I share your concerns about this Private Member’s Bill. The NHS embodies our values as a nation. Universal healthcare, free at the point of use, is a founding principle of the NHS, and neither I nor the Government wish to see this changed. That is why I will oppose any attempt to undermine this crucial principle and will not vote for this bill.
The use of private providers to deliver NHS services has always been limited but effective. Only 7.7 per cent of NHS spending goes towards private providers and the voluntary sector. The modest use of private providers has helped improve patient choice, expand patient access to hospitals, and accelerate the delivery of care.
None of this changes the fact that the NHS will continue to be funded out of general taxation. NHS spending will actually increase by at least £8 billion in real terms by the end of this Parliament, and I hope you are encouraged by the Prime Minister’s recent announcement that the Government will look to implement a long-term funding plan for the NHS in the future.