NHS Privatisation: Cuts to My Local Health Centre


Visiting our local health centre the other day, my parents, along with the other local people enrolled there, were handed a letter, explaining that due to funding cuts the health centre was having to cut back on services. It also advised its patients that if they wanted to raise their concerns about the restriction in their service they could contact:-

1. NHS England at FAO Linda Prosser, Director of Assurance and Delivery, NHS England South West (BNSSG), 4th floor Plaza, Marlborough Street, Bristol BS1 3NX
2. your local MP at the House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
3. Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, via his website http://www.jeremyhunt.org

Unfortunately, this is happening to the NHS and GPs’ services all the country. It is no accident, and it is certainly not the fault of the many dedicated doctors, nurses and other health professionals working in the NHS.

It is the result of over 30 years of privatisation begun with Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher and her former Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, denied that they wanted to privatise the NHS. They merely stated that they wanted to include more private provision in the NHS. This is a lie. Released cabinet minutes showed that Thatcher and Geoffrey Howe wanted to privatise the NHS along with abolishing the rest of the welfare state. They were only prevented from doing so because the rest of the cabinet realised that this would be the death knell for the Tory party. And a fact-finding mission to the US to see how their private healthcare system worked by Patrick Jenkin showed that it was massively inefficient.

Nevertheless, the amount of private healthcare in the NHS was expanded, and state provision duly cut by successive governments. It was Maggie’s government in 1989 that ended the state support for care for the elderly in nursing homes. As a result, the families of those, who need this kind of care, are forced to fund it themselves, often through selling or remortgaging their homes because of the immense expense. It was also Maggie’s government that ended free eye tests, and picked a feud with the doctors that saw the majority of them leave the NHS.

This privatisation has continued under Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and now David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt. Blair and Brown were deeply impressed with American private healthcare firms such as Kaiser Permanente, and wished to reform the NHS on their model. The ultimate intention was to replace the publicly owned and operated NHS with private healthcare funded by the state, but administered by private health insurance companies. As a result, NHS work has been given to private hospitals and clinics, and private healthcare companies have been given NHS hospitals to manage. Alan Milburn, Blair’s health secretary, wanted the NHS to become merely a kitemark – an advertising logo – on a system of private healthcare companies funded by the government.

This has been carried on the current Conservative government. And they have used the same tactics Margaret Thatcher did to force private healthcare on this nation. The dispute with the doctors over contracts a few years ago was part of this. It has left the majority of NHS GPs wishing to leave. Yet elements within the Conservative networks responsible for foisting these demands have seen this as an opportunity for forcing through further privatisation. Penny Dash, of the National Leadership Network, and one of those responsible for the NHS privatisation, has looked forward to the remaining GPs forming private healthcare companies. Furthermore, an report on the Care Commissioning Groups now in charge of arranging healthcare in the NHS by one of the private healthcare companies also suggested that they could form private healthcare companies, and float shares on the stockmarket.

Further privatisation has come with Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care bill of 2012. This exempts the state and the Secretary of State for Health from their statutory duty, as the ultimate leaders of the NHS, to provide state health care. It is carefully worded to disguise its true meaning, but that is what has been intended by the bill. Dr David Owen, one of the founders of the SDP, now part of the Lib Dems, has tabled amendments trying to reverse this despicable bill. He and many others have also written books on the privatisation of the NHS. One of the best of these is NHS SOS, by Jacky Davis and Raymond Tallis, published by Oneworld.

This process cannot be allowed to continue, and I strongly urge everyone to resist the creeping privatisation of the NHS, Britain’s greatest public institution.

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6 Responses to “NHS Privatisation: Cuts to My Local Health Centre”

  1. joanna Says:

    Hi Beast isn’t the government committing a huge fraud? What I mean is a lot of people pay for their treatment if they are working and can afford it, doesn’t that mean that the NHS would belong to the public, and if it does, how is it, in any way legal for this homicidal government to sell it from under us?
    This may sound very simple, (I have a simple kind of brain) but if I gave you a car, then I borrowed it, and then I sold it I would be charged for fraud.
    I didn’t think that the government owned the NHS I thought It was owned by the people who use it and pay for it, we didn’t and wouldn’t agree to pay private companies.

    The US healthcare is a inhumane shambles, for example if a woman is raped, she is responsible for the medical bills the accrue from that traumatic event!

    • beastrabban Says:

      I hadn’t thought of it quite like that, but you’re right. It is fraud. And I can remember a lot of people thought the same way in the 1980s when Maggie Thatcher was privatising just about everything owned by the British state. She trumpeted that she was selling all this back to the British people, but I can remember many of my friends at the time making the point that we already owned them, as the people of Britain, for whom these industries were nationalised.

      I think the government can get away with privatising them as the industries aren’t owned directly by all of the British people. Rather, their owned by the British state, and as the government controls the state, they have the legal power to sell state-owned enterprises on behalf of the British people.

      Who in this case have not been consulted, are not told anything about this, because all of the governments responsible for privatising the NHS gradually over the last three decades and more know exactly that if they did come out with it, there would be mass demonstrations, riots and they’d lose the next election. And quite likely the one after that.

      Which is a very good reason to tell everyone precisely what the Tories are doing, along with Blairite Labour, and why we should support Jeremy Corbyn and David Owen.

  2. Michelle Says:

    Really important post Beastie, yesterday I spent most of it in Stroud at the Stroud Valleys Art centre where they had a thought provoking exhibition by Marion Macalpine on the creeping privatisation of the NHS called ‘How come we didn’t know’ there are photos with facts about the corporate creep: http://www.marionmacalpine.org.uk/how-come-we-didnt-know.html

    Stroud Against the Cuts had organised a whole weekend of events and workshops so that local people could be better informed and equipped to react to the break up of the NHS. For example I attended a workshop given by Corporate Watch on how to investigate the companies involved in local or national privatisation plans. REF: http://stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/fightback/healthcarecuts/38-healthcare/203-nhs-2016-event.html
    and http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/?u=0f6f30d699716abfdb139d100&id=e9c651a1d4

    Caroline Molloy was also there and she has much helpful info: https://www.opendemocracy.net/author/caroline-molloy

    People can also find their local group to help protect their NHS: http://keepournhspublic.com/support-konp/find-a-local-group/
    or their local 38Degrees group may also have some events and actions to help defend our public health service.

  3. 61chrissterry Says:

    Reblogged this on 61chrissterry and commented:
    The current

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