A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
Unite’s campaign to stop the privatisation of the NHS Blood Service has received huge public support which is still growing. In under a week, the union’s petition demanding that David Cameron stops the blood money was signed by 25,000 people
The petition was launched last Friday 3rd March and the Twitter campaign #bloodmoney began yesterday 9 March. In just one day almost 10,000 signed up.
On 16 February, the Health Service Journal learned that the Department of Health’s commercial directorate held talks with private providers about running parts of the NHS Blood and Transplant service. Capita and DHL are understood to be interested in taking over parts of the service.
The campaign has struck a chord with the general public who have been signing up at record speed for a Unite union petition. The public are right to be concerned, a study conducted in New Zealand found that there was opposition to profit being made from blood, with 52% of donors unlikely to continue donating if this occurred (see link in notes to editors).
ONE of the most enduring image of last year’s General Election campaign was posters featuring David Cameron and his pledge to “cut the deficit, not the NHS”.
Many noted that his photograph had been airbrushed but it will not be so easy to paper over cracks in the Government’ health policies as this promise comes back to haunt the Prime Minister. Broken promises over the NHS are rarely forgiven by the electorate.
Despite escaping the worst of the cuts affecting the public sector, Mr Cameron was foolish – with hindsight – to guarantee real-term increases in NHS spending at a time of high inflation, as well as backing an unprecedented £20bn efficiency drive.
Now, and over coming months, this pa[i]nful reality will hit frontline services, with hospital bosses in Leeds preparing to announce details of a £55.5m programme of savings.
SOUTHPORT’S MP is at the forefront of a revolt against the Government’s wholesale reform of the NHS.
Lib Dem John Pugh has spoken out against divisive Coalition plans to impose free market-based competition in the health service
Health secretary Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill will hand 80% of the NHS budget to consortia of GPs, who will buy services from providers in the public, private and charity sectors.
Senior Westcountry Liberal Democrats have hit out at plans to “privatise” the NHS, as health reform is poised to be a major fault-line for the coalition.
Writing in today’s Western Morning News, Adrian Sanders, Lib Dem MP for Torbay, urges the Government to “seriously reconsider” proposals.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley wants to hand GPs £80 billion of the NHS budget, scrap existing local care trusts and increase the role of private companies in health provision. But Mr Sanders, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group for diabetes, argues that claims that “greater marketisation” will improve services is “unfounded”, and will lead to operations being cancelled.
As someone who knows firsthand how the profit motive can wreck a healthcare system – leaving millions of people without coverage and millions of others unable to pay for care even if they do have insurance – I was alarmed to learn about the reforms to the NHS that Prime Minister David Cameron is advocating.
As Channel 4’s recent investigation revealed, those reforms could very easily incentivize GPs to make decisions based on profits instead of clinical need.
To understand how devastating that could be to the people of England, all one has to do is look at the American healthcare system.
Until 2008, I was a top executive at one of America’s largest health insurance companies, CIGNA. The higher up the corporate ladder I climbed – to become head of public relations – the more I could see the often-devastating and even lethal consequences of insurers’ relentless quest for profits. I could not in good conscience continue promoting an industry whose routine practices – put in place to assure profitability – contribute to the unnecessary deaths of many of our citizens.
Addressing the NHS Innovation Expo in London, Earl Howe said that innovative ideas and services in the NHS worth £150bn should be sold abroad to drive growth in the UK economy.
Hospitals should treat more private and foreign patients, or open branches abroad to make money, he said.
Moorefields Eye Hospital already has a centre in Dubai that creates 2.4m for the NHS, he said.
The leader of Scotland’s GPs added his voice to the growing criticism of the health reforms that are being proposed in England. He raised concerns that the changes would commercialise the NHS and increase competition between GP providers.
Addressing the Annual Conference of Scottish Local Medical Committees (LMCs) in Clydebank, Dr Dean Marshall, Chairman of the BMA’s Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said:
“I want to send a message to our politicians in both England and Scotland. Our health service is not a factory, the health service cannot be treated like a commercial enterprise, our patients are not a commodity. We do not support the market based reforms being pushed through in England, where the consequences for patients could be severe indeed. Scotland’s GPs will support colleagues in England to preserve the founding principles of the NHS.”