Thursday, 8 January 2015
Liberal Democrat NHS Betrayal
The Conservatives promised before the 2010 general election not to impose a top-down reorganisation of the NHS. What followed was one of the most fundamental NHS reorganisations yet envisaged, which generated especially widespread "opprobrium" (quote from Wikipedia). This Path to Privatisation was achieved with the active help and support of the Liberal Democrats and by building on the privatisation started under New Labour. (Remember the great PFI scandals?) Now more than a third of doctors on the new clinical commissioning groups have links with private health-care companies. The Liberal Democrats in government have become notorious for reneging on their manifesto promises. Whilst their disgraceful volte-face on both tuition fees and electoral reform are well known, it is their betrayal of the NHS that is most unforgiveable in my opinion. The Liberal Democrats pledged to "cut NHS centralised targets and bureaucracy" and improve waiting times (Lib Dem Manifesto 2010). We now know the exact opposite has happened, with Accident and Emergency departments across the country crumbling after the coalition government, including the Liberal Democrats, reduced their funding to just one third of what they need. NHS England (created as part of this mammoth reorganisation) reports that it missed its four-hour waiting-limit target by 2.4% for the last quarter of 2014. The money wasted on this reorganisation, along with direct cuts in the Accident and Emergency budget, has led to 133,000 people waiting more than four hours and NHS performance dropping to its worst level for a decade. Now here is a pledge that will not be broken. The Green Party will take the NHS back into public ownership and ensure it is adequately funded. This means an extra £8bn by 2020, funded in part by cancelling Trident. Here are some of the Green Party health policies: The Party will continue to support the principle that the NHS is a national service, free at the point of entry and fully funded by taxation. Opposition to third-way health reform, so we actively oppose and seek to reverse any public-service health-policy reforms that lead to: • a two- or multi-tier health service with uneven standards and service provision, • further disconnection of the service from public accountability – via local, regional or national government, • the undermining of a fully integrated NHS, publicly funded and committed to high-quality universal provision with free services at the point of use, or • creeping privatisation. What can you do to campaign to keep the NHS public? Join the national events in February 2015, which can be found easily on the Keep Our NHS Public website http://www.keepournhspublic.com/index.php. I also recommend you read NHS SOS, available from the publishers, One World. Proceeds from NHS SOS will go to Keep Our NHS Public. The May 2015 election will be vital in deciding the future of the NHS. NHS SOS shows that the Conservatives (supported by the Lib Dems) clearly wish to privatise the NHS, have already started the process and will continue to do so. They appear to be lining up their friends in private companies for lucrative contracts. The book also highlights Labour’s involvement in privatisation and the Private Finance Initiative. The Green Party is the clear choice if you want to keep the NHS public. “A free health service is a triumphant example of the superiority of the principles of collective action and public initiative against the commercial principle of profit and greed.” Aneurin Bevan, In Place of Fear.