Parliament's health select committee, of which I am a member, is to launch an investigation into the government's back-door privatisation of our National Health Service.
I have campaigned long and hard for this. The committee will hold a special session on Tuesday March 19 to look specifically at Statutory Instrument 257 under Section 75 of the Health & Social Care Act.
This hugely controversial new regulation, due to come into force on April 1, would impose compulsory competitive markets in the health service and bring the NHS under the full scope of EU competition laws.
Sadly this is no April Fool. It's for real.
It mirrors exactly what has already happened to the Post Office, and if allowed to go ahead will destroy the NHS as we know it.
It will be virtually impossible to reverse these so-called reforms if they are allowed to go ahead - the full framework of EU law will be invoked to prevent a rethink.
The regulations directly contradict promises made by former health secretary Andrew Lansley to clinical commissioning groups that they would not be forced to put services out to tender.
Current Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is also breaking promises made to MPs when legislation on the NHS was voted through last year.
Under his plans, GPs would have to open up every part of local health services to private companies, whether or not it's what they or local people want.
It would speed up the break-up of the NHS, giving profit-hungry companies new rights to muscle in.
Let us not forget that it was Jeremy Hunt who as culture secretary was happy to do deals in secret with Rupert Murdoch. Now he is up to similar tricks with the NHS.
Due to the magnitude of these changes the rightful place for them to be debated is in the House of Commons.
I will be pressing for a full parliamentary debate on this issue.
We need a government guarantee that health services will not be privatised against the wishes of the public and commissioners. There has been a lack of critical thinking or analysis from the mainstream media, which has failed in its public service duty.
The government would have been able to pass the biggest change to the NHS since its foundation unopposed if it were not for a well-organised public campaign against these regulations.
I am delighted that social media campaigners 38 Degrees, whose campaign against the privatisation of our forests was so successful, is now working hard to halt the privatisation of our NHS through the back door.
Please sign its petition and urge your MP to sign my early day motion demanding that our NHS be kept out of the hands of the privateers (EDM 773).
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