Will Labour reverse the privatisation of the NHS? I want to believe it...

Allowing in for-profit companies is the worst way to better our care

Share
Related Topics

It always happens after a bad break up - the past gets rewritten. It was no different with the Labour party. They dropped 'new', distanced themselves from Blair, and hoped that halting a conflict in Syria would help us forget about Iraq. New Labour PFI reform of the NHS was a dress rehearsal for the wholesale privatisation of health threatened by today's Coalition government. Labour still have much to answer for, but at least they have started to recognise their past mistakes.

Labour now acknowledges the runaway free market that nearly caused global financial meltdown. They understand that unregulated Thatcherism is unlikely to be the solution to the problems it created. The ingenuity of the government's recovery plan was in convincing the country that privatising what remains of the public sector can somehow limit this shameless profiteering, that we can dig our way out of this hole.

And so it goes with the NHS. The Prime Minister has ignored the uncomfortable idea that comprehensive, universal healthcare is expensive. Even though a state provider has proved more effective with better outcomes than private equivalents, maintaining the country's health remains extraordinarily expensive. But it is worth every penny.

Ed Miliband’s party is working hard to woo voters back from apathy. He could be bold, and promise to fund the NHS proportionate to its needs. David Cameron talks proud of the NHS, but makes cuts behind closed doors. Miliband’s Labour can do better than this.

Fragmenting our health service, and selling off the most profitable elements to private, for-profit companies is the worst way to better our care. It is phenomenally wasteful, too easily putting taxpayers' money in the pockets of health company executives rather than reinvesting it back into patient care.

The economic downturn meant the NHS was forced to find £20 billion in efficiency savings. But now, thanks to the Health and Social Care Act, private firms are bidding to win £20 billion worth of NHS services that have been put to out to tender. While the public sector saves, private companies prepare for profits.

This is AQP - Any Qualified Provider. New legislation means businesses can bid to run all but the 'core' services your GP currently offers. And if a proposed EU US Free Trade Agreement is ratified, these providers could be UK, EU or US healthcare companies. American health companies, running NHS services, for profit.

I want to trust Labour. I want to believe Angela Eagle MP, the chair of Labour's Policy Forum - at the think tank Class' conference she told me "yes, yes, yes" when I asked whether Labour could absolutely assure a reversal of the Health and Social Care Act, and an end to the Coalition's privatisation agenda. I want Labour to be the party of Nye Bevan, the party that founded the National Health Service, who understand that health is worth the investment. The NHS needs the Labour party that created it. Now Labour need to prove they are worthy of their heritage.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

£140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Scottish referendum: To the victor, the carping and the criticism

John Rentoul
Into the blue: Alex Salmond resigned as First Minister and SNP leader in Edinburgh on Friday  

Scottish referendum gives hope for the dawn of a new, cleaner politics

Kenneth Roy
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam