Posts Tagged ‘‘The Spirit of ’45’’

NHS Privatisation: Do You Want to Pay the Equivalent of $200 to See a Doctor?

September 20, 2021

This comes from a video on YouTube I was watching the other day. It wasn’t about health services except that at one point the person talking mentioned that where she was – America – you have to pay $200 simply to see a doctor. And that’s before he treats you or gives you medicine.

At a very rough estimate, that’s about £130 or so. Very roughly, and I might be wrong.

But it used to be like that over here as well before the establishment of the NHS by the 1945 Labour government. And people suffered and died because they couldn’t afford to pay for it. I’ve been watching Ken Loach’s excellent film on the establishment of the British welfare state, The Spirit of ’45. This is another flick I fully intend to blog about in due course and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the origins not just of the welfare state, but of the mixed economy that gave us jobs and prosperity for thirty years before the election of Thatcher. And it clearly shows as well how and why capitalism is failing but still being pushed, and why we must never allow the NHS to be privatised. It mixes archive footage from the period, including speeches by Clement Atlee, Nye Bevan, George Lansbury and others with filmed interviews with politicians, activists, writers, union representatives and ordinary working men and women. These include not only the awesome Tony Benn, but also Jacky Davis, a consultant radiologist who co-edited NHS: SOS against the privatisation of the NHS with Ray Tallis. Doctors appearing in the film explain that before the NHS was established, you had to pay half a crown simply to see the doctor. Very poorly paid workers, like agricultural labourers, could be paid five shillings a week. If they fell ill, one of those shillings would be taken in doctor’s fees. And doctors employed debt collectors to get money owing from patients, who’d paid on credit.

This is what is going to happen if Johnson and his jackals privatise the NHS.

I mention this because there was a news report last week that more people are taking out private health care. This is not by accident. It is a deliberate Tory policy. Thatcher would have liked to have privatised the NHS, but she was prevented by a cabinet revolt. Patrick Jenkin, her private secretary, had visited America and was shocked by the American private healthcare system. Unable to get her way, Thatcher instead aimed to get a certain percentage of the British public to take out private health insurance.

As Mike has pointed out again and again, the way the right prepares industries for privatisation is by starving them of funding until they are near collapse and then claiming that privatisation will provide more investment and improve services.

And this is what the Tories have been doing since they got into power eleven or so years ago. The NHS is in crisis with cancelled operations and treatment due to priority being given to combating the Coronavirus. But the Tories never waste a crisis, and they are using it to demand further privatisation. The mad internet radio host, Alex Belfield, released a video last week yet again demanding the privatisation of the NHS because of the crisis and the suffering it was causing his listeners, some of whom had relatives die as a result.

I have every sympathy for them. But the truth is that people are suffering and dying not because of any inherent fault of the NHS but because it is deliberately being run down so the Tories can privatise it.

Boris and his cronies would like to take us to a completely private healthcare system, financed through private health insurance. And if that happens, people will once again have to pay money simply to see a doctor.

And so we come back to the question: do you have the equivalent of $200 to see a doctor? Because this is what it’s going to cost you if Johnson and the private American healthcare companies that want a bit of NHS action get their way.

NHS SOS: Further Resources against NHS Privatisation

June 19, 2016

NHS SOS pic

As well as the information and resources Michelle has kindly posted as a comment to my piece on the cuts to the service at my local health centre as a result of the government’s creeping privatisation of the NHS, I’m also putting up the list of further resources included in Jacky Davis’ and Raymond Tallis’ book, NHS SOS. This is a very detailed description of the long campaign against the NHS from Maggie Thatcher onwards, and in particular its latest phase introduced by Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act of 2012. As well as describing the attacks on the NHS, the book also includes chapters on the failure of the press and medical profession as a whole to bring down the whole process of privatisation when they could. It’s a very good book, clearly written, but it will leave you depress and furious.

It also the following resources people can use to fight the cuts and privatisation. Here they are:

National Campaigns on the NHS

* Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) – runs a national campaign as well as local groups across England. Campaigns for a publicly funded, publicly delivered and publicly accountable NHS. Website: http://www.keepournhspublic.com; Twitter @keepnhspublic.

* London Health Emergency (LHE) – campaigning against cuts, closures and the privatisation of the NHS since 1983. Website: http://www.healthemergency.or.uk; Twitter @JohnRLister

* NHS Support Federation – an independent pressure group that campaigns to protect and improve the NHS, true to its founding principles.

* National Health Action Party (NHAP) – campaigning for a publicly funded, publicly delivered and publicly accountable NHS.
Website: http://www.nationalhealthaction.org.uk; Twitter @NHAparty.

Allied Organisations

* Centre for Health and the Public Interest – a new independent health think tank.
Website: http://chpi.org.uk; Twitter CHPIthinktank.

* Medsin – Student network and registered charity tackling global and local health inequalities through education, advocacy and community action.

Website: http://www.medsin.org/; Twitter @medsinuk

* NHS Consultants Association – organisation of hospital doctors who support the NHS and campaign to end market-based policies.
Website: http://wwwnhsca.org.uk/

* OpenDemocracy – ‘free thinking for the world’. Running ‘OurNHS’, a new three-year project dedicated to reinstating a genuine National Health Service in England.
Website: http://www.operdemocracy.net/ournhs/about; Twitter: ‘OurNHS_oD

* Spinwatch – works for lobbying transparency, promotes greater understanding of the role of PR and propaganda.
Website: http://www.spinwatch.org/; Twitter @Spinwatch.

* 38 Degrees – online organisation that brings people together to take action on the issues ‘that matter to you and bring about real change’.
Website: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/; Twitter: ’38_degrees

Further Reading and Watching

* Health Policy Reform: Global Health versus Private Profit, by John Lister (Libri Publishing, 2013).

* NHS plc: The Privatisation of Our Health Care by Allyson M. Pollock (Verso Books, 2004).

* The Plot Against the NHS by Colin Leys and Stewart Player (Merlin Press, 2011).

* Privatising the World: A Study of International Privatization in Theory and Practice by Olive Letwin (Cengage learning EMEA, 1988).

* ‘The NHS and the Section 75 regulations: Where next?’ by Bob Hudson. Guardian healthcare network, 30 April 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/healthcare-network/2013/apr/30/nhs-section-75-regulations-where-next. This helpful article covers some additional actions that can be taken by opponents of the health care reforms.

* Conflicts of Interest and NHS Privatisation, video by the National Health Action Party, http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/component/k2/item/s441-conflicts-of-interest-and-the-privatisation-of-the-nhs.

* Take a Tour of Lansley’s Private Healthcare Supporters.
Video by Spinwatch, http://www.spinwatch.org/index.php/component/k2/item/S336-take-a-tour-of-Lansleys-private-health-care-supporters.

* The Spirt of ’45, a film by Ken Loach, for screenings and availability, see http://www.thespiritof45.com.