NHS fees strategy is a turning point in privatisation

protest agains the health and social care bill

A protest in 2011 towards the health and social care bill, which ‘opened the floodgates for complete-scale privatisation of the NHS’. Photograph: Demotix / melpressmen/Demotix/Press Association Pictures

The kite flown by a rightwing thinktank that everyone must have to shell out for access to healthcare (£10 each and every can conserve the NHS, 31 March) marks a critical turning point in switching in the direction of a fully paid-for overall health services. This approach has been lengthy planned. 1st Blair encouraged and then pressured NHS hospitals into turning into independent basis trusts, self-standing suppliers within a competitive industry. Cameron took this considerably additional by ruling that all NHS functions would be open to tender by any experienced supplier. The Lansley overall health and social care bill, hatched in deepest secrecy before the 2010 election with not a word about it in the Tory manifesto so that it had no electoral mandate, opened the floodgates for full-scale privatisation of the NHS. But usually the mantra was repeated that the NHS would continue to be “cost-free at the stage of support”. Now that assurance is being kicked away.

The thinktank authors decry the NHS as “an outdated, cosseted and unaffordable healthcare technique”. They do not mention that the Tory government has deliberately imposed a £20bn reduce in NHS funding in excess of the existing five-12 months time period to place it below intolerable strain and perhaps breakdown in purchase to pave the way for a gradual switch to a entirely paid-for personal support, which has often been their secret aim, just like prior to 1948. Nor do they mention that the NHS, at a price of 8% of GDP, is the most expense-productive in the world, half the comparative expense of the private US healthcare technique.

We now see why the Tories have been so keen to demean the NHS on each and every event in excess of the past couple of months. Cue the want to junk the previous, failing NHS and announce the dawn of a brand-new, burnished private healthcare method – and at a bargain price of £10 a month. But keep in mind tuition charges: capped at £3,000, then trebled. If every Uk grownup paid £10 a month, this new tax would increase £5.4bn. Treble that, or a lot more, and we’re speaking significant cash for the healthcare privateers.
Michael Meacher MP
Labour, Oldham West and Royton

• How dare Norman Warner and Jack O’Sullivan denigrate the NHS in such strident terms? I refer them to the meticulously documented report in August 2013 by Dr Don Berwick, who was commissioned to investigate patient security in the NHS. Berwick recognised that healthcare is political and that the existing sustained denigration of the NHS is an ideological campaign which smears “a globe-leading instance of dedication to health and healthcare as a human correct” that should be emulated, and that even though the NHS does have patient safety troubles, so “does each other healthcare technique in the world”. Noting that huge changes are needed, Berwick also says the achievements of the NHS are enormous and suggests that “drama, accusations and overstatement” are ideal avoided.

Reform, which published Warner and O’Sullivan’s report, believes that “by liberalising the public sector, breaking monopoly and extending option”, high-high quality solutions can be made available to absolutely everyone. Current experiences with private companies to the NHS in Cornwall and Suffolk, for instance, indicate otherwise. Reform was set up by a Conservative MP and a Tory strategist. The membership of Reform’s advisory board displays that it is funded by private businesses, with chief executives, chairmen and directors of main pharmaceutical organizations, worldwide investment banking institutions, and accountancy firms constituting the vast majority of board members. Could there be an ideological or probably even some other agenda right here?
Gwen Parr
Pulborough, West Sussex

• It is very misleading to describe the thinktank Reform as “independent”. In 2012, its leading six funders incorporated Prudential Insurance coverage, KMPG (consultants concerned with the NHS), McKesson (a pharmaceutical distributor and healthcare data business), Baxter (a private healthcare company) and BMI (which runs 66 hospitals and treatment centres in the country). These organisations all have a vested curiosity in the tendering out and privatisation (“reform”) of the NHS and in reviews that help the idea of charging for NHS companies.
Sean de Podesta

• It would have been excellent if the Guardian had described Norman Warner’s and Reform’s vested interest in criticising the NHS. Warner is an advisory board member of Synlab, a German company involved in NHS privatisation, although Reform is funded by BMI Healthcare, Serco and Sodexo – organisations that have significantly to acquire from the break-up of the heath services (hat-tip to @SolHughesWriter on Twitter for this data).
Ian Sinclair


• The suggestion of an NHS membership fee is the newest instance of weird and unsocial reasoning. Folks apparently won’t place up with tax rises to assist the NHS so let us complicate matters by charging charges. How does that help – except if the motive is to exclude these unable to shell out the fee from NHS solutions? The denigration of tax leads to decrease taxes, major to reductions in public services, which leads to the wealthy paying for private medicine, personal education and, one day no doubt, private street lighting and refuse collections, leaving the dispossessed with ever-dwindling providers.
Peter Cave

• Alternatively, Warner and O’Sullivan could propose a .05% rise in income tax, to raise approximately the exact same sum, but with no added collection charges, as opposed to their scheme, which, if it is something like road tax, would lose over half the amount collected in administration.
Rod Parfitt
Cleeve, Somerset

• I go through with curiosity your report on a potential £10 per month membership for the NHS. As a surgeon in the NHS, 1 of the key issues I encounter with planned and emergency surgery is weight problems. Most obese patients are aware of the overall health consequences of their weight problems nevertheless, they will not look to know of the hazards they encounter for stomach surgical treatment. Simply moving them on and off an operating tables can be hazardous for the employees alone. The dangers of surgical procedure and submit-operative problems can lead to a prolonged recovery with a threat of main disability. Possibly there need to be an elevated membership fee in line with BMI?
Kathryn McCarthy
Consultant surgeon, Bristol

• Great juxtaposition of headlines on page two on Monday: “Spend £10 a month to use the NHS” and “Poorest properties face £120 council tax rise as security net goes”.
Jeanne Warren
Garsington, Oxfordshire

• The wellness sector regulator Check is committed to parity of esteem for bodily and psychological health providers, and is not recommending that funding for psychological overall health providers need to be cut by twenty% much more than for acute hospitals (Mental health solutions want targeted investment, not even far more cuts, 26 March). Beneath the NHS payment technique, national rates are not set for psychological health services. Pricing choices for psychological wellness companies are manufactured at regional level by commissioners and suppliers, who are anticipated to have regard to the national principles but can make their very own value adjustments where there are very good causes to do so.
Professor Ric Marshall
Director of pricing, Keep track of

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