October 10, 2011

Archbishop calls for national debate over NHS changes

by Jan Harris

With peers due to vote on the Government’s controversial Health and Social Care Bill on Wednesday, The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has warned of the dangers of introducing a commercial culture into the NHS.

Dr Sentamu is calling for a national debate on healthcare, amid opposition to the Bill from both patients and medical professionals.

He made the comments following the Archbishop of York’s symposium which was created in the wake of the credit crunch, to bring together academics and practitioners to discuss economic and social policies and the values underpinning them.

“Let us as a nation protect the principles of Bevan that allow each man, woman and child access to health care whenever they need it,” he said.

The Department of Health “welcomed” Dr Sentamu’s comments and said: “Our bill puts clear safeguards in place against any abuse from the private sector and ensures that all provision of services to NHS patients will be based on the quality of the service to patients, not the cost.”

Dr Sentamu has also called on the Government to buy more Typhoon jets from BAE Systems after visiting the company’s base in Samlesbury, Lancashire, where 500 jobs are at risk.

The Archbishop said that Royal Air Force is the UK’s ‘shop window’.

“I mean the Harrier jump jet sold a lot, because it was seen as a state-of -the-art for the air force. The same was for the Nimrod and the Tornado,” he said.

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