Plans to outsource cancer and end of life care in Staffordshire should be halted, according to Labour’s shadow health secretary.
Andy Burnham is calling on NHS England to stop any attempts to privatise services until after the general election.
In a speech later today Mr Burnham is expected to accuse NHS bosses of forcing through privatisation of services “at pace and scale” and to call for a "proper debate" about the future of the NHS.
He argues that the shake-up of the NHS in 2013 and the introduction of clinical commissioning groups is leading to privatisation by the back door.
This includes Staffordshire’s cancer care plans. The service is being put out to tender in a £1.2 billion contract, which could be taken on by a health body, a consortium of different providers, or a private company.
"It is indefensible for the character of the country's most valued institution to be changed in this way without the public being given a say," Mr Burnham is due to say to an audience in Machester.
“The reason why people love and trust the NHS is because, for all its faults, it is a service that is based on people not profits.”
He has written to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens urging a halt to privatisation unless patient safety is at risk or a service is under threat.
But NHS England said most decisions were now being made locally by clinical commissioning groups of GPs, not taken centrally.
And the government accused Labour of “playing politics”, claiming that Labour ministers, including Mr Burnham himself, had promoted the use of private sector providers in the NHS.