The cross-party Health and Social Care Select Committee slammed the “absence of a credible government strategy” on the NHS.
Sadly, we think the government’s strategy is quite clear – it is just not what they have been telling us it is.
The Health and Care Act has given ministers all the powers they need to migrate the UK health system towards the US model.
A predictable disaster for patients and taxpayers, but a $28 billion profit opportunity for their donors.
Naturally, the government denies all of this – but the facts are clear.
When the Health and Care Bill was presented, we launched a petition asking for its worst features to be amended so that it could not be used to facilitate a move towards a US-style healthcare system in the UK. The reasons for our concern and the amendments we felt were the minimum necessary to make the Bill safe are set out here. In brief, our concern is that healthcare is such a huge profit opportunity that the interests of UK citizens will take second place to those of shareholders in healthcare companies. We estimate that healthcare companies are eyeing a $28 billion profit opportunity.
When our petition passed the 10,000 mark, the government was obliged to respond. And they did so with a set of answers which implied, “there is nothing to worry about in the Bill; the NHS is perfectly safe now and forever, so we do not intend to amend the Bill.”
Unfortunately, a careful reading of the response suggests that it offers no credible reassurance. The Bill remains extremely dangerous to the UK healthcare system.
There is unlikely to be a “big sell-off” of the NHS, but we shall be thrown-out, squeezed-out and contracted-out into the private sector.
When costs rise, ordinary people suffer.
Two thirds of US bankruptcies are down to their healthcare system.
This is not down to incompetence.
The Lords saw the risks and proposed suitable amendments. The government rejected them.
It is too late now to stop the Bill.
But it is not too late to save the NHS.
The Government has now passed its Health & Care Bill into law. Some of its ideas are sensible: better integration between health and social care could be valuable.
But many patients’ groups and members of the medical profession are concerned that it paves the way for moving towards a US-style healthcare system, which as the chart shows is not a good benchmark, and that its provisions may lead to further privatisation and give ministers powers to award contracts to favoured companies without scrutiny or challenge.
We share their concerns and set up a project, jointly with the National Health Action Party, the first phase of which was to analyse the provisions of the Bill, to assess which were positive suggestions and which could be dangerous for the NHS, and to share our findings with MPs and campaigning groups working on the issue. You can read our initial findings here. Here is our Submission to the House of Lords. And here is an easy way to show your support for the NHS.
The team has now begun Phase 2 of the project which is looking at setting out the Health & Care system the UK needs and deserves. This will be a practical fact-based vision of a system which will again be world-leading, as the NHS was as recently as 2017.