RIP NHS 1948 - 2012

Tories Bury The NHS And Privatise Health Care In England US Style

The National Health Service was inaugurated on 5 July 1948, and lasted until 20th March 2012.

Today 20th March 2012 saw the last nails being driven into the coffin of the National Health Service as the House of Commons voted to accept amendments to the Health Care Services Bill put down by the House of Lords; paving the way for the bill to receive Royal Assent by Easter.

With Devon PCT already agreeing to privatise children’s health care services and siting commercial confidentiality as an excuse not to make public any details of the companies and tenders involved, the future of health care in England under private providers will escalate throughout all service delivery channels.

Health Care consortia from the United States will now be able to provide health care services, run GP services and send patients to their clinics with the one aim of making money. As in the USA, patients may well find themselves being referred for treatments they don't need, not getting those they do need; whilst the cost of such services and drugs to the NHS budget will soar!

At the end of a debate in the house of commons which demanded that the vote on the Health Care Services Bill be suspended until after the publication of the NHS Transitional Risk Register, and was defeated by the government by 82 votes; Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham said:

"While on a day like today it's hard for me to give any encouragement to people worried about what this government is doing, I can at least say this: that we will repeal this bill at the first opportunity and restore the N in NHS."

This being of course a reference to the fact that only in England will the fragmentation and privatisation of the health service take place. Both Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland will continue with the current ‘national’ health service system.

Reports in the media state that there was a ‘banging of the cabinet table’ as both Tory and Libdem members rejoiced at the passing of the Bill hours before the debate and vote took place.

Meanwhile Trade Unions remain committed in their opposition to the bill when it becomes law. Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said earlier at a demonstration outside of Parliament:

“This Bill will take the N out of the NHS. The Tories are determined to push it through despite the fact that this will add the NHS into our already ‘Divided Britain”. It is a scandal that they are ignoring the groundswell of opposition from medical experts, royal colleges, staff, unions and the public.

Patients will have a two-tier health service and where they live will determine the healthcare they receive.

Make no mistake – if the Bill goes through today that will not be the end of UNISON’s opposition and we are not alone – huge question marks remain over this Bill. We will continue to campaign hard to try and mitigate the worst excesses of this bill.

The Government’s have and have not Britain should not be allowed to infiltrate our NHS, with those that can pay able to jump to the top of NHS queues for treatment. Removing the cap on the number of private patients that hospitals can treat is fundamental to the Government’s privatisation Plans."

Members of Unison, which represents more than a million public sector workers, held a minute's silence outside Parliament in protest at the changes.

The Prime Minister’s office spokesperson has told media news outlets that the Health Care Services Bill will become law before the commons easter recess takes place next week!

Source: BBC News / UNISON