Dear David Cameron
People believed you when you said that the NHS was safe in your hands because you spoke so gratefully about the care that your son received. For the same reason, people believed you when you said that you understood the extra costs and difficulties of disability and long-term sickness.
I have no reason to believe other than that you loved your son but it seems that your care and concern does not extend to other people’s children with illnesses or disabilities.
Why else could you have you forced through the Welfare Reform bill which halves the support given to most disabled children?
Family Action estimates that around 100,000 families with disabled children could lose support as a result of this change. This will include many of the very poorest families, already struggling to make ends meet whilst caring for a disabled child.
Go on to any of the disability websites and read the agonizing stories of those who are affected by the cutting of £18 billion from the benefits bill. It is horrifying. For example go to: http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.com/
The ‘disability’ benefits were already inadequate before you and George Osborne came out with your cynical self-justification that ‘we’re all in it together’ so everyone must share the burden including the very poorest!
But even more obscenely, you know that all of this is based on one big lie.
The big lie is that you inherited a country crippled by the previous government’s overspending on public services, and that we were in danger of a sovereign debt crisis. Will Hutton calls the suggestion ‘risible’. This ‘lie’ has been refuted by so many serious economists, including Nobel prize winners like Stiglitz and Krugman, that you should be squirming with embarrassment every time you say it. And no matter how many times you or your LD fellow travellors, repeat the lie, it simply does not make it any more true!
In spite of all your fine words about the NHS, you know that your real plans for the NHS under the Health and Social Care bill is to create a US style of health care .. why do you ignore the advice of people who have both personal and professional experience of the US system? … people like the Harvard academics Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein who conclude that the appropriate response to the US experience with such policies is “quarantine, not replication”. (1)
You are steadfastly ignoring all the protests and advice, whether public or professionals. Why?
Do not tell us this is about making the NHS more affordable and efficient.
According to the World Health Organisation, in 2008 the United States spent 15.2% of GDP on healthcare, the highest spend per head of any country, while the UK spent 8.7%, ranking it 19th. Studies ranking quality of care and efficiency across different national health systems always list the UK system as giving better outcomes at under half the cost of the US system; they routinely find that the NHS is top or near the top on outcomes and is near unbeatable for value for money. (1)
Do not tell us that this about improved care.
In 2011, medical negligence QC John Whitting has written that he expects negligence cases to soar as a result of the roll-out of competitive commissioning. He stated that in a competitive model: “fewer doctors and fewer nurses will have to work longer shifts: in other words, the very environment in which mistakes are most likely to happen…… These proposals are patently driven by commercial imperatives rather than by consideration of patient wellbeing.” (1)
Do not tell us that this is about patient choice or making the health service more accountable.
Under competition and trade law private sector market participants have legal rights to maintain that access on equal terms with all other providers, including the public sector. Such rights are enforceable in the UK and EU courts and through World Trade Organisation arbitration. The Bill as it stands would introduce a system creating such rights for any “qualified” for-profit provider of healthcare services, in a market of providers offered to patients as options for their health provision. (1)
As Allyson Pollock writes of the legal implications of the Health and Social Care bill:
‘An analysis of its key legal reforms demonstrates that it provides a legal basis for charging and for providing fewer health services to fewer people in England. [Read more]
Essentially, the bill will transfer the decision-making powers from the secretary of state to new clinical commissioning groups, local authorities, and commercial companies.
Under the bill, public health functions, such as vaccination, screening services and promotion of healthy lifestyles, would also be delegated to local authorities and may be chargeable.
Furthermore, the government has indicated that a wide range of services may not be mandated in future.
The reform signals the basis for a shift from a mainly tax-financed health service to one in which patients may have to pay for services currently free at point of delivery. The government has been unable to show, as it has argued, that these changes are “vital”. It does not have a mandate for this radical alteration of health care financing and it has avoided informed debate of the principle. Read article
The truth is that all of these changes are driven by US healthcare corporations. For over 30y they have plotted how to substantially profit from the tax stream from government that goes into the welfare state. Providing those commodities that people are always going to need, such as health, education, local government services, the utilities and so on, is both secure and easy pickings. Furthermore, the intention is to lock in these changes under WTO arbitration so that future governments will be unable to reverse this privatisation.
You have colluded with corporations and finance to ensure that we will be living in a ‘Predator State’. The very last thing that you are interested in, is to keep the NHS safe for the benefit of the people. You are happy to be the PM of a government which is the monopoly collector of taxes and distributor of the spoils to the private sector’.
Warren Buffet was right when he said this is class war – and that your class and his are winning.
‘The competition-based reform of the NHS constitutes a reckless and dangerous gamble with the NHS, and with the health of this nation. The Bill is a chaotic muddle, based on a model that the evidence shows to be more expensive than the current system while producing inferior outcomes. It should be dropped.’ (1)