Euthanasia of the NHS

Service is a key word, as is national and not forgetting health. Together they spell out one of the most highly regarded institutions in the UK and it is easy to understand why, regardless of some shortcomings, for it is a humane and equitable socially sophisticated provision.

For just over 60 years we in the UK have taken the NHS for granted while appreciating its essential role to our well-being. There are not many aspects of British life I would defend to the extent I do the NHS. Now it seems is the time for everyone who appreciates our universal health service free at the point of delivery to speak up and demand an end to the creeping privatisation begun by the Labour government under the avaricious Blair and continued by the abstemious Brown. Now the Con/Lib coalition is about to step up dismantlement of the NHS.

Blair’s Labour government’s policy on this emerged from advice from health ‘experts’ who were enthusiastic advocates for private health care. One was Penny Dash, partner with a consultancy involved in health care, who was NHS director of strategy and planning between 1998 and 2003 when Labour moved towards private activity in health care. Alan Milburn, former health secretary, has now gone to the private health care sector as advisor to Bridgepoint which specialises in health care investment. The discredited former health secretary Patricia Hewitt is adviser to Cinven. Cinven is a leading buyout organisation involved in partnerships in care in the UK – providing mental health services with psychiatric care homes valued at £552 million net since 2005. A spokesperson for Cinven is quoted on its website as recognising it is lining up to mop up NHS services. ‘The long-term dynamics of the UK private healthcare market are favourable due to demographic trends, new medical technologies and increased out-sourcing from the NHS to independent operators.’

For years now private health companies have been encroaching into former NHS provision as governments offload various aspects of services. This is not confined to the NHS but it is this which these private companies are eyeing up as potential gold mines. They provide what is known as out-sourcing and one major provider in the UK is Capita ready to soak up ‘opportunities’ freed up by politicians signed up to the ideology of the spiv in which everything has its price and everything is up for grabs.

Spending cuts to pay for the economic crisis created by the rich on a greed spree will soon become apparent to the health care in your area. What the rich create the rich will benefit from at the expense of the weakest in society. Spending cuts create their own ‘opportunities’ and private service companies are queuing up to avail themselves of the multi-million pound bonanza on offer to boost dividends for their shareholders.
The American health giant Humana is expected to provide the administrative support for GPs here but fears have been raised that profits will become the prime motivator and the universal component of the NHS will disappear. Humana’s website states that it delivers support to the NHS in England.

In Scotland some may know of Capita which carries out medical and health screens. It trains OH physicians and offshore medics and is the main medical supplier to the country’s oil and gas industry. It is the beneficiary of the removal of TV licences from the Post Office and we know the dire situation of both rural and urban post offices. This contract alone is worth £500 million to Capita who took over responsibility of issuing licences from the state but this seems a rather large figure and its impact on licence dodgers is singularly unimpressive with a reduction of only .5% from 5.7% to 5.2%.

Another of its contracts with the BBC is for audience research which costs a cool £54 million.

If the UK follows the US then we can expect to find these ‘opportunities’ will be exploited to provide maximum profits. In the US courts high profile law suits concerning fraud in the system are estimated at around $60million which should ring warning bells and the possible future for tax payers. And this is being done under the guise of efficiency and greater choice.
Privatisation is coming to a health service provider near you.

There have been warnings on the extent of creeping privatisation of Scotland’s NHS and there is more need than ever for all of us to kick and scream against politicians of every ideology who accede to this trend. Our NHS is too important and too precious to be stolen from us and handed over on a plate to voracious private businesses. It is ours and must stay ours.

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