Dear Simon Hughes

Dear Simon,

I’m writing to you to ask you to vote against the Health and Social Care Bill when it returns to the Commons after the Lords’ report stage.

Despite protestations otherwise an analysis that appeared in the BMJ this week vividly illustrates that this bill is designed to introduce charging for health care that is currently free. Local commissioning groups that replace existing PCTs have no requirement to take patients from a geographical area and can cherry-pick patients to exclude those who will cost too much to have on the books. For patients with a lifelong chronic illness such as myself this will result in the inability to obtain care, in a similar way as I would find it impossible to obtain private health cover now.

Those commissioning groups that do take on “expensive” patients are hence being set up to fail, opening the way to private healthcare providers and a creeping influx of for-profit private services that try to take an off-the-shelf model and apply it equally without regard to the needs of a varied local populace. Competition does not always provide for a better service and at a time when the NHS should be concentrating on making efficiency savings the last thing it needs is to face a massive change such as this.

Virtually no healthcare professionals, their standards bodies, unions or the electorate at large want to see the changes proposed by this bill. I’ve lived in SE16 as one of your constituents for several years and I’ve voted for the liberal democrats in every election (local council, European and National) since I was able to vote. I’m afraid that if you vote for this bill I will be unable to give the liberal democrats my support in the future.