Private companies should not be allowed to take money out of the NHS, the Green Party’s General Election candidate for Lichfield and Burntwood has said.
Robert Pass told a hustings event at Wade Street Church that back door privatisation needed to be tackled.
Conservative candidate Michael Fabricant had said just 6% of the NHS was privatised, of which 4% had been introduced by the previous Labour Government.
But Mr Pass told the audience privatisation was happing under their noses.
“We’re committed to a totally public NHS,” he said. “Unfortunately the Health and Social Care Act has opened up large chunks of the NHS to privatisation.
“There are some services that operate under an NHS banner, but are being delivered by private companies. We have to remember that these companies are in it to make a profit – that’s millions and millions going out of the door rather than back into healthcare.”
Mr Fabricant argued that patients were not concerned where care was given, as long as it was free at the point of delivery.
“No candidate is going to say they want a lousy health service,” he said. “Yes, it should be free, but does it matter where care is delivered?
“If I was taken ill and the hospital at Burton said they didn’t have a bed but they would send me to a private hospital for treatment what do I care?”
Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Ray warned that current levels of funding were “strangling” the NHS.
He said: “The NHS needs a long term solution. We propose that an independent body is introduced to look at how money is being spent.
“Funding should be a non-political issue.”