Stop the NHS sell-off: Build rank-and-file committees
Statement of the Socialist Equality Party (UK)
30 June 2018
On the 70th anniversary of its creation, the National Health Service (NHS) is in grave danger.
Its establishment in 1948 as a universal health provider, free at the point of use, is fiercely defended by working people as their fundamental social right. That right is now in jeopardy as the NHS is transformed into a skeleton, for-profit service, modelled on the US healthcare market.
This is the result of the privatisation policies of successive Labour, Liberal and Conservative governments. Whatever the acronyms used—Private Finance Initiative, Sustainability and Transformation Plans, Accountable Care Organisations, etc.—a two-tier system is being created in which not only the standard of healthcare but ready access to it is determined by the ability to pay.
An investigation last year by the Independent found the total amount of income NHS England made from private patients leapt by a third between 2011-12 and 2016-17. It cited the example of London’s best-known cancer-specialist hospital, Royal Marsden, whose income from private patients rose by 105 percent, from £44.7 million in 2010/11 to £91.9 million—some 31.4 percent of its total funds. While soaring waiting lists and bans on certain “elective” surgeries are forcing those who can to pay privately for care, companies such as Virgin Care, UnitedHealth, Health Care America and Circle are making vast profits.
Recent figures show that £9 billion of NHS services have been outsourced to private providers. Meanwhile, under the Naylor Review, a fire-sale of NHS land and property to private developers is underway. This is in addition to the transfer of whole sections of the NHS estate—buildings bought…