Private sector is stealing the NHS
Kick out the Privatisers! photo: Mary Finch (Click to enlarge)
Heather Rawling, Leicester Socialist Party
The private health sector is busy gobbling up NHS money and greedily seeking more. The privatisation of the NHS is gathering pace even though the private sector has failed to deliver on test and trace and PPE during this awful health crisis.
According to the Financial Times, in the early days of the pandemic, government money to the tune of £400 million a month shored up private health providers. The deal paid all their costs, including debt and interest. Spire Healthcare 'grew' its NHS revenues by 50% during 2020. So, rather than the private sector helping out the NHS, it was the NHS that helped out the private sector!
Two-thirds of the capacity paid for in private healthcare was unused. Now that deal has ended and a new £10 billion package has been negotiated with virtually the whole private healthcare market.
With 4.7 million people waiting for treatment in England - 387,000 have been waiting for more than a year - this new deal is to allegedly reduce the backlog. But the private health providers have disclosed that they will prioritise their private health patients because they are more lucrative.
The chief executive of Spire admits that longer waiting lists encourage people to take out private insurance. So they are being paid to reduce the waiting lists, but their business model prefers that the lists remain long to encourage people to pay for private health care!
The private sector, encouraged by the government, is stealing the NHS from us. An urgent defence should be mounted by the trade union movement. The Trades Union Congress should organise demonstrations to build solidarity for NHS workers.
- Private profiteers out of the NHS
- United mass community mobilisation in support of our NHS to defend services
- 15% pay rise for all health workers
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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