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

Sunday, 23 December 2012

2012 - beginning of the end for the NHS?

In 2010, when the then, Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley published his cynical government White Paper, titled ‘Liberating the NHS’, he set out the coalition government’s plans to systematically destroy the NHS in England. Initially it was the trade unions who recognised the reality behind Lansley’s sophistry. Meetings and rallies were organised to explain the government’s real agenda for health. This was a blueprint for privatisation, and the removal of health provision from the responsibility of government. The unions were castigated by the coalition as doom-mongers and dinosaurs who opposed change. Now that Lansley’s vision has been enacted through the Health and Social Care Act, it is little consolation to say “we told you so”:

2012 has seen the blocks put in place for the creation of the new health service for England. A service where the wolves of corporate greed can lunch on the rich pickings of lucrative health contracts. A service governed by a framework that will allow for private ‘cherry picking’ while access to complex and chronic conditions will be rationed or decommissioned. A regime where GPs will become the rationers of health, pitting them against the patients they are supposed to protect. Parliament will lose control and responsibility for the provision of a comprehensive health service.

All this and a financial regime that has caused chaos in the acute hospitals sector.

All acute Trusts are in severe financial trouble. Some will only survive by taking dramatic steps to reduce staff and services, others will fail completely with private sector vultures stepping in and creaming off the juices bits.

The result from all this is that the NHS will no longer offer free comprehensive health care to patients in England. Patients and communities will suffer with the only winners being the vulture capitalists such as Care UK, Virgin Care, Serco etc.