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We in the cross-party Vote Leave Campaign, however, share a common democratic commitment. We will restore legal powers and democratic control of the NHS to voters in the UK. If we vote Leave – we will be able to protect our NHS from EU interference.

Lord Owen speaking at the launch of the Vote Leave ‘Save Our NHS’ campaign, Wednesday 6 April 2016

Excerpts: The EU/Eurozone from 1992, in marked contrast to the old European Community of 1975, creeps into every nook and cranny of our life. It is now becoming entrenched in the NHS and this June we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get it out.

We in the cross-party Vote Leave Campaign, however, share a common democratic commitment. We will restore legal powers and democratic control of the NHS to voters in the UK. If we vote Leave – we will be able to protect our NHS from EU interference.

In 2006 the Labour government commissioned a legal opinion on the effect of EU legislation on the NHS. The Health Department’s then commercial director, Ken Anderson, who had been involved with independent surgical treatment centres (ISTCs), told the Financial Times in January 2007: ‘My personal conviction is that once you open up NHS services to competition, the ability to shut that down or call it back passes out of your hands. At some point European law will take over and prevail … In my opinion, we are at that stage now.’

As if recognising the truth of this interpretation on 13 December 2007, with not much publicity, the Department of Health issued a document titled Principles and Rules for Cooperation and Competition, running through which are EU legal positions which have become the law that operates in the UK.

The advisory Co-operation and Competition Panel was reported in the Financial Times to have been applying its interpretation of the law since 2009 – by advising on NHS mergers and handling complaints about anti-competitive practices by hospitals and primary care trusts[1]. In truth, since 2002 the Labour government, the Coalition government and now the Conservative government have accepted an EU market in health.

… We are agreed in Vote Leave, that whatever our political views on the present marketization of the NHS, decisions on the NHS should for the future be for the UK Parliament and devolved administrations to take. It should not be for the European Commission nor the European Parliament.

[1] Financial Times, 27 and 29 July 2011.

Read the full text here: VoteLeaveNHSLaunch – Lord Owen[1]

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Lord Owen comments on the the NHS Foundation Trust deficit story

“At what stage will the stand alone Foundation Hospital advocates – who have dominated health policy  for 13 years – admit they were wrong? We have to return to comprehensive care provided across each geographical area, as spelt out in the NHS Bill.

“This Bill, now before the House of Commons in the name of Caroline Lucas is supported by Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, other Labour MPs, the SNP, Plaid Cymru and John Pugh, Liberal Democrat MP. That progressive alliance in Parliament must now be supported by all the Royal Colleges and anyone committed to evidence based medicine. The evidence is now before us all: Foundation Hospitals have been a disaster. The Health and Social Care Act must be changed and the NHS Bill is the way to do it.”

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The coming election will decide the future of the NHS, and with it, the United Kingdom.

The end of the NHS as we have known and understood it in England will take place before 2020 if whichever party or parties that win the 2015 general election does not change the 2012 NHS legislation ….around that moment the issue of Scottish independence will be back on the political agenda with a vengeance. The two are linked in more ways than have yet been fully recognised.

The New Statesman (online), 21 April 2015. 

Read the article here: The coming election

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Lord Owen warns of the lessons to be learnt from the Hinchingbrooke Hospital scandal.

Article, published in The Guardian 19 January 2015

Hinchingbrooke has been a heavy defeat for an ideological solution that can work well in manufacturing or retailing, but runs into problems in healthcare.

Advocates of a market-led, partly privatised NHS for England have been saying for years that “what matters is what works”, dismissing those who believe in the 1948 NHS concept as ideological, old-fashioned or plain wrong.

Now that their flagship, Hinchingbrooke hospital, the only privately run NHS hospital in the country, is losing its private contractor, Circle, one might have expected the zealots to acknowledge the flawed nature of their policy? Not a bit of it. The arch priest of markets everywhere, the Economist, merely records that it “is just one of dozens in financial trouble”.

To read the full article please click here: Hinchingbrooke.

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Launch of the Campaign for the NHS Reinstatement Bill 2015

SATURDAY, 4TH OCTOBER 2014. A campaign is being launched today to reverse the failings of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and fully restore the National Health Service (NHS) in England as an accountable public service. It is encouraging voters to ask candidates in the general election to support including a Bill that would do just that in the first Queen’s Speech after the election. The campaign’s website is here: www.nhsbill2015.org

 

To read the full press release please click here

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House of Lords Debate on the Care Bill

Lord Owen puts forward an amendment to seek statutory underpinning of the Oversight Panel in relation to the use of confidential information in health and adult social care.

To read the full amendment please click here

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Debate on The Future of NHS Funding

Debate in The House of Lords, Thursday 11 July, 2013

Lord Owen: My Lords, following on from what the noble Lord, Lord Desai, said, one of the strengths of what was initially introduced as an internal market was that it would be able to show people the costs of healthcare in a far more systematic way than hitherto. In my view, it is a tragedy that the internal market has been changed into an external market, and we have lost the growing acceptance of people in explaining—particularly doctors and those who make financial decisions in the health service—what it costs…

To read the full debate please click here

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Our NHS Press Release

Lord Owen Condemns  “Conspiracy of Silence” on EU US Trade Deal

Press Release Thursday 16 May 2013

Introducing his NHS Bill (Amended Duties and Powers) Bill Lord Owen calls today for transparency from Prime Minister David Cameron over the secret mandate for the EU-US Trade Negotiations which he hopes to boost at the G8 Summit in five weeks time in Northern Ireland…

To read the full press release including links to notes on the NHS bill please click here

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