The NHS has never been in more danger

Private sector providers want to down-skill medical staff to make them easier to fire, more biddable, and above all, cheaper

nhsnewspaper

 

In 2010 David Cameron’s coalition government betrayed pre-election promises to protect the NHS. Instead they imposed savage spending cuts and pushed through ‘reforms’ which put at risk the health of the entire population.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 has been described as so ‘complex, confusing and bureaucratic’ that the organisation of the NHS ‘is not fit for purpose’ as a result. The NHS is now at the brink of extinction. The public has been misled about the objectives and consequences of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

But the coalition’s repeated denials of NHS privatisation do not stand up to scrutiny. Aneurin Bevan once said:

“No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of a lack of means.”

The 2012 Act has not just repealed society’s contract with the health service, it has put the NHS on the chopping block, ready to be sold in pieces to private corporations. The Health and Social Care Act raised the cap hospitals could generate from private income to 49 per cent from an average of around two per cent.

Privatisation is an ideological luxury which wastes money and destabilises the NHS. It has no purpose other than diverting money to shareholders and enriching a privileged few. We all know people should always come before profit, but the current government thinks otherwise.

In the past year, £9 billion worth of our NHS has been put up for sale, while thousands of jobs have been axed, including over 4000 senior nurses.

Half of our 600 ambulance stations are earmarked for closure. 50 of the 230 NHS walk-in centres have been closed and 66 A&E and maternity units have been shut or downgraded.

Waiting lists for operations are at their longest in years as hospitals are consumed by the crisis in A&E.

The coalition’s policies and privatisation mean the NHS as we know it will be gone in as little as five years if no one speaks up. The NHS will just be a logo; reduced from being the main provider of health services in England with one of the biggest workforces in the world, to a US-style insurance scheme, divorced from the delivery of care. Fewer treatments will be available as cuts start to bite.

The ‘new’ NHS is now more fragmented than ever before. It has no primacy over provision, and money is squandered over lost causes such as procurement of contracts and fighting competition from within. There has been a proliferation of small and large providers in the NHS in the last two or three years and the other winners in this revolutionary reform are management consultants. The proliferation of private service providers spells serious problems for the future. For while the public sector seeks to maximise quality and coverage of services, the private sector aims to provide services in order to maximise profits.

Private sector providers want to de-professionalise and down-skill the practice of medicine in this country, so as to make staff more interchangeable, easier to fire, more biddable, and above all, cheaper.

According to Ipsos MORI, the NHS is a top-of-the-list election issue for most voters. The NHS matters, and not just to the 1.4 million people who work in it, but to the entire population of Britain.

David Cameron intends to achieve what eluded all the other Tory governments since Bevan created the country’s most cherished institution, the NHS, in 1948. Winston Churchill lost the battle to kill the NHS at birth. Thatcher was prevented by cooler heads from creating an insurance-based system. John Major attempted to suffocate the NHS by bringing in the internal market. David Cameron is fulfilling the dream of the ‘Tory right’ to privatise health care lock-stock and barrel.

The NHS has never been in a more dangerous position than it is right now. This General Election will decide whether the NHS will survive or perish. It’s time to raise the alarm about what is happening and build a campaign for change. This election will give voters a clear choice – a public, integrated NHS or a health market under David Cameron.

Kailash Chand OBE has written the foreword for the election guide on the NHS produced by the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class). Download your copy here

25 Responses to “The NHS has never been in more danger”

  1. Ian

    ‘Providers’? ‘Downskill’?

    Christ, it was a sorry day when the supposed left resorted to corporate horseshit to make themselves sound more more thrusting and executive-like. It only ever makes the user sound like a pompous arse, though.
    It reminds of the youtube video with Geoff Hoon whoring himself for WestlandAugusta; ‘delivering helicopter solutions’, indeed. Pitiful.

  2. Peem Birrell

    NHS – the first resort of the scoundrel. Depending on which party’s in power it’s either great and never been better or in terminal crisis. Just how stupid do the politicians (Labour & Tory) think we are?

  3. treborc1

    I doubt the NHS is safe with any party.

  4. Darren Cahil

    To be fair, it is arguably worse under the tories.

  5. Richard Honey

    Ok cynics: When I first was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the hip it took me approx two years before I was able to see the consultant orthopaedic surgeon I’d been scheduled to see. This was under the Major government. Labour came to power and almost miraculously I was offered an appointment – this was with a private hospital – as the determination to bring the waiting lists down meant that for a temporary period the NHS had to leverage private provision to get round the lack of capacity. However subsequent appointments were again quicker and with an absolutely brilliant NHS consultant. When the time came to have a replacement hip, I was seen in July and operated on in October – three months – which included pre-op assessment, post-op training and fitting home aids. Now, since the Tories came to power, waiting times for appointments and surgery are going up and in some areas elective surgery has all but ceased due to budget cuts – a very sensible idea indeed, leaving many in pain and contributing to health problems and expense further down the line as the general health of increasingly immobile suffers deteriorates as a result. So don’t give me that nonsense about both parties being the same on the NHS – it is a deeply stupid and ill-informed attitude. Labour may have had some failings, as does the NHS, but my experience of the difference under two governments could not be starker

  6. Riversideboy

    Well said Richard, I do not know where these people are coming from, possibly personal axes to grind so they throw any Labour principles away. If you are Labour you fight for the NHS not turn your back on it

  7. Leon Wolfeson

    So your first response is to use the very real issues measured and caused by the disorganisation is to try and say “everyone does it”.

    You are indeed treating people as idiots.

  8. Richard Honey

    Thanks Riverside boy. I tend to steer away from commenting on LFF as often seems like a forum for Ukip type Mr Angrys or far left fantasists, but some of these comments really made my blood boil!

  9. Domac

    The NHS has never fared well under a Tory government. In 1997 when they had been in government for 18 years the NHS was run down. Same is happening again. Yet even worse now as the NHS is being sold off to profit making companies.

  10. Keepniggling

    The link doesn’t work

  11. Mike Stallard

    My wife has found recently that the NHS has not been very helpful. It is hard to see a GP. She has waited for half a year, in pain, for a supplementary operation to one that may or may not have worked.
    I have recently been to Australia and Singapore. Both seem to work far better – but in each case the people I know could afford the insurance.
    There just is not enough healing to go round as more and more people flood in to get the goodies. So how can we ration it? Well, now it seems to be done by waiting – unless, of course, you can afford insurance like our caring’n’sharing politicians, journalists and working class liberals.

  12. Guest

    So you’re complaining because of your right’s disorganisation of the NHS.
    Well done, it’s caused problems!

    But then you blame the other – as you make up nonsense about insurance, as you attack the NHS further by refusing to admit that your own capitalism is the root of the issue.

  13. stef

    NHS will not prosper when at the same time our NHS doctors are working for private hospitals. It has to be sorted out. ~I had an emergency operation in my hospital in Warrington and received fantastic service by dedicated NHS nursing staff, Doctors are hard to find as there are fewer of them on the wards. When Labour was in power, decision was made to reduce number of new places at medical schools for the future doctors to be. Now we have to “take them” from other countries and deplete their health services. Fact is it takes 7 years for a person to be trained as a doctor. We as a nation should invest in future doctors and nurses to be, HNS is bleeding moneys for agency nurses that are more paid than our NHS one. Only people that should and must be taken to account is us who elect politicians which have main aim to be politicians and not servants of the people. Situation will not change unless we change our attitude and give right to people to be our representatives because of their ability to do the job and not the color of the party they represent.

  14. sarntcrip

    WHEN BUPA WAS A PROVIDENT ASSOCIATION OVER 20 YEARS AGO EVEN THEN THE SAME DOCTORS WORKED FOR THE NHS AS FOR PRIVATE HOSPITALS INDEED WITHOUT THE NHS TE PRIVATE SECTOR WOULD STRUGGLE TO TRAIN THE MANY DOCTORS WHO MOVE THE FACT IS SINCE THE NHS STARTED MANY DOCTORS HAVE HAD PRIVATE AND PUBLIC PRACTICES MOVINGBETWEEN THE TWOTHE SAME SITUATION AS NOW HOWEVER IT IS UTTERLY UNFAIR THAT THE BHS WHICH TRAINS HOSPITAL DOCTORS SHOULD BE STRUGGLING TO RECRUITWHEN THE PRIVATE SECTOR CONTRIBUTION TO TRAINING OUR HOSPITAL DOCTORS IS SO PATHETICALLY SMALL EVEN GIVEN THE HUGE PROFITS MADE BY BUPA AND PPP WHICH GO INTO THE POCKETS OF SENIOR DIRECTORS AND SEOs the length of time a doctor should be required to work for the nhas should be lengthened before they are allowed to go private

  15. sarntcrip

    record numbers of americansand australians are being banrupted by bills for relatively straightforward procedures and care,because private healthcare insurers do not ensure payouts keep place with rampant private healthcare inflation

  16. Mike Stallard

    I can agree to this. I have just got back from Australia and my daughter told me the same thing. On the other hand, their hospital, in Cairns, Qu, has done a superb job in delivering and coping with her baby. And, when her husband burned himself very badly, the hospital was available for an immediate procedure.

  17. treborc1

    My experience is totally different, for example my operation was carried out in an NHS hospital in which the cleaning contract had been outsourced to a private firm and the rate of MRSA had shot through the roof. I ended up with MRSA on the spine which ended up with me being in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, I was transferred to a private hospital while the general hospital was cleaned , then when they went back to the private cleaning firm the rates of MRSA rose again, in the end of course they went back to NHS cleaning.

    Then again under New labour I then waited two years to have my wheelchair. Some people will tell you about the good times and the bad times like it or not Labour was willing to sell the NHS to the private sector.

  18. treborc1

    Well if the facts do not fit do not it seems bother, I have been in labour since 1966 and like it or not New labour was not labour.

  19. treborc1

    It is a fact that I and my kids cannot find an NHS dentist and I live in Wales where health care is now devolved.

  20. treborc1

    I do not know since I live in Wales were the NHS is devolved as to be honest it been pretty bad under all parties.

  21. Leon Wolfeson

    That’s a problem in much of England as well.

  22. Guest

    As you’ve backed the cuts which are causing the waiting…

    And yes, you only mix with the rich, right.

  23. treborc1

    And if Dentist can go then GP’s can go.

  24. treborc1

    Yes but doctor moonlight for the NHS and BUPA three consultants at BUPA are the consultant at the NHS and nurse do the same.

    It’s how to make extra money.

  25. treborc1

    But then again under labour money was pumped in and the NHS put up for sale , when labour left power in 2010 the NHS was again in trouble with debts.

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