— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) March 11, 2016
UPDATE – The bill fell because not enough Labour MPs – only 15 of their 230 – turned up to debate it. I’m incredibly disappointed by this. You can see Caroline explain why above
I am delighted both that the NHS in Scotland is in much better shape than in England and that the determination to defend Scotland’s NHS remains as strong as ever. But the threat to Scotland’s NHS from the Tory destruction of the NHS in England remains. The NHS in England is in such a perilous state that the World Health Organisation says it has, in fact, been abolished.
That is why I am even more delighted that Green MP Caroline Lucas has a bill to reinstate the NHS in England. This Bill has its first reading today, and I very much hope the MPs Scotland elected last year – in no small part to save the NHS – will be there to vote for England to get back its NHS.
SNP Health Spokesperson Philippa Whitford has been a vocal and effective critic of the Tory attack on the NHS, and I hope that the SNP will help to provide the 100 MPs who are needed to ensure the Bill passes to its second stage. Her astute analysis is that changes to the NHS in England make the NHS in Scotland much more vulnerable – and that is made worse by international trade treaties, like the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership that seek to impose free market economics on our public services. A key part of any approach to secure our health service in Scotland is to end the destruction of health services in the rest of the UK.
Of course, the structural changes to the NHS have paved the way for an attack on Junior Doctors. Again, this is something that hasn’t happened in Scotland. But it is a real issue for many voters in Scotland. And rightly so, medicine has always been a global mission, with professionals moving from country to country. I am absolutely committed to ensuring that Greens do what we can to protect Scottish Junior Doctors from these changes. Greens will protect Junior Doctors both by opposing any moves in Scotland, and by opposing the changes in England.
The NHS is a crowning achievement of the welfare state we created in the wake of the two world wars. That state is hated by the Westminster government, which is seeking to destroy it. I am totally committed to opposing that destruction. I will stand with Junior Doctors, with patients and with other health workers to oppose that destruction. And Caroline’s Bill to reinstate the NHS in England is a great way to ensure we protect free, universal health care for all as a central part of that welfare state.