For Richer for Poorer, In Sickness and in Health

The Socialist Labour Party

Labour were elected in 1945 and brought in a welfare state which the British could be proud of. It was a brave government, and while we look back and admire , it seems our current politicians are too afraid to emulate the likes of Aneurin Bevan and Clement Atlee. Of what are they afraid? Giving the people of this country what we need, what we respect and what we cherish should be every politician’s dream. As we cross the threshold from 2011 and into 2012, we can glance back and may feel regret and shame and yet we must look forward with hope, with determination, and with realisation that we can together fight and save our NHS from being dismantled and privatised.

Labour have promised to repeal the Health Bill which the Tory and Liberal Democrat Coalition are determined to put through. I believe that time will come but not before there has been a great deal of pain to induce a wake-up-call. The privatisation of the NHS began long ago, and New Labour and Blairites plotted and conspired to achieve this, to Labour’s eternal shame, with the knowledge that privatisation of the NHS would be the most unpopular policy which could be considered. The Plot against the NHS describes the covert plot clearly. Sadly it is clear that there are still some misplaced politicians within the Labour Party who support the privatisation.

The evidence for the privatisation of The Health Service is clear. There is no doubt.


The corruption of the pharmaceutical industry is well known.

(See The Human Body, a Source of Profit, Think Left)

FOR RICHER, FOR POORER…..

The Plot against the NHS details how many companies are now poised to become substantially richer as wholesale privatisation of the NHS in England becomes a reality.

“By 2010 the private health sector in England was still very modest by international standards. Anyone who has needed health care while on holiday is likely to have become aware that much health-care provision on the continent is private. People there are covered for most (though often not all) of the cost of care through insurance, while often having to pay fees as well ( and in some countries substantial under-the counter payments).

The contrast with the UK is striking. The private healthcare sector is still unfamiliar to anyone who doesn’t have private medical insurance. But it is no longer confined to a small niche of expensive hospital treatments for purely private patients. It has been growing fast, and is increasingly confident that it is on the brink of a dramatic expansion of scale and power. Government policy since 2000 has consistently aimed at producing this result. Mr Lansley’s plan, if successful, is set to complete the process, finally seeing free a market dynamic that will transform the publicly owned health service built up over the decades since 1948 into a two or three tier market system in which private health companies of various kinds will make a great deal of money.

  • The South African Netcare opened a large chain of private hospitals. This company along with Spire, Nuffield Health, Ramsay and HCA dominate the UK private health market.
  • United Health now has contracts to provide GP services in England.
  • Care UK and Tribal have profited from non-hospital healthcare.
  • Harmoni has annual revenues of £50 million from services supplied to the NHS.
  • ISS Mediclean, Compass Medirest, Sodexo, Mitie, Interserve, Serco, OCS have revenues totalling £2 Bn per year.
  • Connecting for Health among others have made a lot of money out of NHS IT systems.
  • The PFI programme in healthcare has proved extremely lucrative for a host of banks, private equity financiers, construction companies and facilities management providers,
  • Think-Left has reported here on the involvement of the insurance company Unum, who stand to benefit from cuts in welfare reform for the long-time sick.
  • Think-Left has reported here on how the drug firm Pfizer has been closely involved in Think Tanks.
  • Think Left has reported here that elected politicians have close links with financial institutions and has questioned the integrity of the democratic process, and where the real power lies.

Treasury figures show that 106 NHS PFI schemes signed by September 2009 had a total capital value of £11 Billion, but ongoing payments to these companies over the next three decades will amount to a further £58 billion. Of this, £7.1 billion are due in five years from 2010/11 to 2015/16 which corresponds to almost half of the savings the NHS is expected to make in this period.

The plot has been well planned indeed, and it is shameful for those who abuse political power entrusted to them by the British People. Corruption has been so widespread that it is no wonder that people have no faith in politicians. We need another Aneurin Bevan, another Tony Benn. We do not need any more politicians who seek to further careers, and help out their friends. One example among many is that of Mark Hunt, a senior adviser in The Department of Health’s strategy unit. He played a leading role in the production of a White Paper and cited Mercury Health. Before the paper he helped to write was published he was working for Mercury.

There are `Think Tanks’ which have been influential in forming policy when it can be shown clearly that they are acting in their own interests.

This is no democracy. This could be described as fraudulent.

One Think-Tank King’s Fund (originally established in 1897) now focuses on improving health-care in England, in 2009 its income was £13.7 million, and much is subsidised by the tax-payer. While the King’s Fund insists on independence, its board of trustees includes advisors to Tony Blair, and it has links with the Nuffield Trust. Other Think Tanks with a significant health focus include the Reform Research Trust, Civitas, The Health Foundation Policy Exchange, The Social Market Foundation and the Instistute for Economic Affairs. Of these, only the Health Foundation , chaired by the former NHS chief executive Sir Alan Langlands, is not openly committed to a healthcare market.

…..IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH?

The NHS pledged to be free at the point of need. All contributed through National Insurance and contributions based on income. For years people have paid their contributions throughout their working lives, knowing and believing that the NHS would always be there for them should they fall ill. Health Education, and prevention of illness through immunisations has also been of great importance and has been so successful that, in general, life expectancy under the NHS has increased by eight years since 1970.

But what has happened to those contributions and to the assets accrued? Can we still be reassured that we will continue to all receive excellent quality health-care? Can we expect to receive that quality health care free at the point of need which we have paid for? Will immunisations be affordable for all, or just for the rich so that we can begin to see epidemics of avoidable diseases. Will we continue to be cared for in sickness in health until death do us part, from cradle to grave?

I suspect not. Already we have seen NHS maternity services privatised. Understaffing, unreasonable working conditions where doctors, midwives and nurses can work 13 hour shifts without a break must have an impact on quality of care. The government will be all too ready to say a hospital is failing and that privatisation is the answer. That is what they planned so cleverly. Research has proved otherwise but has not been published. The British people have been defrauded. Evercare was paid large sums of money to test England’s NHS efficiency re primary care. As it was discovered that England’s system of primary care could achieve what Evercare could achieve in the US where there was no free primary care, the results were not publicised widely. “It is not known whether the alternatives are more or less effective than Evercare. “

It has been announced that up to 49% of beds in NHS hospitals may now be for private patients – in other words, those who can pay will get care, will have “choice”, will “jump the queue”, while those who cannot will have to make do with inferior care.

What differences will we see in our hospitals, in our care services? It is inevitable that we will see the re-emergence of unequal treatment. If you are admitted to hospital you may be aware of others in private rooms getting better accommodation and more attention. Clinical and other staff will be pressurised to divert attention towards private patients. Patients will be increasingly invited to “go private” as we see the quality of care deteriorate.

This was not the NHS which was envisaged by Aneurin Bevan. This is not the NHS which the British people have paid for. This is, without doubt, a means for some to reap the rewards of rubbing shoulders with politicians who were elected to represent the British people. It is time for change. It is time for truth.

Labour’s promise to overturn the privatisation of our NHS needs support and a united voice to ensure Labour is elected with an overall majority at the next General Election to achieve its aims and to emulate Atlee’s government of ’45. We must all work together and ensure the message is heard, that Labour is not allowed to creep to the right again. The Left and Socialist Labour must win this argument. Together we can fight this, and we can start now. The consequences of a divided left cannot be contemplated.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

  • Join the Labour Party and be heard. Don’t walk away because of the shame of New Labour. We should fight and reclaim the Labour Party for the people. The Blairites are very much in the minority in the Labour Party despite being given a platform by the media. The Labour Party set up the NHS and believes in a free and comprehensive health service.

Join Bevan’s Runners

January 10-15th, 2012. 160 miles in 6 days from Aneurin Bevan’s Statue in Cardiff to the Department of Health, Richmond House, Whitehall, London. To protest against the Health and Social Care Bill and NHS privatisation. Calling at Witney (David Cameron’s constituency).

Join half a million people Sign this Petition (38 degrees)

References and Further Reading:

The Plot against the NHS ( Colin Leys and Stewart Player), published 2011

NHS PLC The Privatisation of Our Health Care by Allyson M Pollock, published 2004

Why The NHS cannot be replaced by the Market. Richard Murphy, Tax Research UK

The Five Lies in the NHS Bill Michael Meacher MP

Bevan’s Runners

Keep our NHS Public Campaign

NHS Cuts Route Finder

From Think Left :

The Human Body, A source of Profit

Labour’s Finest

Unum and Welfare Reform

The Pfink Tank

Britain Under Siege

Public Service or Private Profit

6 thoughts on “For Richer for Poorer, In Sickness and in Health

  1. Pingback: Who said, “The NHS will be shown No Mercy”? | Think Left

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