Govt forced to put breaks on NHS privatisation in England


Well, some good news. I don’t doubt that its happened because of the pressure from below, the many protests against cuts and closures have led to an awareness that the health service is under threat.

The title of this news item is “NHS private sector deals scrapped“, but don’t for one minute think that New Labour has lost this battle – promises have been made to investors concerning Darzi’s polyclinics plan…

The government is rowing back on its use of the private sector for NHS care by scrapping a series of projects.

Six clinics in the pipeline and another already up-and-running will fold at a cost of millions of pounds as they do not provide good value, ministers said.

In recent years, the government in England have signed deals with firms to provide NHS treatment and diagnostic centres in a bid to cut waiting times.

Doctors said the waste of money was a “crying shame”.

It comes after Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced in July there would be no third wave of independent sector treatment centres.

It’s pretty sickening that the privateers are treated better than patients they profit from. The FT notes:

In an attempt to appease the private sector, Mr Johnson yesterday promised a campaign to raise the awareness of patients’ right to choose, and a new advisory forum of private providers.

In public, the private operators reacted with restraint at the cutbacks. In private, they were furious.

Neil Bentley, the CBI’s public services director, said the decisions were “a Christmas present for opponents of reform” and that “patients are the losers”.

Karen Jennings, head of health at the trade union Unison, welcomed the government’s “change of emphasis” on private sector involvement, as the Conservatives accused ministers of “incompetence” after spending tens of millions of pounds on the failed bids.

I doubt that the whole farce of private sector involvement in the NHS – back-door privatisation – would have happened if England had a devolved parliament, like Scotland and Wales, instead of having health policy being the preserve of the UK government.

An English parliament with proportional representation would enable the working class movement to mount an effective political challenge to the three big parties and their policies of war and privatisation…


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