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Government reforms won't help improve NHS and could hinder efforts to turn round Medway Maritime, says Labour

Government plans to force hospitals to outsource services to the private sector would disrupt efforts to improve standards at the Medway Maritime Hospital, a Labour MP has claimed.

Clive Efford, who is behind a Bill that would stop privatisation within the NHS, says hospitals will end up spending huge sums of money on lawyers and consultants under the reforms.

Mr Efford was in Rochester on Wednesday to campaign for Naushabah Khan, the party’s candidate in the by-election.

He said: “What we are seeing is huge sums being paid to lawyers and consultants under the marketing tender policy. In the long run, it will lead to the NHS not being able to provide proper services and will become a series of market-tendered contracts.”

“The way to improve services in the NHS is not to turn it into a market where trusts are forced to go out to tender rather than choosing the best provider.”

“People in Medway Hospital will want to know they are being provided with the best quality services rather than having those services provided by market tendering.”

Under a bi-lateral trade deal, known as TTIP, NHS services could be sold off or outsourced but companies would be able to sue the government if it tried to return privatised services to the public sector.

Meanwhile, the Ukip leader Nigel Farage is facing claims that he would be happy to see the NHS adopt an American-style health insurance system.

The party leader is due to address a major rally in Rochester tonight.

His remarks were recorded two years ago at a meeting in East Sussex, where he said would feel more “comfortable” if Britain’s healthcare system was opened up to the “marketplace.”

“I think we are going to have to move to an insurance-based system of healthcare. Frankly, I would feel more comfortable that my money would return value if I was able to do that through the marketplace of an insurance company, than just us trustingly giving £100billion a year to central government and expecting them to organise the healthcare service from cradle to grave for us.”

The party said those remarks were no longer representative of its policies.

“Obviously things have moved on significantly since then. That was then and this is now. It doesn’t stand up to say that’s still his view,” said a spokesman.

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