Following the 1948 Public Health Act the Secretary of State for Health had a legal obligation to provide universal health care.  In 2012, by passing the Health and Social Care Act, the Coalition Government removed the duty to provide universal heath care and have enshrined in law instead the right of the Secretary of State for Health (currently Jeremy Hunt) to develope a marketised, insurance based healthcare system.  Six years on and Drs and Nurses on the frontline tell us that the NHS is being privatised, contract-by-contract and right under our noses.

 
 
 

Professor Allyson Pollock is Director of the Institute of Health and Society

So where's the saving made when contracting out chunks of the NHS? Surely, an organisation with such a fantastically well motivated staff outsourcing is a distraction and just adds another tier of management. On top of that beaurocratic cost there's the reality that some of the money spent on buying in healthcare goes straight into the pockets of the greedy owners of capital that, quite naturally, want a slice of the action. 
 
Managers, spending their days hopelessly trying to decide between competing healthcare suppliers while sick patients stuck in Ambulances are treated in the hospitals privately owned car parks, must be a soul destroying occupation, but this is what a marketised healthcare system involves.  Privatisatisation of the NHS is unwanted, unnecessary and , worst of all, failing the public miserablly, but it doesn’t need to be like this.

If in 1948, after being bankrupted by two World Wars the UK could afford to provide Universal Health Care, why is it today, as the sixth largest economy in the World after France, that we are told that the Government afford a publically financed Health Service?  And why is it that the Government conditions us to expect that the only way forward for the NHS is to systematically outsource healthcare contract-by-contract to private companies? 
 
The argument that the UK can't afford the NHS is a mendacious myth put about by smart-suited Government PR men selling the lie to unwitting NHS Managers that the only way to save the NHS is through the miracle of private enterprise.  Like the nodding dogs in the back of their Lexus, NHS Executives are torn between their belief in the provision of Universal Healthcare enshrined in the 1948 Act and the certain knowledge their increasingly lucrative existence is dependent on the inexorable shift towards a dog-eat-dog marketised healthcare system that removes, by law, the duty of the Secretary of State for Health to provide Universal Healthcare for all.


The Department for Health and Social Care
More on Politics
Why the people will always need socialism

Read on the Editor's Blog