The following is an article by Richard Murphy. His article outlines how the lack of political will by a number of politicians in Westminster is allowing NHS England to move away from its founding principles and towards privatisation. An extract from his article is shown below.
Richard is a chartered accountant and a political economist. He is Professor of Practice in International Political Economy at City University, London and Director of Tax Research UK. He is a non-executive director of Cambridge Econometrics.
We have another NHS crisis. It will cost lives, unnecessarily. It will cause untold long term harm as staff give up, voluntarily or otherwise, under the pressure brought to bear on them. And nothing about this crisis is made up: this is the real thing, resulting from real demand, and no edict from Westminster will solve that.
“The threat to the NHS is not from an ageing population, increasing costs, migration or even, ultimately, from a shortage of trained staff, because all those issues can be managed if the right political will exists. The threat to the NHS is that the political will that it succeed in the task that it has undertaken for the last near-seventy years does not now exist amongst some politicians. The fault is not that of one political party, although it is fair to note that the problem appears to be peculiar to England.”
The full article can be found on his website.
Other reports on the state of the NHS in England are shown below.
NHS privatisation soars as private companies win 70% of clinical contracts in England. The Independent, 30/12/2017.
NHS spending on care provided by private companies has jumped by £700m to £3.1bn with non-NHS firms winning almost 70 per cent of tendered contracts in England last year.
Private care providers were awarded 267 out of a total of 386 contracts made available in 2016-17, including the seven highest value opportunities, worth £2.4bn.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Care scooped a record £1bn worth of contracts last year, meaning the company now has over 400 separate NHS contracts, making it the dominant private provider in the NHS market.
The extent of Virgin Care’s portfolio has angered campaigners, as the company pays no tax in the UK, and its parent company is registered in the British Virgin Islands – a tax haven.
Virgin Care also sued six NHS commissioning care groups (CCGs) last year after it failed to win an £82m care contract, losing out to an NHS provider and two social enterprises.
The figures, revealed in a report by campaign group the NHS Support Federation, undermine repeated government claims that private companies play a small role in NHS care provision.
To read the full article click here.
Theresa May: ‘I’m sorry for the state of the NHS’
Extract from inews.co.uk, 4 January 2018.
The Prime Minister has faced widespread anger for claiming the health service was “better prepared for this winter than ever before”.
Official NHS figures, published on Thursday, showed bed occupancy rates climbed as high as 93.5 per cent on New Year’s Eve, up from 86.7 per cent on Christmas Day, with an average of 91.7 per cent across the week. The recommended safe limit is 85 per cent.
In addition, the number of patients waiting at least an hour to be transferred from the back of an ambulance to A&E has more doubled in a week. Some 16,893 people were forced to wait for more than 30 minutes to be seen by staff at emergency departments over Christmas, up from 11,852 the previous week. There were 4,734 emergency patients delayed for more than an hour, soaring from 2,413 people in the week before. No comparison to last year can be made as the NHS has only just begun collating data on ambulance handover delays. Read more at: inews.co.uk
Meanwhile in Scotland.
The National Health Service is our most cherished public service. The SNP will never waiver in our belief that it must remain a publicly funded service, free at the point of use. We will never stop trying to make Scotland’s NHS healthier. That is why we will ensure the NHS revenue budget rises by £500 million more than inflation by the end of the next parliament – which means that it will increase by almost £2 billion in total.
The SNP believe the NHS should remain a publicly funded, publicly-delivered service. We will not follow the privatisation agenda of the Westminster government.
Go to snp.org to read more.