Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, yesterday presented a Ten Minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons on Patient Choice in the NHS.
Peter Lilley said:
“This Bill will seek to restore patients? rights to choose which NHS hospital they would like to be treated at. This was abolished by the Labour Government in 1999. Now patients must go to the hospital with which the local NHS bureaucracy has a contract. They cannot choose to go to another local hospital with a shorter waiting time, or a better record in treating that ailment, or cleaner wards or nearer their relatives.
This is particularly relevant in Hitchin and Harpenden as we are surrounded by five general hospitals ? each with its strengths and weaknesses ? and we ought to have the right to choose which one we go to. I have no doubt that even the politicians who have run our local health trusts would have taken notice of complaints about, for example, dirty wards and hospital infections if patients had been able to vote with their feet. Of course choice is only possible as long as there are several hospitals to choose from so I am alarmed at plans to centralise existing A & E and acute services at one site.
“My Bill will repeal the government ban on patient choice. It will give patients greater information so that they can make informed choices about the hospitals they want to go to. And it will give patients real financial clout by making taxpayers? money follow patients? choices so that hospitals are rewarded with resources to treat the patients they attract.?
Peter Lilley?s bill attracted influential support ? its sponsors included Labour MP Frank Field and senior Conservatives like Michael Portillo and Sir Patrick Cormack .