The full text of the press release is copied below.
Do you know what the position of your candidates on the NHS Reinstatement Bill?
FM – SNP MPs to vote to restore England’s NHS
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is today reaffirming the SNP’s commitment to voting to restore the NHS in England – on the day that prominent health expert Allyson Pollock backed the SNP’s position.
Campaigning in Central Ayrshire with SNP candidate Philippa Whitford – an NHS consultant breast surgeon – the First Minister will set out how SNP MPs will back a Bill to restore the NHS – ensuring the health service south of the border remains in public hands and protecting Scotland’s health budget in the process.
Backing the SNP’s position, Allyson Pollock – Professor of Public Health Research and Policy at Queen Mary University of London said:
“The NHS in England has been effectively abolished by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and health services are being broken up and put out to tender in the open market. NHS money is now flowing through commercial contracting bodies, known as Clinical Commissioning Groups, to commercial for profit providers which can pick and choose the services and patients they want to treat. Those NHS hospitals which are foundation trusts have been established as 51% public which means that increasingly half the beds, staff and services can be diverted to private patients i.e. those that can afford to pay. As the NHS withers away and hospitals and beds close people will find it increasingly difficult to get care, patients are already being turned away from some hospitals and services.
“With cross party support, the SNP has backed a Bill to reinstate the NHS south of the border – and this is a hugely significant step demonstrating the impact SNP MPs could have in the next Parliament. Without taking such action, the NHS in England will cease to exist – with catastrophic consequences for people in England and serious implications for the people of Scotland and its NHS. It is important that people consider this before casting their vote in the General Election. The NHS is such a vital service and we need to do everything in our power to reinstate and restore it in England while we still can.”
Welcoming the endorsement, Ms Sturgeon said:
“The NHS is our most precious national resource – yet the current Westminster agenda of austerity, privatisation and patient charging in the NHS is threatening the very foundations of the health service south of the border and is putting funding for the NHS in Scotland at risk.
“That’s why the SNP has been clear that our MPs will vote for a Bill to restore England’s NHS to its founding principles, ensuring it remains the accountable public service it was always meant to be – and protecting Scotland’s health budget in the process. And I’m delighted that our position has been endorsed by someone of the standing of Professor Allyson Pollock today.
“Restoring the NHS in England is just one example of the way SNP MPs can be a strong voice at Westminster for progressive politics which will benefit people in the rest of the UK as much as people in Scotland – compared to a Westminster establishment which has its priorities all wrong.
“A publicly owned, properly funded health service is the hallmark of a decent society – and I will be immensely proud for the SNP to take action in the next Parliament to put an end to Westminster’s privatisation and cuts agenda ensure people across these islands have the top quality healthcare they deserve.”
SNP candidate for Central Ayrshire and NHS consultant breast surgeon Philippa Whitford said:
“As an NHS professional, I know that Professor Pollock is held in the highest esteem by people across the health service – and I am absolutely delighted that she has endorsed the SNP’s plan to restore England’s NHS today.
“Westminster’s cuts and privatisation agenda south of the border is having a devastating impact on England’s NHS – and threatening Scotland’s health budget – and has to be stopped. A strong team of SNP MPs elected next month will stand up for the founding principles of our health service – voting to restore England’s NHS and further protecting and improving Scotland’s NHS budget.”