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Labour hasn't pledged to dismantle bill

News: Labour pledges to strip financial responsibility from GPs

In the report of my recent interview with Pulse, various statements are attributed to me to assert what Labour would definitely do in government – statements that are simply not supported by what I said during the course of the interview.

It is reported, for example, that I ‘revealed' Labour was ‘ready to systematically dismantle the Government's health bill'. This is a particularly odd assertion, not just because I said no such thing but also as the interview at no point involved discussion of a post-bill landscape should the plans go through.

The report also suggests I have ‘pledged' to ‘completely reverse plans to hand GPs real commissioning budgets'. Again I said no such thing, and the assertion merely turns my criticism of the bill into a future policy commitment.

In addition, my supposed claim that real budgets for GPs would undermine the doctor-patient relationship by ‘creating insurmountable conflicts of interest' has been both over-egged and taken out of context. What I actually said regarding conflicts of interest is included in the subsequent paragraph: ‘There are no safeguards in the legislation.' But even this was a comment about the general lack of safeguards in the bill, and not the principle of financial responsibility.

From John Healey MP, Labour shadow health secretary

Healey Editor's note

In his interview with Pulse, Mr Healey expressed strong opposition to many aspects of the health bill. On the potential for conflict of interest, he warned that giving GPs real budgets could ‘undermine the essential trust between a GP and a patient'.
He added: ‘You're likely to get patients asking themselves when they've been to their GP: "Is my GP making this judgment about the treatment I need in my best interests, or with one eye on their budget or their bonus or their GP consortium business?".'
A video of the interview is available online at www.pulsetoday.co.uk/videos.

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