Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

NHS is being set up for privatisation.


Polly Toynbee, in the Guardian, suggests that:

"Senior NHS managers regard Hunt as a dead man walking, who will be gone in the post-referendum reshuffle. But Cameron is as much to blame for this calamity, so will the next minister sent in continue this pointless confrontation? What the NHS needs is someone to navigate gently through these multiple crises, stop provoking staff and be willing to arm-wrestle new money out of the Treasury. God forbid the NHS will be inflicted with another eager politician hoping to make their name with yet another Big New NHS Idea."

This may be the view of 'Senior NHS managers', however, it seems likely that a much darker plot is afoot. By virtually any standards - the management of the NHS by the Tories has been appalling - most of the problems the service is experiencing could have been foreseen and measures taken to at least limit the difficulties. However, the worse the problems get - the more likely the public will accept greater privatisation of the service [if this is apparently the only way to get a reliable service] and the junior doctors are playing into Cameron/Osborne/Hunt's plans by taking strike action.

At an expected cost of £117 billion this financial year - the most profitable aspects of the service are already being privatised at every opportunity. Healthcare, after all, has the potential to provide immense profits for those in the business of supplying these services - for in the main, an unattended health problem will make the life of the sufferer very unpleasant and - whereas someone on an average income is able to cut back on most expenditure by one means or another - a health problem is seen as essential to correct. Make no mistake - an administration that is prepared to bomb Libya to remove Gaddafi - leading to tens of thousands of deaths - will be unconcerned if a few hundred or thousand should die as a result of a doctors strike.

This privatisation might be seen as a temporary problem that can be reversed by a left of centre administration sometime in the future - however this will become prohibitively expensive if TTIP is ratified before such an administration is in place - and this seems all but certain. Assuming the EU Referendum results in our remaining in the EU - which is most likely - TTIP will be ratified before this administration's term ends in 2020 and under this agreement, even in its mildest form, corporations whose contracts for healthcare that are terminated will be able to sue - not just for costs incurred plus reasonable damages - but for decades of anticipated profits ahead.

Many are under the impression that the NHS is excluded from the TTIP negotiations - however, this article in the Independent 'It's not Jeremy Hunt imposing a junior doctors' contract that will destroy the NHS – it's TTIP' explains how this is not the case. In fact the chances of the NHS surviving once this trade deal is ratified are quite remote - apart from those services where an acceptable outcome is virtually impossible to define [like mental health issues] and, with luck, a very basic service for those who cannot afford the cost of a healthcare plan. This will lead to many with curable conditions having to endure their effects indefinitely.

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