Unionsafety web editor, Chris Ingram gives his personal view of what appears to be media ban on reporting the truth about the NHS’ abolition inherent within the Health And Care Bill:
The UK tabloid and TV news media hardly reports on the Government’s Health And Care Bill, but when it does do so, it merely constructs the Government’s media handouts on the Bill; effectively misleading the public.
Few quality news papers do so, but given the readership of such papers and their websites are far smaller than the likes of the Daily Mail and The Sun, government propaganda on all fronts and not just the NHS is blatantly reported by mainstream UK media.
In reality towing the Government line on the Bill and reporting on the limited information it provides ensures a lack in detail and analysis of the Bill and the effect it will have in terms of the major re-organisation of the NHS which will change it forever.
At best Government briefings to journalists is mere propaganda and lies providing fodder for lazy journalism. At worst, such reporting denies the public a thorough understanding of the facts regarding the intention of this unnecessary and badly timed re-organisation of the NHS; and ignores the true nature and intent of the Bill – the eventual full privatisation of health and social care in the UK and preference for the American versions based upon business models and profiteering.
The ultimate aim is for the NHS to become nothing more than an insurance based system as per that of the United States which is based on denial of treatment in order to maximise profit!
Americanisation of the NHS into profiteering model of healthcare that in the US causes tens of thousands of ordinary families bankruptcy due to extensive and unaffordable medical bills.
Oliver Letwin in 1988 wrote a book entitled 'Privatising the World' which determined that the best way to privatise public services against the will of the people, is to run down the service through starving its budget; and then argue that only privatisation can save it! This is exactly what happened with British Rail privatisation which was preceded by many years of diminished funding of the service, resulting in a fractured and broken rail service.
When it comes to the reporting of the Health And Care Bill, UK media is happy to evade the whole issue, a major disservice to the public. It does report on the state of the NHS as a result of Covid-19, but does so by reporting in a manner which pits the public against The Trade Unions and opinions of NHS clinical staff; both of whom are far more aware of what the NHS needs than the Government and their business orientated managers and NHS Trust’s Boards members!
On-line and print news reporting from This Week on-line news magazine, has this:
“A major reorganisation of the NHS in England passed its final hurdle in the House of Commons yesterday. The Health and Care Bill “unpicks ex-health secretary Andrew Lansley’s disastrous 2012 reforms”, said The Mirror, and attempts to create a more integrated health service. The Unite union branded it an “NHS privatisation bill”, but researchers at the independent Nuffield Trust said they “do not see this as a likely effect”.
Quoting the Nuffield Trust, which is not an ‘independent’ think-tank despite claiming to the contrary, whilst supporting the whole idea of the Americanisation of the NHS and argueing for business leaders and private companies being allowed to sit on the new ICS and ICPs.
Anti-privatisation campaigners, NHS Support Federation, 999 Call For NHS, and Keep Our NHS Public, have made their concerns over the make-up of the 42 new Integrated Care Systems which are based on the American insurance led healthcare system; argueing their inclusion of representatives from business, private healthcare providers councils, charities, trusts and local authorities, on Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) will mean further healthcare services being handed over to the private sector.
Healthcare Trade Unions, Unite, Unison, and GMB, have been very slow in joining campaigns to highlight to the public what is happening to the NHS; and campaigning against the Health & Care Bill.
The 42 ICBs will be “accountable for NHS spend and performance within the system” and will have the power to decide on the type of healthcare, who provides it, in their area of jurisdiction.
With Virgincare’s local managing director Julia Clarke listed as a member of the Partnership Board, the unitary Board which currently runs the ICS covering Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW); concerns about private healthcare companies determining policy and contract arrangements, have been proven correct.
Currently, the pay for the ICS Board Chair starts at a massive eye watering £270,000 - money which comes from the budget given to each ICS by NHS England, for the health care for NHS patients.
Media And Political Games Over NHS Started With Blair
The media, by claiming that the Health and Care Bill means less privatisation of NHS healthcare services; is telling one huge lie and is clearly supporting the Tory Government aims of abolishing the NHS and ensuring American Insurance based Healthcare takes over!
But their record says otherwise.
During the Parliamentary debate in January 2021 on the government’s post-Brexit trade bill, an amendment that would have assured the NHS remains “publicly funded” and “free at the point of delivery” was joyfully removed by being voted down by the Tory majority.
But even so, the term first muted by the Blair administration when one Alan Milburn was the Secretary of State for Health, ‘An NHS that will always be ‘publically funded and free at the point of delivery’; was a smokescreen designed to make the public care little about who provided the healthcare, as long as it was free.
Then, and know more so, the ‘publically funded’ element of that ‘catchphrase’ did not mean public funding would not go to private healthcare companies providing healthcare services using the ‘badge’ of NHS. In fact that was always the intention, hidden as it was by ‘smoke and mirrors’!
The proof of that of course is that patients can never find out just who is providing their healthcare and clinical procedures and services, because everything is labelled as being ‘NHS’ irrespective of which sector is providing it – private or public.
Furthermore, people are blinded to the fact that given the ever diminishing healthcare budget in real terms year by year, bigger chunks of it is being given to the private sector – something that the Coronavirus pandemic has ‘outed’.
The public should now be fully aware that their ‘public funding’ via taxation and National Insurance Contributions is supporting private healthcare and NOT the NHS! This is gradual, but will become 100% the case within the next 5 years of the existence of the new Integrated Care Systems being given statutory powers by the Health & Care Bill.
The privatisation by stealth of the NHS is necessary simply because the Tory Government knows that being honest about the true intentions of their latest piece of legislation that is the Health and Care Bill; would be political suicide.
The fact is that the Health & Care Bill means the abolition of the NHS is denied amidst accusations that any politician claiming this is playing politics with the nations health; followed by total distortion of opposition parties’ own policies for the NHS.
In the same way that the PM denies attending parties whilst the country was in lockdown, their denial of the privatisation by stealth of the NHS, is as truthful as those saying that the Earth is flat!
See NHS Privatisation News Archive for the full story of events leading to the abolition of the NHS in 2022 following the passing of the Health & Care Bill.