UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

49% Private Patient Income Cap threatens NHS founding principles

Tomorrow (Monday 16 January) there will be an important Commons debate on Government plans to increase the cap on hospitals treating private patients to 49%. The NHS is the largest untapped 'market' and this is a blatant attempt by the Government to open it up to private business to make profit:

As we have seen in the recent debacle about breast implants the Government has no ability to force private companies to treat patients. In fact private companies who have made money out of people will now be able to keep their profits whilst the NHS has to bear the cost. Patient care clearly comes after the profit margin for these companies. So what is the Government's response? They want to open up the NHS even more to business. By raising the private patient income cap to 49% the result will be a growing inequality in access to health care. The ability to pay will be the overriding consideration, while the majority of ordinary people who don't have money to spare will be left to wait longer for treatment.

UNISON's briefing points out that the revised impact assessment for the proposed legislation 'continues to acknowledge that there is "a risk that private patients may be prioritised above NHS patients resulting in a growth in waiting lists and waiting times for NHS patients". The NHS founding principle that access should be based on need not ability to pay is threatened.'

Public services are under attack from this Government, and must be challenged by the broadest and strongest coalitions to make sure their lies are exposed, and their plans to handover our public services to private companies are stopped.

Clare Williams