It was very heartening to read the piece by Lyn Barton, relaying Rik Evans great concern about privatisation in our NHS (“Fears ‘creeping privatisation’ will create a credit card healthcare system”, WMN, August 7). Reporter Lyn Barton gave us an inside look into the medical services in the USA and her own view of what we will certainly lose.
The WMN kindly published an opinion piece by me titled “Going, going, almost gone – your NHS” (October 27, 2005). The editor had written this above it – “In 1997, the incoming New Labour Government asserted the NHS would be ‘safe’ under its watch. But the opposite has proved to be the case, argues David Halpin, a retired surgeon living on Dartmoor, who says this public asset is being privatised by stealth.” More warnings followed.
The long piece concluded that “once the NHS is asunder, it will never be repaired”.
Before this last election and the formation of a coalition government, David Cameron assured us that there would be “no top re-organisation of the NHS”. Instead we had the Health and Social Care Act of April 1, 2012. Of the eight convulsions of NHS management since the launch of the NHS in 1948, this present one is Richter Scale 10.
The NHS arose out of the post Second World War consensus. People had fought hard and sacrificed a great deal. They wanted equity and to treat each other with humanity. In those depressed pre-war years some mothers searched for a shilling to pay the general practitioner. Then she decided which of two sick children was the sicker.
This is part of a quotation from Nye Bevan, one of the architects – “...financial anxiety in time of sickness is a serious hindrance to recovery, apart from its unnecessary cruelty. It insists that no society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means”.
So I was overjoyed to read the very good article by Ellen Hawley in Friday’s WMN (“Privatisation is destroying all that is precious in the NHS”). She finishes: “The National Health Service is not without its problems, but privatisation will destroy what’s best about it. It’s a national treasure, and it needs our help.”
We are very glad Ellen that you and your partner came to our beautiful shores and that you are telling what many British do not seem to know.
A frequent refrain is “we can no longer afford the NHS”.
As Rik Evans said, it has been determined as the most efficient health system in the modern economies. And that is reflected in the fact that the NHS consumes 9% of GDP, compared with 18% in the USA. Yes – 18.
And all the reforms and the funny money to privatise our NHS into thousands of fragments are mostly coming from the USA.
The choice is either to lie down, or to stand up and with massive public knowledge and resistance, ensure a generous vision lasts for decades more.