead to longer waiting times by watering down NHS guarantees and allowing hospitals to treat more private patients. Indeed, as the Government’s own impact assessment states, there is a risk that private patients may be prioritised above NHS patients, resulting in a growth in waiting times for NHS patients’. One of our most cherished public services could therefore be broken up and made more bureaucratic and less accountable to the patients who rely on it.

For a re-organisation of this sort to be successful, there needs to be a professional and public consensus in favour of these reforms. However, it is abundantly clear that the Government did not achieve this and the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives, the British Medical Association, Unison and a range of health professionals and staff all opposed the Bill. It is also unacceptable that the Government failed to comply with the ruling by the independent Information Commissioner to release the transition risk register, which shows the Department of Health’s assessment of the likely impact of these reforms.

I therefore voted against the Bill throughout its passage through Parliament and supported Opposition amendments that would have included important protections against the expansion of the private sector in the NHS and to prevent competition compromising patient care.

I also voted to press the Government to release the transition risk register in time for it to inform Parliamentary debate.

Unfortunately the Government failed to listen to these widespread concerns and the Act has now received Royal Assent.      

Although, as a member of the Shadow Front Bench Team, I am unable to sign Early Day Motions, I can assure you that I will continue to urge the Government to mitigate the worst effects of this legislation and that I will support efforts to repeal the Health and Social Care Act as soon as possible.

 

Thank you once again for writing to me on this important issue.

Yours sincerely,       Yvonne Fovargue,           Labour Member for Makerfield

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