NHS – Last Chance?

House of Lords

Photograph by UK Parliament (Flickr)

On Monday afternoon, the House of Lords starts the final voting on the NHS changes. An influential crossbench Lord, Lord David Owen, has agreed to accept the Save Our NHS petition. He expects to present it to the House of Lords , just before the debate starts.

The petition bears the names of over half a million of us. It speaks of our fears for the future of our NHS: services broken up, creeping privatisation, money diverted from patient care. These are the kinds of risks which could be in the government’s risk report. But the government still won’t publish that report, despite legal orders to do so.

During Monday’s debate, Lord Owen will call a vote blocking the NHS changes until the risk report is published. Our petition will remind Lords that the public care about these risks to the future of our health service. It could help persuade some wavering Lords to vote the right way.

It’s quite a long shot, to be honest. The government seems determined to ignore everyone’s concerns and force things through. But incredible things can happen even this late in the day – it’s definitely worth a try.

There’s already 500,000 names on the petition. But the bigger it is, the more powerful our message to the Lords on Monday when the petition is delivered. So please can you sign the petition and forward it to your friends, family and colleagues too.

As the Lords gather to decide whether or not to press on with changing the NHS without knowing all the risks, let’s send them a reminder. Let’s remind them that across the UK, hundreds of thousands of us know what it feels like to arrive at a hospital or a doctor’s surgery, tired, sick or frightened for someone you love. And that we know how much we rely on our NHS in those situations to give us the care we need.

Each name on our petition is a reason for the Lords to think twice before gambling with the future of our NHS. It will show them that although we all know the NHS isn’t perfect, we know that it’s pretty amazing. It will remind them that when we talk about risk registers, we’re talking about threats to a health service which is the envy of the world.

This could be the final opportunity for all of us to stand up for the NHS before the key votes happen. Please sign the petition and ask your friends, family and colleagues to sign it too.