NHS Privatisation 40

An excellent posting here on the “lawmakers” who stand to make money out of turning over the NHS to private profit.

Is it fair to call this privatisation? The NHS will continue to be funded by taxpayers, but the primary motivation of those supplying the medical services will no longer be care or public service but private shareholder or partner profit, and the percentage of the taxpayers’ money paid for the NHS which ends up as shareholder or partner profit will exponentially increase. NHS hospitals will be allowed to give 49% of their beds over to private patients. I think it is fair to call this privatisation.

But it is also worth remembering that this process of the “marketisation” of the NHS was given a massive boost by New Labour in the 2006 Health Act under Blair and Milburn. As the research I linked to above makes plain, as usual all three neo-con parties are absolutely in it together. Maybe that’s what “We’re all in this together” really means.

What they are all in is the trough.

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40 thoughts on “NHS Privatisation

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  • Duncan McFarlane

    Worth reading the LSE study on competition in the NHS by Zack Cooper and friends just to see how empty Cooper’s claims that the study proves competition improves healthcare are.

    It’s measurements are of “efficiency” and “productivity” , not patient care – and the supposed measurements are how long it is between hip operation patients entering hospital and getting a hip operation – and how long between them getting the operation and leaving hospital, with the assumption being that the shorter the time in each case the more “efficient” or “productive” the hospital is. In fact a shorter stay could mean less pre-op preparation, tests and observation and ditto for post-op – and the study didn’t even look at whether the operations were a success, or whether the patients had to be readmitted later for more surgery or in fact any valid measure of quality of patient care whatsoever. I emailed him to ask him how he could use either factor as any kind of measure of efficiency or productivity let alone patient care. He didn’t reply.

  • sam

    One of the last pieces of honest, relatively independent research published by the Royal Economic Society: Competition and Quality: Evidence from the NHS Internal Market 1991–9† (Carol Propper, Simon Burgess, Denise Gossage), showed that ‘internal markets’ and competition has a negative correlation with death rates. Competition in the real world kills patients.

    Echoing Mary (9 Mar, 2012 – 9:59 am), for many patients (e.g. the elderly, the most vulnerable, those with chronic conditions, many women etc) in practice the NHS has already just about gone.
    The buildings and the staff are there but as a patient in a covertly restricted service group one can wait for months and years for appointments or one is deterred by discourteous even snarky dismissal of signs and symptoms that, 20yrs ago, would have been met with efficient respect at least.
    Dare to respectfully ask questions about such issues (because we have Patient Rights and Pledges and an NHS Constitution, right?) and one is immediately consigned to Room 101, treated as a ‘hostile’ or run ragged with red herrings and even mendacity – all completely unchallengeable in practice.

    The NHS stopped caring about patients long ago. Meanwhile, as Mary indicates, the sheeple persist in nurturing their delusions that we have a wonderful NHS and aren’t-we-lucky.
    Having been a lifelong supporter of the NHS, state education, police etc, personally now I can’t wait for the de facto dysfunctional NHS to be disbanded and replaced by private services. There’s an awful lot more customer respect from a doctor who has to personally hold out his hand to a patient for his daily crust.

    @ DownWithThisSortOfThing 10 Mar, 2012 – 10:15 am
    Urrrmm, you do know that Iceland has been going through the formal preparation stages for EUSSR accession, don’t you? Ergo, staged ‘elections’ of pre-selected leaders, loss of sovereignty and democracy…

  • Rota

    Standards in medicine are maintained not by patients but by the medical profession. This is so because a)patients generally do not have a clue whether or not they are managed well and b)the real skill is in managing the unusual, which – statistically – has little impact on the mean. (Those who doubt a) should consider the popularity of osteopathy and other “alternative” practices whose impact can only be psychological.)

    The last government did everything it could to destroy medicine as a profession, arrogating powers and responsibilities of training previously held by the royal colleges, downgrading the significance of specialist exams, and turning specialist training into a conveyor belt from which “consultants” are automatially spat out, no matter how inept and ill-suited to the job. I doubt many of you realise that surgical trainees are now effectively guaranteed progression to consultant surgeon status (what is known as “run-through” training) *before* anyone has actually seen them operate.

    That is the real disaster in medicine, but it will not be felt for some time, because it takes a decade for those recruited through the new system to reach the front line. And it is beautifully complementary to a world in which the satisfaction of the patient is the only thing that matters. Give them TVs, timely appointments, better food, and they will be happy, no matter how shit the medicine all that infrastructure is supposed to deliver. That is exactly what it is like in other countries: incompetence cloaked in surface comforts.

    Privatising the NHS is a natural consequence of the premise – mistakenly accepted by all parties and most commentators – that medicine can be regarded as a product of which the patient is simply a consumer. A market is then the most efficient way of allowing the best “healthcare providers” to evolve. They will inevitably be the best charlatans, of course, but that does not matter: if “satisfaction” gets you a vote, no one gives a damn if it is misplaced or not.

  • DownWithThisSortOfThing

    @ DownWithThisSortOfThing 10 Mar, 2012 – 10:15 am
    Urrrmm, you do know that Iceland has been going through the formal preparation stages for EUSSR accession, don’t you? Ergo, staged ‘elections’ of pre-selected leaders, loss of sovereignty and democracy…

    Urrrmm, Wikipedia is not regarded as a topical (or even accurate) source, for future reference.
    Iceland, if your recall, told the corrupt institutions of Wall Street and the City to shove it when they defaulted, despite *threats* and dire warnings of worse economic catastrophe. What actually happened? The Icelandic economy is now smelling of roses (and fish, of course).
    The EU itself said in 2008 that they had seriously damaged their application by defaulting but now that Iceland is booming, unencumbered by crippling national debt, the EU want to fast-track their application. I very much doubt Icelanders will be voting ‘yes’ though, do you?
    Iceland currently has it’s former prime ministers, Geir Haarde, in the dock charged with mismanagement of the economy and incompetence over the financial shenanigans. It was him who announced (to much public disapproval) that Iceland had formally started the process to join the EU. Any EU membership vote will be tainted by his piss-poor record.
    I think we can both agree (with me) that I’ve put your red herring well and truly in the pickle.

  • sovereigntea

    Liam Fox – Former Conservative MP – became shadow health secretary in 1999 – employs Adam Werrity as a paid intern in 2004 – by this time Adam Werrity becomes a director of health consultancy firm ‘UK Health Ltd’ (now dissolved), while Liam Fox was shadow health secretary of which he and Liam Fox were shareholders. Werrity owned 11.5% of UK Health Group and Fox owned 2.3%. In 2005 a researcher based in Mr Fox’s office worked ‘exclusively’ for the now closed Atlantic Bridge ‘charity’, which Liam Fox was the founding member; Mr Werrity became director, and which had links to radical right-wing neocons in the U.S. The researcher received funding from Pfizer Inc. He claimed ‘she has no function in any health role.’ The researcher was Gabby Bertin, who is now David Cameron’s press secretary.

  • Komodo

    It beggars belief that the NHS risk assessment hasn’t been published already. No-one where I work can do anything until all participants have an approved risk assessment for what they are doing. Even for what is effectively a walk in the country, or using a trowel. Still, nice to see the wally Clegg being told where to shove it by his conference.

  • Komodo

    Someone cannot have failed to post this already, but it bears repeating:
    “A senior Conservative source said the prime minister had taken the inquiry off Mawer because he wanted a quick and hard-hitting inquiry.”
    IOW, Spameron wanted to get it swept under the carpet as quickly as possible. And who saw anyone getting hit, hard or otherwise?
    On the bright side, Mawer raising his head above the parapet does suggest that there is some mileage in the issue yet.

  • Komodo

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    Paul Flynn finds out that the PM is immune from scrutiny…

    “Paul Flynn (Newport West) (Lab):

    On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Sir Christopher Kelly said at the Public Administration Committee this morning that the Prime Minister had “almost certainly” broken the ministerial code in not having an investigation into the conduct of the previous Secretary of State for Defence and Mr Adam Werritty. Instead, the probe was conducted by a senior civil servant. That view has also been expressed by the only enforcer of the ministerial code, Sir Philip Mawer, who has now resigned.

    Do you think, Mr Speaker, that two investigations are now necessary—a legitimate investigation into the conduct of the previous Secretary of State and Mr Adam Werritty and an investigation into the conduct of the Prime Minister? As the Prime Minister is the only person who can authorise an investigation under the ministerial code, is it, perhaps, a matter for you in the Chair to consider whether action is needed on the allegations made by Sir Christopher Kelly?
    Mr Speaker:

    The hon. Gentleman is a very experienced Member, and he never uses a word accidentally. I noticed in his attempted point of order his use of the word “perhaps”, which I suspect was surrounded on either side by an appropriate comma. My answer is no, it is not a matter for the Chair, and this is not a point of order for the Chair. We are considering a matter of Committee business on the one hand and, as I understand it, the ministerial code on the other. The latter, as he acknowledges, is supervised and overseen by, and the responsibility of, the Prime Minister. Whether that is satisfactory to the hon. Gentleman I cannot say, but it remains a fact. He has very effectively made his point for today, but it is not a point for me to respond to beyond what I have said.”


    (Mar 06)

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Newsnight yesterday dedicated some time to the future of the Health Services by which I understood NHS. They have invited interesting panel of 4, 2 of whom were defending an idea of privatisation and other 2 opposing to it. Interestingly, that arguing that in years to come Health Services are going to cost more, and that it will put further burden on public spending, no one (not even those opposing to the privatisation) mentioned that in just few months time government spent 6 times more on banks than entirely annual NHS budget.
    I was particularly shocked by the statement of 1 expert from Institute of Economic Affairs (I think) who was very keen on introducing “small” charges and that these on her views would prevent people from using NHS in cases when it was not necessary. Fair to say that former Tory Treasury Secretary was also defending the idea the introduction of “small” charges, but what else one would expect from TORY?

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