Owen Smith’s vision for the NHS is the same as the Conservative Party’s

160721 Owen Smith says and does#

… Or so it seems to This Writer.

“I believe in a 100 per cent publicly-owned NHS, free at the point of use,” he has said – which is exactly the same language used by Andrew Lansley, Jeremy Hunt and David Cameron – and likely to be used by Theresa May as soon as she gets the chance.

That hasn’t stopped private companies from picking up billions of pounds worth of NHS contracts after the Tories opened it up to competitive tendering.

His comment is entirely consistent with the comment he made in a press release for Pfizer in 2005, that “choice is a good thing and that patients and healthcare professionals should be at the heart of developing the agenda”.

While he says he would prevent greater private-sector involvement in the NHS, he says nothing about rolling it back, which is what the majority of Labour Party members want.

And private-sector involvement in the NHS is already well advanced.

160721 This is Owen Smith

So it seems Mr Smith is in favour of privatisation in the health service, in exactly the same way as the Conservatives, despite the fact that he has said concentration on a 2005 Pfizer press release saying as much, by The Times, was a “hatchet job”.

He continued: “It is a gross exaggeration and extrapolation of one comment in a press release about a report commissioned by Pfizer before I worked there, at a period in which the last Labour government was using the word choice to describe getting private providers to do hip and knee and cataract operations.”

But the date the report was commissioned is not important. Mr Smith was the representative quoted in the press release. Those were his words.

Here’s another thing: Pfizer donated more than £40,500 to Labour’s right-wing pressure group Progress between 2003 and 2005. And Mr Smith still wants us to think he belongs to Labour’s left?

And it is irrelevant that the Labour Party was using the word “choice” at the time. He was working for a private company – not Labour – and Labour’s policy should have had no influence on the opinions he was putting forward which – as a representative of Pfizer – were his own.

So it is insulting that he should try to say Labour was at fault for its use of the word.

It seems his comments on this subject are a ‘blind’ – an attempt to deflect criticism with words that attempt to mask the facts.

Oh, and his voting record is no indication of his personal beliefs. He supported Labour policy to oppose Conservative changes to the NHS – because he was whipped to do so.

Still, having private providers available for elective operations might be useful.

Mr Smith might consider asking one of them to sew up his forked tongue.

Smith also insisted he was fully committed to a publicly owned NHS and claimed that his call for greater choice in the health service while a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry did not mean he advocated privatisation.

But he conceded that Labour made a mistake while in power for the way it communicated the use of private providers in the NHS.

The Pontypridd MP became the sole challenger to Jeremy Corbyn when it became clear he had more backing among MPs and MEPs than Angela Eagle, who pulled out of the race on Tuesday.

While at Pfizer in 2005 Smith endorsed a Pfizer-backed report offering NHS patients easier access to private-sector healthcare. The Times revealed that he said: “We believe that choice is a good thing and that patients and healthcare professionals should be at the heart of developing the agenda.”

Challenged about the remarks on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Smith said it was a gross exaggeration to suggest that he wanted Pfizer to take over parts of the NHS.

He added: “I believe in a 100% publicly owned NHS free at the point of use.”

Smith pointed out that he did not commission the Pfizer report and that his remarks were taken from a press release. “I have never advocated privatisation of the NHS. It has been one of Labour’s proudest achievements. I grew up swaddled in stories of the Labour party creating the NHS out of south Wales.”

Smith said he would prevent greater private sector involvement in the NHS and conceded that it had been a mistake for Labour to advocate greater choice about providers.

Source: Owen Smith backed big pharma over use of cheaper drugs by NHS in 2010 | Politics | The Guardian


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7 thoughts on “Owen Smith’s vision for the NHS is the same as the Conservative Party’s

  1. mohandeer

    Recently wrote to y MP Stewart Jackson re Simon Stevens’ NHS Challenge, this is the response, a lie from beginning to end.
    “Thank you for your email regarding Simon Steven’s requests and your concerns about NHS funding, and the ability of the Health Service to meet the ever increasing demand.
    The Government is committed to the NHS and its values. As confirmed in the recent Spending Review, the NHS will receive an additional £10 billion worth of funding in real terms by 2020-21. This money is being spent to guarantee that the NHS’s own plan for its future, the Five Year Forward View is fully funded. The Government believes this is a priority central to delivering the changes needed to ensure that free healthcare is always there whenever people need it most. Enabled by the additional funding, this plan delivers the manifesto commitment of high quality care and dignity in old age while improving access to services for working people across seven days, and allowing the NHS to offer 800,000 more operations and treatments.
    The NHS will earmark an extra £2.4 billion a year for GP services by 2020/21, a 14 per cent real terms increase. This investment will be supplemented by a £500 million Sustainability and Transformation package to help GP practices add to the workforce and tackle workload. Furthermore, the Government will deliver 5,000 additional doctors working in General Practice by 2020, through new incentives for training, recruitment, retention and return to practice. This shows that a key priority of meeting patient demand is being addressed; there are now over 10,600 more doctors and almost 10,300 more nurses in the NHS since 2010. In addition, it will deliver 3,000 practice-based mental health therapists, 1,500 co-funded practice clinical pharmacists, and nationally funded support for the wider primary care workforce.
    In terms of GP Surgeries, the Government’s £1 billion Primary Care Transformation Fund will deliver GP premises fit for the future as well as investment to support better technologies and the development of modern working practices.
    This package will enable delivery of a seven-day NHS, providing evening and weekend appointments to all patients by 2020, through practical support for surgeries to work together as well as direct funding for improved access. A new voluntary GP contract will support integrated primary and community health services with 7 day and weekend access at its core.
    It’s thanks to our growing economy that we can support a stronger NHS that makes a real difference for millions of patients.
    I hope you find this information both helpful and reassuring.
    Should you need my assistance with any other concerns regarding local or national issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Member of Parliament for Peterborough

  2. jeffrey davies

    hes just another blair baby who sais hes labour but really is a tory in a red tie i wonder no not really how many votes he get just that side the blair side of the party who should all cross the floor

  3. joanna

    First of all, I really detest the the generic title “Healthcare Professional” that can be given to anyone whether qualified or not, it also seems to breakdown the distinction between doctors, nurses or even pharmacist.
    Secondly why on earth would we want a Labour leader, who supports privatization? It galls me to see daily adverts for babies who need operations, and asking the public for money, why should we pay when the NHS should be helping the said baby to survive.

    Lastly if any party member does not agree with the original “Labour party mission statement”, then they should be booted out immediately!!!

    The ones who are shouting the loudest, are the very “people” who are jealous and a little scared of Jeremy’s fairness, compassion and astute thinking! In my mind Jeremy seems to want to improve on the original mission statement, whilst the detractors seem to want to follow the money, I ask you What money. Does Owen smith really want to admire and follow failure, which is what the Tories Are!!!

    I hope this makes sense Mike, it is how I see things.

  4. Jessie

    A non entity. A yawn.

    Smith keeps carrying on about unity, when it is he and his phoney Tory-corporate-supporting, chicken-coup cronies who have been doing everything they can to shatter the Labour Party.

    It is they who were putting all of their efforts into trying to oust the most decent leader for many years, just when the Tories were very vulnerable for attack. While saying it was in order to make them into a viable opposition! Joke.

    For against what are they rebelling? Someone who voices true social democratic principles and an end to the big wealth-leeching of the one per cent (and a corrupted media).

    It is Corbyn who has been the unity candidate, hugely increasing the number and enthusiasm of party membership, and bringing people together as never before.

    While Smith is like any Tory, saying the opposite of reality, when ‘unity’ really means something like – let’s get rid of those who challenge neoliberalsm and the privatisation of everything.

    Someone who doesn’t understand that Corbyn isn’t doing this job for personal glory, but genuinely as an act of service, for all who are suffering the effects of increasingly vicious right-wing policies, started under Blair; in the face of a really nasty personal persecution (far more than most of us could bear), and much of that aided by his own MPs.

    Smith and they are a disgrace.

  5. Maria Josephine

    How sad that back at the end of the 90s when we were still on a wave of optimism because of the Labour win (despite a few warnings such as tuition fees), we didn’t fully realise the significance to the NHS of Frank Dobson’s sacking as Health Secretary (all right, removal to a fight for the London Mayor election which he couldn’t possibly win against Ken Livingstone). He was smoothly replaced by Alan Milburn and the dismantling process began.

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