Secret Tory-Lib Dem plans to privatise HALF of Liverpool’s hospitals have been exposed by Labour.
The Coalition Government amendment threatens to allow hospitals to give 49% of their NHS beds to private patients.
It will also allow them to give private patients priority in half of all operations in NHS hospitals.
The plans were announced just days before Christmas, in an attempt to divert attention from their horrendous consequences.
But Liverpool Labour MPs and Councillors have spotted the proposals, and are furious about what it may mean.
Under the proposals, private patients could be allowed to take up almost half of the 2,400 beds currently reserved for NHS patients across Liverpool.
This means over 1,200 NHS beds could go to private patients.
Cllr Joe Anderson, Leader of Liverpool City Council, said: “We used to warn about privatisation by the back door. But this is privatisation by the front door.”
“Very simply, the Tories and Lib Dems want to turn our hospitals into businesses, where profit will take priority.”
“Those patients who can afford private health care will be given priority for almost half of the space in our hospitals, leaving the other half to everyone else.”
“This will make waiting lists longer for NHS patients. It will threaten the elderly, the sick and those who need health care. It will undermine the basic principles of an NHS which is free at the point of use for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.”
Labour councillor Jake Morrison, who works as a health care assistant in a Liverpool hospital said: “Its clear that the NHS is not safe in the hands of Tory-Lib Dem ministers.”
“I’ve got first hand experience of the world class care the NHS offers to people across Liverpool.”
“I’ve seen waiting lists reduced under the previous Labour Government, and there are more doctors and nurses helping people now than there ever have been.”
“I know how much people in Liverpool cherish their NHS. It belongs to the people of this city, and all of us rely on it at some point in our lives.”
“But the Government is paying no attention to these people. Vulnerable people in this city will suffer because of this Government’s reckless plans.”
“Their plans will push NHS patients to the back of the queue, and will let private patients in first to try and maximise their income to make up for Government cuts to their budgets.”
“I am calling on people across Liverpool to make their voices heard, and help to defend our NHS.”
“Labour has launched a petition, at www.dropthebill.com
, where Liverpool’s people can sign up to help us defend our NHS from the Tory-Lib Dem privatisation plan.”
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham MP, said: "This surprise move, sneaked out just before Christmas, is the clearest sign yet of David Cameron's determination to turn our precious NHS into a US-style commercial system, where hospitals are more interested in profits than people.
"With NHS hospitals able to devote half of their beds to private patients, people will begin to see how our hospitals will never be the same again if Cameron's Health Bill gets through Parliament.
"This free-market NHS re-organisation opens the door to an explosion of private work in the NHS, meaning longer waits for NHS patients. It takes us straight back to the bad old days of the Tory NHS, when the only choice patients had was to wait longer or pay to go private.
"Andrew Lansley was forced to reveal this 50% figure in an attempt to calm nerves in the Lords about his Health Bill. But, in doing so, he has only succeeded in bringing home to the public the full implications of his dangerous and flawed plans. What other free-market plans has he got in mind that he's not telling us about?
"Time is running out for the NHS but it's not late. If public and professions stand together, we can stop this Americanisation of the NHS. If people want to do one thing to help the NHS this Christmas, they should take just a moment to sign the 'Drop the Bill' e-petition."