Friday 21 February 2014

The destruction of the NHS

I realise that because of my tendency to present lots of facts and conduct rigorous analysis on them, my articles are usually extremely long. Today I am going to try very hard to write a short and concise article about what is happening to the NHS.

Before the Tory party were enabled back into power by the Liberal Democrats, the NHS was one of the most efficient and popular health services in the world. In fact, public satisfaction with the service reached an all-time high immediately before the Tories got their hands on it.

Before the election David Cameron lied, and, lied, and lied about his intentions towards the NHS.
  • David Cameron  said "no more top-down reorganisations of the NHS" - then launched the biggest top-down reorganisation in the entire history of the institution.
  • David Cameron promised that he wouldn't privatise the NHS - then proceeded to carve it up into little pieces and sell them off to the private sector.
  • David Cameron said that the NHS would be safe in his hands - then set about deliberately dismantling it from within.
The true Tory intentions towards the NHS should have been obvious. The Tory party has an ideological hatred of the public sector and consider the NHS an abomination. They know that more than 80% of the public support the NHS, so they very rarely admit their desire to dismantle it, but sometimes the truth slips out.
  • In 2004 Tory MP Oliver Letwin reportedly bragged to a private meeting that the Tories would destroy the NHS "within five years" of getting back into power. [source]
  • In 2009 Tory MEP Daniel Hannan described the NHS as a "60 year mistake" and rubbished the service on Fox News. [source]
  • In 2009 three Tory MPs (Michael Gove, Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt) called for the NHS to be dismantled. [source] Incredibly Jeremy Hunt is now the government health secretary, meaning that he is in charge of an organisation that he has openly stated that he wants to dismantle.
  • In 2011 the former Tory leadership candidate Michael Portillo admitted that Cameron and the Tories had lied to the public about their intentions towards the NHS: "They did not believe they could win an election if they told you what they were going to do because people are so wedded to the NHS." [source]
Since the Tories and Lib-Dems voted through their Health and Social Care Backdoor Privatisation of the NHS Bill, £1.5 billion worth of NHS services have been sold off to Tory party donors.

It is incontestable that the NHS is currently being dismantled from within. The government had absolutely no mandate to do this because they didn't mention it in their manifesto (and in fact they repeatedly lied that they wouldn't do it). It is also incontestable that many of the biggest financial beneficiaries of this sell-off are direct donors to the Tory party.

The Tories are trying to convert the NHS from the public service model to the profit driven US model (even though studies have found the US system to be less efficient than the UK system, despite being the most expensive in the world). They are hoping that if they just keep the NHS signs on the outside of the hospitals, nobody will notice that everything inside has been sold off, or given away to the private sector.

Not only are health outcomes much poorer in the US, prices are much higher too. The Washington Post found that countless drugs, treatments and services were vastly more expensive in the US than they were in the NHS. Privatisation represents extremely poor value for the taxpayer, but then the Tories are not interested in value for the taxpayer in the slightest, what they are interested in is allowing their corporate chums to extract as much profit from every aspect of human existence as possible.

One other factor which is very rarely considered is the inflexibility that privatisation builds into the system. If the NHS signs a 30 year PFI contract for a hospital, or hands out a 25 year contract for some private health company to provide an NHS service, these contracts can only be escaped from at enormous cost in compensation. Even modifying the contracts to take account of changing needs is extraordinarily expensive. This private sector inflexibility is precisely the reason that in March 2014 Jeremy Hunt awarded himself the power to shut down any NHS hospital, no matter how good it is, in just 40 days. If a neighbouring PFI hospital or private service is losing loads of money and providing terrible services, the Tories can now quickly shut down a neighbouring NHS run hospital to cut costs, no matter how efficiently it is run, nor how high the quality of service.

On the whole, the mainstream media oligopoly have no interest in explaining the truth about the dismantling of the NHS, they're more interested in spreading Tory anti-NHS propaganda and recycling the absurd narrative that privatising NHS services to make it more like the American system will make it more "efficient".

This failure of the press to accurately explain what is going on means it is increasingly down to the public themselves to spread the truth about what is happening. You can help to spread the word by sharing this article and/or sharing the picture to the right.

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