The Coalition’s mask has slipped further still regarding the future of the National Health Service if they get their way. Its statements on the NHS are lies. The NHS is not ringfenced and frontline posts are not safe. On the contrary, they are being destroyed.
In May Mark Britnell (part of the Prime Minister's “kitchen cabinet”) addressed a seminar called ‘Reform Revolution’ at a conference for healthcare corporations, run by $20 billion private equity firm Apax Partners. Delegates were told that the conference would cover “business opportunities post global healthcare reform”.
Britnell said, “In future, the NHS will be a state insurance provider not a state deliverer.” And, “The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years.”
Under the proposed reforms, Primary Care Trusts have already been handed a list of 14 preferred organisations from which to commission services. Eight are US healthcare corporations. The list has been drawn up under the Framework for procuring External Support for Commissioners (FESC).
The conference took place in New York, a place where they must have thought it was safe to say openly that the privatisation of health in Britain is the strategy of this government, no matter how many crocodile tears are shed in support of public healthcare.
Many government advisers are jumped up graduates. Britnell is another kind completely: a former Director General for Commissioning at the Department of Health, he is now Head of Healthcare for the UK and Europe at the accountancy giant KPMG, a global network of firms providing audit, tax and advisory services (see “When only capitalism counts…”, page 9). The combined revenues of firms belonging to this network was $20.63 billion in September 2010. Industries covered by KPMG include Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals. No need to ask what firms, from what network, will bid for any NHS services that are privatised.
Britnell has also written in the Health Service Journal along similar lines to his speech to the New York conference. He called for a more sophisticated discussion regarding public v private, but peppering his side of the debate with financial and private sector gobbledygook to confuse about his real message.
Boiled down, though, his argument is: “Because healthcare is free, people use it; and if this carries on, how will the private sector (which he represents) make their billions on the back of the sick?”
Let’s have a real debate about why the wealth created by working people throughout their lives is syphoned off to fill the deep pockets of those who patronise and exploit, instead of being used to fund homes, healthcare, pensions, education and a safe, peaceful country. That’s a debate that won’t confuse anyone. ■