NHS (Private Sector)

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 7:17 pm on 16th January 2012.

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Photo of Andy Burnham Andy Burnham Shadow Secretary of State for Health 7:17 pm, 16th January 2012

I do not know whether those questions were for me or for you, Mr Deputy Speaker, but let us assume that they were for me.

I introduced the NHS constitution, which enshrined for the first time the basic rights of NHS patients. I am proud to have done so, so I do not need any lectures from the hon. Gentleman about what we should do to improve health care in this country. I said in the motion that I am prepared to go back to my policy before the election in which we said that we would consider loosening the private patient cap. That is the policy that I have introduced to the House tonight. I am not prepared, however, to stand here to accept the wholesale abolition of that control to create a situation in which NHS hospitals can devote half their beds to private patients. If he is happy with that in his constituency, let him make the argument for it, but I am making an argument for a very different NHS from the one envisaged by Ministers.