This is insightful:
by Dr Bob Gill
The latest assault on the NHS involves the imposition of a new contract for junior doctors that will see their salaries slashed by 30%, with a requirement for evening and Saturday work.
The excuse used to justify this change is to provide a seven-day service and improve patient outcomes on weekends.
The reality is that more qualified staff are being driven out in preparation for the de-skilling that is always part of healthcare privatisation and corporate takeover. For the UK, this is mapped out in the Five Year Forward View by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England. Stevens used to be an executive of the US based private health care company, UnitedHealth.
What all junior doctors – and the rest of us – need to know
Many junior medics – which means all doctors not yet senior enough to work in consultant positions – have been stirred into action, but it is crucial for them to understand the context of their current predicament to mount an effective campaign to protect patients, restore decent treatment of staff and block the completion of the privatisation of the NHS.
But first, a little history lesson…
Conversion from the NHS model, a publicly funded, provided and universal system, to a private insurance model has been proposed for decades.
In 1968 Arthur Seldon, later Margaret Thatcher’s privatisation policy adviser, produced a pamphlet for the Institute of Economic Affairs called After the NHS, explaining the aspiration to “improve the NHS” by abolishing it, so as to build profit opportunities for the insurance industry.
Further incarnations of this plan to enable the insurance industry to increase its profits in the UK by destroying the NHS surfaced in the 1980s. These included Health of Nations by the Adam Smith Institute and, in 1988, Britain’s Biggest Enterprise: Ideas for Radical Reform of the NHS. The latter was the vision of current Conservative Minister of State for Government Policy, Oliver Letwin MP, in the NHS privatisation manifesto he authored with John Redwood MP, published by the Centre for Policy Studies, a Thatcherite think-tank.
The stealth privatisation of the NHS had quietly begun under the Thatcher administration and has continued unabated ever since. The sole attempt to bring the plan out of the shadows, its presentation to a Conservative cabinet in 1983, was so roundly rejected that the decision was taken to complete the privatisation by covert means, under a series of false narratives to distract the public from what was really going on.
This has involved a number of seemingly disparate measures, from the outsourcing of non-clinical services, to the introduction of market bureaucracy, splitting up of the hospital network into independent Trusts and the usurious Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme, designed to create an opportunity to gouge the public purse through inflating the costs of funding new hospital building. Started on John Major’s watch, PFI continued under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Indeed, Blair’s New Labour government enthusiastically continued with the privatisation project, while maintaining the deceptions contained within successive pointless top-down reorganisations. hese actually took the NHS further down the privatisation road, precisely following the steps laid out in the Health of Nations NHS privatisation plan.
Why the hell didn’t we know about this?
Consecutive governments have diligently obscured the intent of health reforms with spin and misdirection, while senior NHS positions have often been filled by those who would not be likely to point out these lies to their medical colleagues and the public. The success of the project depended on public ignorance and distracting attention with myth creation. The propaganda agents include large sections of the media, in particular the BBC. Our public service broadcaster has avoided scrutinising health reforms and instead simply regurgitates government spin, peddles myths and presents pro-privatisation think tanks as if they were independent.
In contrast, growing public and professional protest has been conveniently ignored. It is censorship by omission.
The British Medical Association (BMA) has spent the last two decades gently nodding through marketisation and privatisation under the guise of ‘critical engagement’. They have provided no effective challenge to government policy, and kept members in the dark to a degree that could suggest complicity at leadership level. Genuine opposition by BMA leaders to the Health and Social Care Act 2012 could have prevented the NHS being carved up for profiteers for example.
What state is the NHS in now?
The NHS has been fundamentally transformed in the last 20 years. Our nationally integrated hospital network has been split up into distinct business units (“foundation trusts”), which were deliberately burdened with PFI millstones which would throw them into insolvency as soon as a funding squeeze was applied to trigger this at the right time for privatisation….
Read on http://koshh.org/the-connection-between ... of-the-nhs