• chris posted an update 4 months, 3 weeks ago

    Wave Goodbye to the NHS!
    “Dozens of NHS hospital trusts across England are looking at (or already have) set up private companies in which to transfer swathes of vital NHS staff and assets.”

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/caroline-molloy/are-cash-strapped-hospitals-walking-into-trap-that-could-cost-nhs-its-family-

    Privatisation through the back-door, not us!

    • I said this the day the Conservatives won in 2010.

      They really do deserve the title of the Nasty Party. The only party that kept the worst of them from emerging was the Lib Dems. And we all know how that turned out for the longevity of the Lib Dems.

      • Yup! I can remember Michael Portillo(sp) cheerfully saying if they’d been honest about planned changes to the NHS they would never have been elected, and seeming okay about the deception of ‘No top down reorganisation to the NHS’ being repeated before they were.

        As deceptions go it’s a pretty fundamental one, compared to some in the game of politics.

        • It’s the silent way it’s being done which get’s so angry. If you don’t go looking for it you never find out!! Grrrr!

          It shouldn’t be this way.

    • A disgrace, if I could afford to emigrate i would and leave this selfish and inward looking country for the brexit nobheads and little englanders to squabble over. What is supposed to be so great about our country? I can’t get my head around it. No one cares about anyone but themselves and the place has the look and feel of a scruffy car park (apart from a few well manicured areas).

      • Selfish country? Number 8 in the world giving stakes.

        https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2010/sep/08/charitable-giving-country

        Inward looking? Really? Travel anywhere from Everest base camp to the jungles of Peru and you’ll find Brits vastly over represented.

        What’s so great about this country? Loads of stuff; the people, the culture, the countryside, the history and the relatively law abiding and tolerant manner in which most of us go about our lives. It’s very fashionable to slag off our country but take a step back and look at the other 190 odd countries objectively and you’ll see it’s not such a bad place.

        I won’t deny that it’ll be a much diminished country if we allow them to bugger the NHS.

        • All good points. It’s the contradiction between the way our leaders act and what is going on “on the ground” that angers me. For example, there’s a burgeoning homeless problem around where I live but apparently “we’re all in it together”. All I see from our political representatives are vain projects based around national identity combined with endless austerity.

    • Several unions in Yorkshire Trusts are already balloting for industrial action. Thus far it has only been put forward that non-clinical roles are transferred to these new companies. Thin end of the wedge for many low paid, mainly woman, in the NHS.

    • Its a good job that our legal system, CPS and Police are not affected by the austerity measures in the same way that the NHS is.

      No.

      Wait.

      This would now be turning into an ecumenical matter.

      • The real trouble for the NHS (and us) though is not austerity, but selling off the family jewels!

        1.It’s not theirs to sell
        2.We’ll never get it back
        3.If whoever buys it will be propped up when it goes tits up.

        Meanwhile BBC Newsnight featured a segment on the NHS in which cancer specialist Dr Karol Sikora called the health service “the last bastion of communism”.

        Sikora is the Medical Director of private health firm Proton Partners Ltd, based in the tax haven of the Bahamas.

      • What I can’t quite get my head round is 1970’s Britain, you know, back when we were “The Sick Man Of Europe”. We were completely on our uppers and yet…

        We had a huge army, navy, air force, libraries everywhere, cottage hospitals, fully funded higher education with substantial grants (students could even sign on in the holidays!) and do you remember all those well tended flower displays in every municipal park? The list goes on and on.

        Am I imagining all this. Is it all just rose tinting? Why is it that now we’re back to being one of the richest nations in the developed world, our country’s institutions and infrastructure seem increasingly threadbare.

        • The rules changed. The country is being run for the benefit of different people now. I’m not saying the old lot were better, but the new ones have different priorities and want more for themselves.

        • Not really. Look at the spending numbers:

          In 1970, in descending order, education was 5.39 percent GDP, welfare was 5.35 percent GDP, health care was 4.02 percent GDP, and pensions were 3.83 percent GDP.

          In 2010, in descending order, health care was 7.65 percent GDP, pensions were 7.62 percent GDP, welfare was 7.24 percent GDP, and education was 5.79 percent GDP.

          Since 2010 health spending/GDP is about flat, pension spending has risen but welfare has fallen. Education has fallen, but only back to about 2005 levels

          Overall spending has fluctuated around 40% of GDP (where it was in 2016 and in 2007) for most of the last four decades.

          The biggest fallers were things like defence. The problem is probably that expectations and costs, especially of health provision, have gone through the roof.

    • All staff being transferred will be ‘TUPE’d across on the same T’s and C’s with the same right so what’s the issue? A different logo on top of their payslips? If a hospital can save £12 million in VAT payments and the annual savings of £5million (and plough that saving back into frontline care) then what’s the problem?

      • The hospital is paid for out of general taxation, the VAT goes back in to general taxation. There is no saving for the taxpayer here, just an excuse. Not even to sell off the family silver, to give it away.

        Under the radar, without any proper debate, we are moving over to an American style health system. Which as we know sucks if you need healthcare and happen not to be one of the fortunate ones. But in one area it is the absolute envy of the world – there is no other health care system in the world that comes close to transferring as much taxpayers’ money into corporate profit.

        • “Under the radar, without any proper debate, we are moving over to an American style health system.”
          What is your evidence for this?

          Why is the transfer of staff from a publicly owned institution (the Trust) to an institution wholly owned by that Trust a sign of “privatization”?

          • Well, try this. Ask the next ten people you find yourself in conversation with “how much of the ambulance service do you think is privatized”. Going off my own experience nine out of the ten will have the firm belief that none of it is privatized.

            This is because privatization is going on under the radar.

          • Because these companies (called “NHS Companies”) are no longer part of the public-service NHS system. Poorer employment conditions. Weakened public service ethos. Loss of capability in the core NHS, which shrinks. “Strategic partnerships” with private-sector healthcare companies lead to their eventual absorption into the private sector. Eventually the NHS becomes a shrunken last-resort service for those too poor to afford private insurance. This isn’t theory, it’s the way it is intended to work.

            Take a look at this: https://www.grantthornton.co.uk/globalassets/1.-member-firms/united-kingdom/pdf/publication/nhs-companies-an-enterprising-approach-to-health.pdf. Some quotes:

            “Viewing the patient as a customer. People working in the NHS see their job as a vocation, and they care deeply about their patients. Delegates felt that establishing a company had helped people to redefine their patients as customers, linking both great patient care and service delivery.”

            “Planning your exit. The absence of an exit strategy with triggers was considered a key risk, even for successful companies. Trusts do have to consider the possibility of selling their interest, but this is a complex decision and requires planning.”

          • @postmanpat Let’s say for moment you wanted to privatize chunks of the NHS by stealth (I know as a Tory you would never stoop to such things, but just suppose). Wouldn’t arranging things so there were neat “businesses” that could be easily detached from the core NHS be a rather obvious approach to take?

            • And if I wanted to reduce VAT payments and have more flexible labour contracts what would you do?

            • …. and imagine if, at the same time, you introduced extra layers of bureaucracy, vastly increased the numbers of managers, set up unobtainable targets and sought to manipulate public opinion against the NHS.

              It would almost be as if you were setting up a much loved public institution to fail. All you’d need then is a bunch of dodgy Knights on privatised white horses (Sir Richard?) to ride in and save the day.

          • Ah, the apologist has arrived.

            • It’s not an apology.Why would it be? I’m perfectly happy that private companies should provide services to the NHS just as they do in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Japan etc etc .

              But in this case I am keen to understand why you regard the movement of labour contracts from the State owned entity to the subsidiary of a State owned institution as “privatisation (?)

      • “All staff being transferred will be ‘TUPE’d across on the same T’s and C’s with the same right so what’s the issue?”

        And after a few years they get told that the new employer wants to “harmonise” their conditions with the existing workforce. And if they refuse then they find their job is no longer “economically justifiable in the economic climate”.

        “If a hospital can save £12 million in VAT payments”

        Its not a saving. The VAT would have gone to the government, which is also the entity that funds the health service.

    • It’s another cake and eat it competition. Put taxes up to fund services people complain… Put up hospital car parks to fund services folk complain…. restructure the NHS to save money and people complain…

      Tell them they can have everything better by paying less tax year on year, they believe you and go away happy.

      Who are the fools in this game!?

      • Unfortunately, your no body wants to pay more taxes, does really exist. Plenty of people would willingly pay more taxes to fund a “proper” NHS. You and other telling us we don’t want to doesn’t make it true.

        The fact is there’s no method for anyone to discount this Tory meme that no one wants to pay more tax. The Tories don’t want more tax, but generally people would pay more tax (both Tory and Labour) for an NHS free for cuts and privatisation.

      • There was a fascinating article in the Economist a week ago looking at what tax rises were needed to fund people’s expectations in respect of the nhs, social care and so on.

        Analyzing IFS figures it was saying that the shortfall is about £60bn and it looked at ways this money could be raised.

        A 1 p increase in everybody’s tax barely dented the shortfall. A 50% tax on high earners raised petty cash.A corporation tax of 25% scratched the surface.

        The only seriously practical way of raising the money was to remove all exemptions from VAT and charge VAT on everything.

        As the Economist said whilst people are beginning to realize that taxes may have to go up and are beginning to accept it, very few have grasped by how much. Nor do people understand that taxes on say high earners or corporations will not make up the difference.

    • You guys in England should get yourself a devolved parliament like in Scotland. You’d almost certainly find that an English government with responsibility for the NHS, Police and Universities would do a far better job of minding the store than the tossers at Westminster with their ideological Grands Projets.

    • The NHS is up for sale to the lowest bidder. And like Corillion, when things go tits up, and they will, then the tax payer bails them out. Either way its a win-win for whoever bribes their way to the best contracts. They either make a killing, metaphorically or physically and if it goes bad then the government gives them money to compensate.

      • Except the NHS Isn’t like all the other institutions that have been privatised, it’s special. For most in this country, it shepherded them into this world and if it still exists, it will shepherd them out. It is very important for a lot of people that they know that the organisation that is caring for them, in these literal life or death moments it is driven by an ethos of duty and care and absolutely not out of profit.

        It’s not so long ago that many in the UK were intensely proud of The Royal Mail (mundane as the post may seem), that’s gone now, it’s just another sub standard service provider. Should we really let an organisation this vital to our country go the same way ?

        Just bear in mind all the guff we were told about Royal Mail privatisation, regarding better efficiency and better service. Anyone feeling better served ?

      • Services can be provided to the NHS by external providers. That has been true since the Blair/Brown era and they still represent less than 10% of the total. No French or German whines that their health services are being “sold to the lowest bidder”. They just acknowledge that that a health services should be run on pragmatic not narrow ideological lines.

    • It is about time that the Tories were finally honest, told people the truth, and did something, instead of letting things degrade in the hope that people eventually turn against the NHS ( it’s probably not going to happen, given that it is the “religion” of the British electorate)

      They have become a party of populists and demagogues, and visibly so. They tell people the lie that they are committed to the NHS whilst leaving the system into crisis and seriously underfunded. When that lie stopped working, they’ve then said leaving the EU and reducing immigration would fix it. But of course it makes it only worse and multiplies the problems.

      When are they going to tell people the truth ? We need to either hike taxes, pay for treatment, or accept inferior health outcomes. Also not making things worse by brexit-induced economic self-harm, and not pushing both EU and non-EU health practitioners away would be a good idea….

      If pragmatic and compassionate conservatism as it once existed in this country still exists, I am afraid it is not to be found in the current party.

    • The privatisation of the NHS, or any public service, is happening as a result of an ideology. Lots of people seem to think that it’s happening because of failed left wing ideologies and ‘the market’ will sort it out. It’s not – it’s happening because of the ideology of the right wing

      The government are not doing this because they are “keeping an open mind”. It seems they are the ones blinkered by an ideology and are following it through at great cost to our public services.

    • There is no chance of a move toward a US system any time soon, regardless of the politics. It’s materially not possible in the foreseeable future.

      However the likely direction – and that has been the direction for a while – is to still have a free at point of use, taxpayer funded healthcare system, but provided by private contractors.

      Fake privatisation on fake markets.

      Obviously it fixes absolutely none of the main three interlinked issues :
      – Not enough health practitioners in the country
      – Demographic challenge
      – Lack of funding