What do the next five years hold for the NHS? The pre-election jamboree is quickly evaporating. The promise of billions more in funding now feels like a distant sound-bite. The Daily Telegraph recently set the tone with a front page headline in which Jeremy Hunt declared that the NHS now has enough money and will have to make do. However, all the talk on funding in the election debates completely missed the point.
The Health & Social Care Act 2013 has legally abolished the NHS. Except nobody has told you this. I am a GP in Tower Hamlets. This is the reason that I have written a book – How to Dismantle the NHS in 10 Easy Steps http://www.zero-books.net/books/how-dismantle-nhs-10-easy-steps published at the end of July – in order to inform the British public. On the surface, nothing appears to have fundamentally changed. You can still see your GP or go to hospital and receive care free at the point of delivery. Underneath, however, everything is being insidiously transformed. Tim Evans, who negotiated a concordat with New Labour in 2000 on behalf of the private healthcare sector guaranteeing that private companies would become permanent providers of services, has said that he looks forward to the day when the NHS is simply a kitemark attached to a system of purely private providers. That day is coming ever closer.
On the eve of the Act coming into effect, I wrote a Guardian article warning of its perils – http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/30/health-act-means-death-of-nhs . We will continue to see the consequences play out combined with other damaging policies. Unfortunately, this legislation has thus far been largely misinterpreted or wilfully ignored by the mainstream media. So what does the Health Act actually spell out? The most controversial area is the forced competitive tendering of NHS contracts opening them up to unlimited privatisation. During the election campaign, the Tories bandied around a highly misleading figure about a 1% increase from 6% to 7% of private healthcare provision in the NHS. What they didn’t tell you is that those figures pre-dated the Health Act coming into effect in 2013. When the new figures are released later this year, we are likely to see that the percentage has soared. Last year alone, out of £9.63billion NHS deals signed, £3.54bn (nearly 40% of them) went to private firms.
David Cameron will tell you that the public does not mind who provides their care as long as it is free at delivery. Again, this is misleading. It really does matter who provides your care for many reasons. Private providers will cherry-pick straightforward and lucrative services. Income from this will be permanently siphoned off to boost their profits and not channelled back into the system to cover complex healthcare. This means that the NHS is left with less money to provide comprehensive care. This neatly ties in with the next aspect of the legislation….TO BE CONTINUED
READ TOMORROW TO FIND OUT MORE
How to Dismantle the NHS in 10 Easy Steps will be published on 31st July by Zero books –
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