Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Day They Signed the Death Warrant For The NHS

It's not my headline. It's not the Guardian's. It's not in the Morning Star or the Socialist Worker

It's in the Daily Telegraph. And it goes on to say this, amongst other things.

This means that in these areas, the NHS will no longer exist. Sure, the logo will still be there, but the NHS will no longer be national, any more than British Telecom is.
There is no doubt that this signals the first wave of privatising the NHS. Yet MPs of all persuasions continue to be deluded.   

The White Paper is a docile, fluffy, patient-focused document, with much talk of choice and empowerment. This is in stark contrast to the Bill, which almost exclusively focuses on opening up the NHS to private providers. The Bill is written in dense legal terminology, making any detailed analysis time-consuming and difficult.
But anyone who does study it will find little more than a road map for destroying the NHS, turning it into a cash cow for the corporate sector. The focus is on transforming public sector provision into an entirely market-led system, throwing open every service to private providers.
Previous pieces of legislation that existed to ensure the NHS remained in public ownership are weakened or removed entirely in the Bill. Even the role of Secretary of State is altered so that he is no longer responsible for the NHS. There are 15 clauses (ss125-131, 168-175) that will allow private companies to buy and asset-strip NHS facilities. Clause s12 specifically enables the privatisation of high-security psychiatric services.
Does that sound as if the NHS, or the interests of patients, are being protected?

If the Daily Telegraph - the Tories' most loyal friend, and not known for its sympathy towards the public services - think that the NHS is being killed, then it's a) right and b) deeply worrying. 

The author even suggests that MPs are too lazy to read the Bill, and that the Prime Minister and Health Secretary are deliberately lying to us:

The health secretary and the Prime Minister assure us the NHS will not be privatised when the legislation they are pushing through explicitly suggests otherwise.
The Bill enters the report stage and third reading on September 6 and 7. At the end of this, MPs will be voting on the future of your NHS. Is it safe in their hands?

I think a reprieve may be too late. 

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