Monday, January 17, 2011

The Conservatives Are Privatising The NHS

Cameron Is Privatising The NHS
Without a Mandate
Or A Referendum
Listening to the prime minister's speech on welfare, NHS and education reforms this morning, I was struck by how many words he uses to say absolutely nothing. So many words, but so little substance. This was the speech of a man struggling with his brief, and it became clear to me that in the actuality, Cameron knows very little about anything. Being "passionate" about something does not necessarily mean, you are equipped to deal with the magnitude of change that Cameron is proposing.  His whole speech told us nothing that we did not already know, it contained nothing that this government have not been leaking out in dribs and drabs, to their right wing journalists mates, and right wing editors of the right wing press, in the hope that they will get unpleasant and unpopular decisions through without contest, or without too many people noticing. The Tory ideal seems to be to flood voters with several announcements per day so they forget what this government is actually trying to do, in effect, what the Tories are trying to do is govern by chaos and confusion!

I was also struck by how many times Cameron tried to align himself with Tony Blair, it was about as subtle as a house brick to the top of the head! He is obviously trying to reach out  to Labour voters, and perhaps those past labour voters turned to the Tories in the last election that there is no need for worry, "look" he is saying, "I am a decent chap I am  like Tony Blair". I found this an absolutely stomach churning, cringe worthy, nauseating blatant suck up.  Cameron is no Tony Blair, and as the last general election and Oldham east & Saddleworth by-election results showed, people know he is no Toy Blair,  Cameron has not got the intellect for a start! Let's face it Cameron is dimwitted, he is struggling with his brief as prime minister, which is why he keeps making disastrous mistakes. It's odd, why all of a sudden is Cameron trying to align himself with Tony Blair? Could it be that Cameron is alarmed that he is already losing voters just 8 months into his parliament?

When scrutinised virtually every single policy proposal from this government is totally unworkable. Ill thought through, and the knock on effect of their actions has never been though about.
So where exactly, was the actual substance in Cameron's speech today? It is actually hard to pinpoint any. The speech was full of the PM's opinions and what he thinks should happen, and what he thinks may happen as a result of the complete dismantling of  the NHS.

Cameron skirted over and failed to answer concerns about introducing the external market into the NHS and what effect this will have on patient care. One of the biggest concerns patients, patient groups, nurses, clinicians and other health groups have, 'if not the biggest concern', is the effect that bringing private companies from health care suppliers, to providers of private procedures and providers of private health care insurance into the NHS and Cameron did not have anything approaching a credible answer, and had no reassurances, again it was what he thought would happen, this is not good enough, we need to KNOW what will happen as a result of the changes this government are trying to introduce. For the most part Cameron's thinking is fatally flawed he has proved that.

One only has to look at the mess this government have got the country into regarding the swine flu epidemic. The government REFUSED to run a flu awareness campaign when contacted by doctors and health care professionals months ago, they said it was "unnecessary and too costly". They were then forced to backtrack and the campaign (which was the campaign form the last Labour government) was re introduced on Jan 1st 2011. It was like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted, the harm had already been done. When the awareness advert went out this cause a surge in those taking up the flu vaccine, up until this point uptake was low, which again doctors had warned this government about months ago, and again a campaign was refused and doctors warnings and influenza expert advice was totally ignored. Likewise with the supply of flu vaccine the government were asked repeatedly if there were enough supplies, they gave assurances that there was, well there wasn't, again they had to fall back on vaccine supplies ordered by the previous Labour government, what would have happened if these supplies were not ordered because the previous government took the same stance as this Tory led government? As it is the frantic vaccination programme now taking place, can not be as effective because it takes two weeks to give partial cover and up to 4 weeks to provide full cover from the H1N1 virus.
When asked about this total chaos and debacle with the avoidable numbers now contracting the H1N1 swine flu virus, Cameron explained that supplies were now being used which were ordered by *another government*! Cameron could not even admit then that it was the Labour government had saved the day with their meticulous planning in order to protect the nation as much as they possibly could from the swine flu pandemic. Now our hospitals and critical care beds are full, hospitals are on black alert and operations and out patient appointments are being cancelled up and down the country because of the flu outbreak, the NHS is currently being setback months as a direct result of this Tory led government's total mismanagement of the health service. ITU beds are full, people are waiting on trolleys, some serious ill needing intensive care, others are being refused admission to Accident and Emergency DeptsNHS.
The whole idea is that we try to prevent this blocking happening, by reducing the number of patients having to be admitted to hospital with flu, needing critical care, and we do this by listening to influenza experts, clinicians, doctors and immunisation experts and other relevant groups, and this is everything this government comprehensively FAILED to do, they did not listen to the repeated warnings and they did not act on the advice given and the result is we have an NHS at breaking point and epidemic that could have been avoided and over a 110 people, mainly young people, children and babies have died as a result of this governments gross stupidity and negligence!

My whole point for including this piece in this article, and I make no apologies for it, is because clearly, it is of vital importance to the nations health and well-being. Cameron and Lansley have proven themselves totally incompetent, and if they cannot get this one branch of the NHS right, especially when the hard work and organisation had already been done and efficiently put in place by the previous Labour government all the Tories had to do was activate it and they could not even manage that correctly.
Using the safeguards that Labour placed in the system  in preparation for this years flu season, is all very well, but  what happens to the country next year in the flu season, when no such measures will be in place and this government have failed to put them in place exactly as they have done this year?

How can we possibly have confidence in the Tories to deliver a complete structural change and privatisation in the NHS with efficiency, clarity and probity, when they have already failed the country abysmally in the flu epidemic? Peoples very lives depend upon our NHS and yet we are being forced to accept the word of a proven liar that things will be OK.

For something as drastic and as radical as these reforms to work, there has to be total trust in those that are supposed to be making it work, is that trust there in Andrew Lansley? Is that trust there in David Cameron? During opposition Andrew Lansley was found to have accepted a £20.000 donation  to his office from a John Nash, Mr Nash owns a company called Care UK, it is a company that stands to gain millions of pounds in orders and contracts from the health secretary, Andrew Lansley's radical reforms of the NHS.

Sir Peter Gershon used to advise the Labour government and then when he realised that Labour would probably lose the election he went to work for the Tories, he helped organise where cuts in the NHS and the public sector could come from. Sir Peter Gershon is chair of a company called Healthcare UK, who also stands to benefit millions of pounds from cuts and radical reforming in the NHS.

Last weekend at a meeting Andrew Lansley told doctors, that the onus would be on them to make this work - Exactly! And there we have it, so if it fails, then Lansley and Cameron will try to blame the GP commissioners for failing to make it work, the blame game has already started! How can you trust someone like Lansley, whose own arrogance and incompetence in completely ignoring the advice from experts have led to this country suffering the H1N1 swine flu epidemic, placing many lives in danger unnecessarily?

How can we trust David Cameron who has repeatedly lied to us and broken every single promise he made to us in his election campaign and the Tory manifesto and then the coalition paper? His lies range from letting the bankers off  of the hook, to his biggest broken promise to date over the NHS!  Cameron said, and the coalition agreement could not be any clearer, (so Nick Clegg lied to us again too) "We will stop the top-down reorganisation of the NHS, which has got in the way of patient care". This is not so much "top-down reorganisation" as throwing a nuclear bomb into the middle of the National Health Service. Cameron is smashing the NHS to pieces and it is without precedent, nowhere in the world and never in the history of the NHS has this ever been tried. The NHS will be made up almost entirely out of private firms, who are at this very moment circling like vulchers waiting to swoop in and cream the best bits off, what they leave they will not want and these will be the elderly, the disabled (young and old) and the chronically sick, the people that have illnesses that are too expensive to treat and with a budget that is finite, not many of these GP Consortia will be too keen on having too many of these people on their lists. We will be creating trouble for the country and we will be creating medical nomads, who will be unable to get on to a permanent doctor's list and who can only be treated in an emergency, and these unfortunate people will be going from surgery to surgery to try and get treatment and prescriptions.

How can we trust that David Cameron is telling us the truth when he has already lied to us about what he intended to do with the NHS?

Cameron stands accused of rushing these radical reforms through too quickly, and without proper consultation, Cameron said;  "we have been preparing for this through our years of opposition"  and there lies another monumental lie, if it is true what he says and Cameron and the Tories had been preparing for this throughout their years in opposition, then when he was faithfully promising us all "hand on his heart" that the NHS was safe with the Tories and there would be no "top-down reorganisation of the health service - David Cameron was purposefully and blatantly LYING to the British people. So how can we believe a single thing he says, not just about the NHS, but about anything?

How can we believe him when he denies this is not privatisation of the NHS through the back door? Yet we have proof that he has lied and lied and lied, so this is probably another huge lie.

How can we believe him when he says that under this new system that there will be no patient inequality from surgery to surgery? When in the next breath he says that GPs will be free to choose which treatments they offer? In one surgery a patient may be offered certain medications or surgical procedures etc, while the next surgery that consortia have decided they will not be offering those services?

Cameron offers no explanation to  problems like this, and this is exactly what I mean when I say there was absolutely no substance in today's speech, it was just empty rhetoric from a flawed prime minister who is unable to get on top of his brief. What we saw from Cameron today is what he is good at, PR, spin doctoring, all style no substance, but this is what we get every time from Cameron, how much longer can we put up with this kind of governance? It is obvious Cameron is not fit to be prime minister, that he is even giving these insane reforms thinking room is bad enough, but to put them into action? It is certifiable madness.

Even in today's speech he tried to blame labour for the global financial crisis and the bankers greed crisis.
He also tries to blame labour for allowing spending to go out of control, but this is manifestly dishonest, Cameron knows, or at any rate he should know that this is simply not true, so why is he once again blatantly lying to the people?
What Cameron fails to tell people is when Labour came to power in 1997, health, education and transport were almost terminal. The labour government first had to spend billions bringing the NHS up from the parlous times it suffered under the Tories, there were chronic staff shortages of nurses and doctors, hospitals were old decaying, dirty and falling to bits with inadequate equipment and had not kept up with technological developments and advances in medical science. This is exactly where the Tories left the NHS in 1997. Now today after years of investment, increased numbers of nurses and doctors over 120 brand new state of the art modern hospitals, the vast majority of the millions who pass through the doors of our hospitals and GP surgeries are extremely satisfied with their treatment.

 Of course we need reform and progress in the NHS and of course we can make efficiency savings, no one is denying that, but why do we have to smash the service to smithereens in order to do this? We can, and should be using innovative changes and progress to obtain maximum approval rate and efficient running of the NHS. Forcing the NHS to go through these costly and reckless unnecessary reforms will not improve health care in the UK and there is no proof that they will work. On one hand the government are going to be driving through these radical reforms costing upwards of £3 billion to implement, while at the very same time we are expecting the NHS to make savings of £20 billion. there is too much pressure being applied to the system and we stand to see ward closures on mass and also the complete closure of hospitals where nothing is going to be built in its place and the burdens for treating patients will be placed on neighbouring hospitals in neighbouring areas however, will these existing hospitals cope with this extra strain?
Allowing nurses and doctors, consultants and patients, a bigger say in patient care there is no denying is a good step, but why do we have to totally annihilate the NHS in order to do this? This can be achieved quite quickly and quite easily within the existing framework and without the major disruption that these reforms are going to cause.

Cameron talked about taking targets out of the NHS, but most doctors will tell you that actually targets are what has helped drive the NHS standards up, since their introduction, accident service waiting times have fallen, out patient waiting times fallen, the wait to see a consultant has fallen, the wait for surgical procedures has fallen. People suspected of having cancer get seen within two weeks and the those surviving cancer and heart conditions etc has also risen dramatically from where it was in 1997 where the Tories left it.
Since the Tories started to run the NHS they have abolished these targets and already the lists etc are starting to rise dramatically since Lansley started messing around with the NHS, proof if it were every needed that targets were working.  Yet another reason not to trust Lansley and Cameron with the NHS
What Cameron does not say was in 1997 the NHS was in a truly parlous state, dirty crumbling disease ridden hospitals, they all had to be either rebuilt or refurbished, every hospital in the country got a new accident service or their choice of new hospital department and the construction industry flourished..
The same with education eg the 1997 labour government had to first get all children out of leaking classrooms and ensure the children had inside toilets because as late as 1997 children were still being taught in schools which had outside toilets, which smelled int he summer and froze over in the winter.

Lucy Manning ITV News.

Quizzed Cameron about  why he said the NHS was second rate, insulting all nurses and doctors. He tried to lie his way out of it saying he meant another word. Cameron quickly changed the subject to talk about his family again, for the second time the prime minister is going for the sympathy vote.
Penny Young - Chief Executive For Clinical Research

Says that the public have very high satisfaction rate of NHS - what will the Tories do if this begins to slide?  Once again the PM waffles, does not give an answer to the question and then changes the subject to reforming education.

The NHS is being dismantled people on the front line are losing their jobs, nurses and doctors are going, whole hospitals are going to be closed with nothing replacing them, Cameron has completely ignored the profound nature his changes are going to make.
How can he take public service workers along with him, when these people are losing their jobs, or having their pay frozen?

Allowing this huge influx of private companies into the NHS will break it down and fragment it, allowing competition will not necessarily produce the cheapest care, but what it will do is definitely drive down standards.

In London where they have been adopting these consortia methods, plans to privatise out of hours GP services have already caused widespread concern among GPs, who say quality will be reduced for 950.000 patients who currently rely on a not for profit company.

In local authorities across the country, talks are going with Boots and Bupa about purchasing "walk in Centres" and Primary Care Trusts.

Lansley wants to abolish labour's cap on the number of private wards a hospital can run, which currently stands at approximate 2% of income for most Trusts. warnings have been issued that hospital trust will eventually be purchased entirely and completely privatised. Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon is soon almost certain to become the first complete privatised hospital despite an outcry and protests from patients and the community.

Cuts and the removal of targets are already sending waiting lists soaring and people are being urged to purchase expensive health insurance.
How will ordinary people purchase expensive health insurance? If people are over a certain age, or have a disability, or have chronic health problems requiring regular treatment, they will be unable to purchase health cover from insurance companies. (Companies such as Healthcare UK and Care UK mentioned above sell health insurance)

As hospitals seek to find the £20 billion cuts the government are demanding, up to 27.000 nursing roles will be axed, according to the Royal College of Nursing, this is equivalent to closing down six major hospitals.
More jobs will be lost if NHS Professionals, a jobs agency is sold off at a loss of 50.000 NHS shift workers.

Andrew Lansley and David Cameron already know that Hospitals will have to close and patient care will be hit and treatment rationed by GPs because of the government's controversial shake-up of the NHS.

David Cameron said as much in his speech today, he said it would be painful but some treatments would have to go, but when they had the chance journalists failed to press him on exactly what treatments and what operations etc would have to go under his and Lansley's radical reform of the NHS. I suspect the questions from journalists were staged and Cameron knew exactly who was going to ask what.

 Ever since this government have assumed power there has been a concerted effort by ministers to spread the myth that part of the  perceived problems within the NHS is fault of the "NHS managers" and there has been  some pretty "unpleasant and demotivating" attacks on them. However, while the government is busy attacking these managers (who they are going to be sacking), they are expecting them to drive through their reforms before they are sacked.

NHS Confederation:

The report raises a series of worries about the potentially negative impact of the reforms. It says the switch to a system based on "any willing provider", in which new consortia of GPs will be able to send patients to whoever offers them the best treatment, will force the NHS to shrink in order to make space for new private healthcare providers.
While introducing such market mechanisms can improve quality and efficiency of care, it says, "this will not happen naturally when, as in the case of the NHS, the size of the total market is not increasing. Closure of existing services will be necessary."

Mr Cameron said it was determined not to shy away from controversial changes and would go further than the previous Government to open up the NHS to private providers.

‘We are injecting competition, saying to the private sector, community organisations, social enterprises and charities: come in and deliver great public services.’

Mr Cameron argued new powers for GP consortia to take control of NHS budgets and directly commission services were a vital act of modernisation and sticking to the ‘status quo’ of PCTs and SHA’s was not an option.

‘People said there would be no appetite for this,’ he said. ‘Far from fearing new commissioning arrangements, over 140 GP-led consortia have now come forward, covering over half the country.’

But Dr Chaand Nagpaul, GPC lead negotiator for commissioning, said the reason GPs were responding was in a desperate bid to save the NHS from collapse.
‘The term pathfinder has become a misnomer,’ he said. ‘Many GPs are acting only because they see PCTs imploding before their eyes and are worried that unless they accelerate their plans the NHS will collapse.’

The NHS is facing the biggest restructuring of the service since its creation in 1948 and is described as "extraordinarily risky" by NHS leaders and medical groups in a new report.

Yet there is absolutely no explanation from Cameron or Lansley or the Tory led government, that gives any compelling, or even any satisfactory reasons that clearly explains just why this government believes these reforms are necessary. Neither is there any explanation as to how these reforms are going to translate into improved patient care.  The NHS is not broken, in actual fact patient satisfaction rate with the NHS is at an all time high. So why is this government risking the health, safety and well-being of every single person in this country for little or no apparent reason?  Just why are the Tories trying to fix something that isn't broken?

Could the true reason be, the government is pushing through these reforms because this is what they planned all along?

This government are doing this in order to completely privatise the NHS, they are finishing something that Margaret Thatcher started in the 80's.

Apparently now Cameron is putting out a pathetic excuse that if they do not do this, then people's lives are at risk, this is total rubbish, on the contrary if the Tories continue with this madness, then they will be putting lives at risk, in exactly the same way they have endangered lives through their arrogance and incompetence with their gross negligent handling of the expected swine flu outbreak.
The NHS has been improving year upon year in all departments, it took time to get the NHS where it is today after the Tories totally ruined it from 1979 to 1997 and given the right investment it will carry on improving. The government and David Cameron is lying to us once again!

It is time this government came clean and told the country exactly what it is doing and why it is privatising the NHS!

This government has not been honest with the people and it has no mandate to do this, they should stop it now and put this to a referendum.

1 comment:

Julia said...

Hi Gracie,

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to bring us this information, thank God there are people like you fighting this. Wonderful plain speaking article as usual. I learn so much from this blog. I see you were proved to be 110% on the ball over swine flu.