I understand that many individuals have been concerned about the privatisation of the NHS. I fully believe in our NHS and its values, which is why I welcome that the Government has guaranteed that the NHS will always provide healthcare free at the point of entry, regardless of ability to pay.
I acknowledge your concern about Centene's involvement in GP surgeries, patient care will not be affected, and all services remain free at the point of delivery. As with all GP services, those for which Centene is responsible will continue to be regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission. I understand that the CCGs where this has happened have followed the appropriate and robust process prior to transfer of responsibility to Centene.
But the use of private providers and the voluntary sector in the delivery of NHS services is not a new concept, with the previous Government introducing the independent sector and competition into the NHS between 1997 and 2010.
The NHS is something to be valued and protected which is why I support the commitment to properly fund the NHS. Since 2010 the NHS budget has increased every year, and I am happy to say that despite challenging financial circumstances, the annual budget of the NHS is being increased by £33.9 billion in real terms by 2023/24.
I’m personally feel that an ‘EDM’ campaign, does not achieve its aims and in my view it would be wrong to give the false impression of taking action by signing an EDM when they have no impact. There are far better ways to represent the interests of my constituents and hold the government to account, such as questioning ministers and participating in debates, and that is what I will continue to do where there are concerns from constituents in West Dorset. But I can let you know that our health system locally is in good hands.