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

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

  1. AlanGiles

    I remember Kinnock’s “Jennifers ear” I remember Blair’s “24 hours to save the NHS” (and it ended up getting into mor trouble with the heavy extensiion of PFI), we have heard it all before. Mrs Thatcher had two landslides and did’nt privatise the NHS. The next government whoever it will be, will have such a small majority (if it has one at all) that it won’t be able to do anything drastic. I really can’t be bothered what “Labour students” say – this is NHS week on the Miliband campaign so everybody is trying to leap on the bandwaggon. It is a publicity stunt and a rather tawdry one at that.

    P.S: Anyone remember Burnham’s “NHS Global” – has it been forgotten, or is Labour privatisation somehow more “pure”?

  2. AlanGiles

    You’re a prat

  3. Faerieson

    I’m not sure if your comments are provocation, disinterest, or boredom based. If you are as cynical about politics as you appear I can understand where you’re coming from. However, it seems more likely that you’re deliberately seeking to cloud the major issue behind a directionless tirade of simmering venom.

    The worry is that you’re, by default, presenting the issue as a bit of a joke. And I thought I was disillusioned…

  4. Leon Wolfeson

    And you’re a capitalist Tory.

  5. Leon Wolfeson

    Those “insurance”-based (primarily funded in most cases by wage levy) systems involve much higher spending levels on health than the UK, and most go to great lengths to defend the ability of the poor to access services. Those that don’t, like France, have a problem with people not going to the doctor until they require expensive treatment, something also seen with dentistry in the UK. This would be far worse here, given the massive levels of poverty we’re seeing. We’d end up paying far more for any kind of barrier for treatment.

    Your model is also quite different to insurance-based models, and ignoring the massive usability and cost issues would primarily raise healthcare costs for the middle class. The idea that there needs to be a massive new layer of bureaucracy, costing billions, to check at every level for the need to pay (as you’re placing that directly on the NHS) – inevitably making errors and delaying treatment for some, to their cost – is in no way a better system.

    And rot – the Tories are busy privatising critical services, while allowing companies to hand them back with no significant penalty if they find the margins are not high enough!

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