A NORTH-EAST MP has praised the Health Select Committee for agreeing to discuss legislation which could open up the NHS to a much more radical privatisation of services.

The decision by committee, chaired by the former Tory Health Secretary, Stephen Dorrell, followed a written appeal from Grahame Morris, Labour MP for Easington for them to discuss the issue before the regulations become law.

Mr Morris said while he was delighted at the opportunity to scruitinise "these fundamental changes", he added that the rightful place for debate was the House of Commons.

Loading article content

"I will be pressing for a full parliamentary debate on this issue, as we need a Government guarantee that health services will not be privatised against the wishes of the public and commissioners," he added.

On his website Mr Morris urged David Cameron and Nick Clegg to "come clean to the public" over proposals to bring in legislation which would "confirm out worst fears, the full scale privatisation and fragmentation of the NHS."

His comments coincided with a new warning from the Royal College of Nursings Northern Region of a possible break-up of NHS services across the North-East and Cumbria.

A spokesman for the RCN Northern Region said: "There is a significant risk that if these regulations pass next Tuesday, our region will see far more services opened up to unfettered price competition between a myriad of different providers."

Since September last year a number of NHS contracts in the region were awarded to private providers.

They included adult hearing, podiatry and anti-coagulation therapy in County Durham and Darlington and adult hearing, psychological therapies and the provision of wheelchairs in the NHS Tees area.