Over a quarter of Tory councilors support further privatisation of the NHS

Reforms by this government have already seen huge increases in the amount of private patient income brought in by NHS hospitals


The Tories’ plans for the NHS include a double deceit. Not only will they double the pace of cuts next year, putting the health service in crisis, but they cannot say where a single penny of promised extra spending will come from.

And today, new research by the Labour party shows a mood in the Tory party which will dismay supporters of the NHS. A survey of Tory councilors on their plans for future funding shows that more than a quarter are willing to admit they support plans for further changes and privatisation.

Out of 115 respondents to an email sent by Labour students:

 A total of 26 support introducing charges for NHS services

·A further 12 support privatisation or increased use of the private sector

Another six want to make cuts to the NHS

This is significant because the current cohort of Conservative councilors is likely to make up a large part of the next crop of Conservative MPs.

Labour students asked the councilors whether spending on the NHS could continue to increase in the next parliament, whether a spending ring-fence is sustainable over the long-term, what the role of the private sector in the NHS should be, and whether the government should consider charging for some NHS services in the future.

Here are some extracts from the responses:

“Means testing is emotive so is queue jumping. But in our present state both seem to me to be fairly acceptable.”

“We cannot carry on providing universal free services for all manner of peripheral pseudo conditions.”

“I feel that we should encourage and support the private sector.”

One councilor seemed to express support for allowing foreign contractors to access the NHS – something that many anti-TTIP campaigners have long been concerned about:

“I firmly believe a successful 21st century NHS must play a role in commissioning healthcare with external partner in the private sector and even abroad.”

The Tories’ extreme spending plans take total spending to 36.0 per cent of GDP in 2019/20. OECD data shows that all of those countries which have levels of public spending at 36 per cent or less as a share of GDP have greater out-of-pocket expenditure as a share of final household consumption than the UK.

A recent letter to the Guardian, signed by more than 100 healthcare professionals, stated that government reforms in 2012 have led to ‘the rapid and unwanted expansion of the role of commercial companies in the NHS’.

Freedom of Information requests by the Labour Party have revealed that this government’s reforms, including the lifting of the Private Patient Income PPI cap have seen NHS hospitals increase their private patient income by some 10 per cent since 2010. This has seen some hospitals increase their private income by up to 40 per cent.

Speaking at the launch of Labour’s NHS week today, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham will say:

“This is the real face of the Tory Party. They have let the cat out of the bag – five more years of David Cameron means more NHS privatisation and charging.

“It is clear that, just like last time, Cameron’s NHS promises have an expiry date of election day stamped on them. He promised no top-down reorganisation and brought forward the biggest-ever top-down reorganisation. If he gets back in, the NHS will be sunk by a toxic mix of cuts and privatisation.”

Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

33 Responses to “Over a quarter of Tory councilors support further privatisation of the NHS”

  1. AlanGiles

    “And today, new research by the Labour party shows a mood in the Tory party which will dismay supporters of the NHS……respondents to an email sent by Labour students…..”

    Well, nice to have your prejudices and scaremongering endorsed by such an impartial source 🙂

    Seriously this is really desperate stuff

  2. Jim Bennett


  3. Leon Wolfeson

    Right, there’s some research done which is “desperate” in showing some of your anti-NHS views.

    Oh dear, you’re rumbled!

  4. Chris Oakley

    I am also interested in this apparent 40% rise in private income for some NHS hospitals. Is it a big number in real terms or are you just using the percentage to make it sound impressive? Do NHS patients benefit from it? You are typically selective with your statistics but I am genuinely intrigued and would like to know more.

    So away from facts, perhaps you could explain exactly what is wrong with a model that allows people who can afford to contribute to do so whilst protecting the services to those who cannot? Insurance contributions are the norm in most European countries, many of which operate systems that have health outcomes better than those in the UK.

    Is there not a risk that by taking a reactionary position on a 70 year old idea, we might be missing opportunities to create a better system for all? I don’t know if that is the case but I do find the absence of true debate on the subject quite depressing.

    The Tories are too cowardly to be doing what you claim. They are terrified by NHS privitisation. It will be a brave government indeed that admits that times have changed and that we need to at least consider all our options.

  5. Faerieson

    What’s the matter with you? Are you really suffering under the delusion that the NHS isn’t under serious attack! Have you not bothered to listen to the many voices of concern, the numbers of top doctors desperate to warn the nation?

    Privatising sections of the Service is tantamount to reaching a halfway house- half way to abolishion- much like selling off council homes to the then-tennants opened up a huge market for future landlords. And look where we are now, as a result.

    Or don’t! Pretend everything’s hunky dory!

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