The Privatised NHS 140

The independence campaign in Scotland has re-established the reality of public debate and a genuine political community.  Through old fashioned meetings and face to face conversation, combined with social media, people are hearing a narrative which is blocked by the gatekeepers of the mainstream media.  Philipa Whitford, a surgeon, here talks about Labour Tories, Tory Tories and Liberal Tories combining to destroy the very principles of the NHS. You don’t get to hear this on the BBC.

You can skip the first minute, but after that I suggest you listen to every word, very carefully.

Hat tip to Munguin’s Republic

I might have worked out how to post my recent podcast interview by Michael Greenwell

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140 thoughts on “The Privatised NHS

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  • Ba'al Zevul (Elämä on hyvä!)

    Very telling speech by Whitford. Measured, logical, factual, and certainly highlights the mendacity of the populist “No” propaganda. If I were part of the “Yes” campaign, I’d be touring the village halls with that one and a projector.

  • FormerDundeeMan

    Excellent, encompassing clarification of many of the ills we’re facing and why Scottish independence is vital not only for Scots but the majority of people in the UK.
    Like so much in this Neo-Con “society”, the means has become far more important than the end. Privatisation in nearly every area has nothing to do with the saving of money or efficiency but has everything to do with the transfer of power and wealth from the many to the few.

  • A Node

    Aye, a timely warning. How you vote in September could be a matter of life and death!
    On the breaking up of the N.H.S. here’s the best, ie most frightening, analysis I’ve seen:

    “Lucy Reynolds is an academic who has studied the background of the NHS in detail, learning in the process what the appalling consequences of privatisation will be. Here she answers questions put by Jill Mountfield, a member of the steering committee on the “Save Lewisham Hospital” campaign. March 2013″

  • Mary

    Thank you for this Craig. A cause dear to my heart is to save OUR NHS. I have said it here several times that we will not have an NHS in 5 years. The people are asleep. They look at me as if I am mad when I say it.

    The fact that Cameron and Hunt have brought in Simon Stevens to head NHS England in place of the execrable Nicholson says it all. He has come from 10 years with United Health in the US, one of the largest private health insurers there. Most of the bankruptcies in the US arise from inability to pay medical bills by those not covered by insurance or with exclusions to policies.

    The good lady surgeon speaking here

    Medical Bills Are the Biggest Cause of US Bankruptcies: Study, 25 June 2013

    PS Thatcher set the privatisation of the NHS in train when she got the Rand Corporation over from the US. Then followed Major, BLiar and his succession of health ministers including Milburn who chipped away at the NHS and Thatcher’s children in power now who are finishing the job with their Health and Social Act 2012.

    Scotland watch out!

    My comment on the Rennard thread refers.

  • John Goss

    Such a sensible woman. We need people like Philipa Whitford south of the border. It is the dismantling of the NHS that is crippling healthcare. When you recently wrote about re-nationalisation of British Rail this is another industry, if it can be called an industry, which needs to return to the public sector. Scotland must vote Yes to set an example to the rest of this sceptred isle, so we can all have a better scoiety. As she says the wealthy are getting wealthier and wealthier while the poor are getting poorer and poorer. Those who have not noticed this are walking round with their eyes shut.

  • John Goss

    Just finished listening to you podcast Craig. I don’t know whether I knew before and I’d forgotten about you stumbling into the diplomatic corps but I definitely did not the ancestral history of Edvard Grieg which is very enlightening. Good interview.

  • Ba'al Zevul (For All The Wrong Reasons)

    It refers to our coalition government, Ben. Composed exclusively of left-handed monkeys with broken tools…

    (Apologies to any southpaw bigger than me – no general insult intended)


    “It refers to our coalition government”

    Is that the one where everyone rushes in to sacrifice their principles, Ba’al? We have those, as well. I think it should be called….
    Goobernance instead of Governance.

    Ever thankful for incremental ‘change’ I salute the compromise from single-payer NHS style, to ACA. The entire mess privatized to perpetuity, is what we call ‘victory’.

  • Ba'al Zevul (For All The Wrong Reasons)

    Hootsmon lets VNB play victim card:


    As Alistair Darling himself said –

    Passion is good in a debate of this nature, but when it strays into personal abuse it is unacceptable.

    “What is not right under any circumstances is when other people, like employers, academics or cultural figures are monstered…

    Darling not monstering Brown –

    It’s going to get worse. On both sides.

  • DoNNyDarKo

    Enjoyed both, thanks Craig.
    Philipa Whitford is outstanding and worryingly not being listened to.
    Govt. policy has put many surgeries into a position that closure will be the only option but menawhile some are trying consolidation with other larger practices.
    They expect them to act and work like business’s but they cannot reclaim VAT on their purchases of medecine, etc etc whereas Virgin does.
    It’s pretty much a similar strategy they used for British Rail. Underfund, remove subsidies, and degenerate the service to the point where everyone is screaming for a change.
    They are trying to cut costs, which of course means labour and that affects quality.
    A surgery I know very well in Surrey has begun to axe nursing staff, keeping on cheaper carers and have lost their ability to treat,and deal with asthma sufferers properly.Ironically a money earner if they had kept the nurses who were trained for that.
    The easy money tasks are being picked off by the likes of Virgin.
    At the sametime payment is being delayed through increased burocracy and rejected claims heaving enormous pressure on Practice managers caught in the middle. It’s sabotage from the top.Doctors earnings are also beginning to drop as practices have begun to asking for overdrafts in order to keep the practices running. So far, banks are compliant but that could very quickly change if Govt. says insolvent practices must close.
    Patients meanwhile are oblivious to the fact that their beloved NHS is being flushed down the toilet in fromt of their eyes.


    You have as many ‘revolving-doors’ as we, Ba’al. That way the money flows no matter which direction you go. Really, that nonsense needs to go but won’t.

    I thought perpetual-motion was junk science.


    Attempts to destroy NHS start with private contracts between Drs and wealthy persons who must be treated as ‘special’ because they’re more important. As the talent drifts to greater profit locales, the devolution of healthcare for the masses becomes less about patient care and more about costs, which enables the liberal-tories to point at NHS ‘failure’. At that stage they sense the time is ripe for an autopsy to determine the COD of the cadaver. Round up the usual suspects.

  • Mary

    Wexham Park Hospital Slough in ‘special measures’, ie targeted by Hunt and co, is being ‘merged’ with Frimley Park Hospital Camberley.
    Distance apart – 30 miles
    Journey time 1 hr 9mins shown on google maps currently.

    Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Chertsey and Ashford are being ‘merged’ with the Royal Surrey Hospital Guildford.

    To provide a better service of course. How many departments will be closed and how many staff will go? How are the staff and patients feeling now? Was there any consultation? No. Discussions have been taking place privately for the last 18 months.


    You are correct Donny Darko. Branson’s Virgin Care took over Surrey NHS community health services in 2012. The contract was for 5 years and he paid £500m for it. It includes community hospitals like Milford and Haslemere. He also has multiple GP services and clinics. Nice one Richard. Of course we will never know how much he is being paid and how much profit there is in the large contract. There was no public information until after the contract was signed.

    He also acquired NHS Children’s Services in Devon a few years back.

  • Patrick Haseldine

    Thank you for bringing the wonderful Philippa Whitford to our attention, Craig.

    Philippa’s warning about the creeping privatisation of the NHS in England is timely. According to Wednesday’s Guardian (GPs to vote on charging patients for appointments) we may soon have to pay £25 to see a GP:

    “The BMA’s Wiltshire local medical committee, one of the doctors’ groups backing the proposal, said a national charging system should be explored. It said the idea that healthcare should be free at the point of delivery – one of the key founding principles of the NHS – was no longer viable.

    “The Gloucestershire committee agreed. In the conference agenda [pdf], it said: ‘The time has come to impose a national charge for consultations as part of a strategy of demand management’.”

  • Mary
    I think that is from their archive Ben.

    In any case, there is an ongoing agenda of daily attacks on the NHS, especially by the BBC.

    The ‘veterans’ as you call them (always ‘Heroes’ here) are very well catered for. There is a newly built hospital wing in Birmingham. Very high tech and all bells and whistles. Malala was treated there too.
    A £545m ‘Private Finance Initiative’. That means Craig’s little boy will be paying for it in 20 or 30 years and his children maybe thereafter.

    In case this is new to you. A rip off.

  • Mary

    Ben Could you outline your experience with the US health system, cost, efficiency etc and your opinion of Obamacare. Thanks.


    Mary; Just an anecedote. My spouse had to attend to a kidney stone, but to verify we got a CAT-scan prescription and our local provider first told us (December 2013) that we would have to wait for 5-7 business days for approval from insurance. A few minutes later as we were leaving, they caught up with us and said; “We got immediate email approval on the inquiry. This has never happened before.”

    ACA’s directive to Ins. Co’s insists on greater efficiencies (electronic) for such things. It’s a pale horse, but we were grateful for a ride.

    My long-term concern is that such things are like introductory offers. They sucker you in.

  • Mary

    You can sense the turmoil and chaos within the system. Well done Jeremy!

    The agenda for the conference for reps from local medical committees at the end of the month.

    GPs have been landed with managing the commissioning under the H&SC Act 2012. They are doctors for goodness’ sake, not accountants or lawyers. The Clinical Commissioning Groups are now set up all over the country.

    Doctors’ requests for hospital appointments with specialists are now being triaged. In March, I received five sheets of A4 giving me an appointment following my doctor’s request when one sheet of paper would have sufficed. That appointment was cancelled at a late stage and a new appointment was given for a scan and blood tests which I had had done at the start, the results of which being the reason for my doctor requesting the hospital appointment in the first place. That appointment was for April 23rd. That was then cancelled and another given for the end of this month. Keeping everything crossed!

    ‘Demoralize, Destabilize, Destroy.’ Those are the ConDem aims and Labour will not change them.


    BTW; Mary, the system here is fully privatized. Yet I note with my recent experiences that there is no efficiency, except in billing.
    Drs like to blame staff for losing specimens and failing to return phone calls, but they bear the full responsibility. After six months, they have the staff they deserve. Our last experience was the 2nd procedure, followed up because the first was an abject failure.

    She agonized for an entire month as they tried to cobble together their patented assembly lines “Pop, zip….ah chalk up another 20,000 dollars…next please.” We were to be there two hours ahead of the scheduled procedure. They called the day of; ‘can you come in 3 hours earlier than your 2:45?” Hurry up and wait. They got her in at 4 p.m. THEIR time is INDISPENSIBLE. Your time; not so much.

  • Geoffrey

    If you succeed and gain independence, with promises of free university tuition and national health etc,and assuming you retain EU membership. The first thing you’ll have to do is ban the English from settling(but you won’t be able to) otherwise you’ll end up with all her old and ill and unproductive citizens,demanding free heath care,and education.
    This will drive up government expenditure,and taxes,your young will leave,and then it won’t be long before you have your very own SKIP with 50% in the opinion polls!
    Then what will you do?

  • geomannie

    Hi Craig

    I have just listened to your podcast. Your points were well explained and illustrated by interesting facts. Why not come up to Scotland before 18/09 and engage in some public debating? I am sure that you would get a very good reception.

    This is a very exciting time to be in Scotland and suddenly people who for years have been politically apathetic are actually attending public meetings and thinking about what they really want from society. We suddenly have a real choice before us, a choice that is not “more of same” Labour/Conservative. A yes vote will actually change things.


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