MPs are bracing for another onslaught of emails as online activist group 38 degrees launches its latest campaign, this time targeting the government's controversial NHS reform proposals.
The group say despite changes to the Health and Social Care Bill the NHS could still be subject to European competition laws, following the advice of two lawyers.
38 Degrees say the advice shows “private health companies will be able to take new NHS commissioning groups to court if they don’t win contracts”.
They also claim Andrew Lansley will no longer have a legal duty to provide a health service. “We can expect increases in postcode lotteries – and less ways to hold the government to account if the service deteriorates.”
Now they are urging their supporters to email their MP – particularly if they will be supporting the health and social care bill.
38 Degrees Director David Babbs said they want to "convince MPs that the changes shouldn’t be pushed ahead and that the public’s concerns need to be taken seriously".
“None of us voted for these fundamental changes to the NHS. They weren’t in any party’s manifestos, or the Coalition Agreement."
Campaign director Hannah Lownsborough told the Huffington Post UK the group were expecting hundreds and thousands emails to be sent to MPs.
“We’re certainly hoping that as a result of our emails Conservative MPs will think again about their support for the government’s plans for the NHS and we’re hoping they will look very, very carefully at the legislation as it goes through the Commons and hopefully make some amendments.”
Harriet Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire said she had already received four of five within the first hour.
"Since first thing this morning you can start seeing the steady trickle that typifies when they start to ask all their email list to email MPs ... They’ve obviously kicked off on the latest campaign.
“I very much welcome it, I think it’s a very good way of engaging and people who otherwise probably wouldn’t have got in touch with their MP get in touch. It would be easier from the point of view of just constituency staff if there were a way that 38 degrees allowed us to do an email reply to everyone. We’ve asked them from that but they said that’s not really what we’re trying to achieve.”
However Baldwin said she still supported the bill. “I think there are a lot of private providers in the NHS today ... I don’t think there should be an artificial distinction between public and private, I think it should be the best services that deliver the best care for my constituents”, she told Huffington Post UK on Tuesday.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: "The bill does not change current UK or EU competition legislation or procurement legislation or the areas to which they apply."
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