Hands off our NHS

The NHS is more important than any Brexit deal or any political alignment you might have.

No matter what your opinion on Brexit or politics, one thing most people can agree on is that the NHS is far better than having a health insurance based scheme. Thousands of people die every year in the USA, the richest country in the world, as they cannot afford the insurance.

During Donald Trump‘s joint press conference with outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May in June 2019, Donald Trump made it clear that the NHS would be on the negotiation table for any trade deals between the UK and the USA.

The Tories have said that they are the best people to manage the NHS, however this simple act by Matt Hancock, current Health Secretary, put their whole ethos around the NHS in one tweet. The day Donald Trump said the NHS was part of the future trade deal Hancock replied with a tweet

Yet, 21 NHS contracts, £127m worth, are currently out for tender to any company. 19 of these contracts since Hancock become Health Secretary in February 2019. All the Tory contenders for the top job came out defending the NHS but how many would defend it when desperate for a trade deal if we bomb out of the EU. My guess is none.

You can’t trust the Tories

Just goes to prove you cannot trust the Conservative Party with the NHS. It has been one of the main victims of austerity, despite it having the ‘ring-fenced’ finances. Many other cuts around society such as police cuts, social care funding, and the cutting of nursing bursaries have all had a knock-on effect on the NHS.

No matter how much money you put into it, it cannot support these levels of desperation. The Conservatives flicked off the switch on the life support machine 2010. The NHS is taking its last breaths.

In 2010, David Cameron and Nick Clegg both decided that more competition was needed in the NHS than before under New Labour. They appointed Andrew Lansley as Health Secretary in 2010; he was the architect for the Health and Social care bill. With this they opened the floodgates to allow private companies to bid for specific services. Private companies, NGOs and the NHS had to bid against each other to offer a service. They claimed it would improve quality and value for money, however health care does not work like supermarkets or building firms.

In 2015 the EU brought in similar competition rules for public sectors, any contracts out for tender over 75,000 pounds had to be announced. That meant any EU based company could bid for a contract. Many fear this is what the USA companies want a piece of. Richard Branson has successfully sued the NHS for millions under these laws as he said the procurement procedures were not fair amongst other things. See more about Virgin Care ripping of the NHS here.

What is more, Trump’s best friend, Nigel Farage, has on more than one occasion endorsed insurance-based healthcare. There are even many in the Tory party, like Jeremy Hunt, that would advocate for a privatised NHS but just keeping the name. Likewise has happened with the Royal Mail.

Save the NHS

Anyone that has used the NHS in their local area will see that there has been a significant increase in private companies running health services. This includes admin support for GP surgeries, drug and alcohol clinics and social care companies.

Many in our society have not had to face what many poor Americans have to battle for: paying insurance to get basic healthcare. According to a study by Harvard University 45,000 deaths a year in the USA are down to lack of insurance. In austerity riddled Britain some cannot even afford a weekly shop, illustrated by the rise of food banks. Can you imagine what will happen if we have to pay for health insurance?

I worked for over 10 years of the NHS at all levels in many locations. The one thing that does not change is the power of the people behind the NHS. If you privatise the healthcare sector, many of these people leave as they are there to care for people, not to make profits for shareholders. You don’t train to be a nurse to make money for someone else; you do it to help people.

The NHS has been sold of piece by piece for years by politicians that don’t even use it. Even if we stay in the EU, something many are now saying we need to do to save the NHS, this will not stop the slow sale of our health care. However, if we have a No-deal Brexit, the NHS is the first thing the USA business vultures will pick at. We can use our position whilst negotiating Brexit to get a good relationship with the EU, or remain. One thing we must do is protect our NHS from private companies.

The NHS needs saving despite Brexit. It doesn’t matter about the nationality of the rich people, they will only invest if it makes money. We need an NHS that is to cure people not to increase profit margins or pay dividends to share holders.

There is no point arguing for No-deal Brexit if you don’t have a health service to look after you. If you think the Brexit debate is divided now wait until the NHS is sold off. Not only will we have a divided society, but we will also have a dying one.

The only option to have a fully funded safe NHS is to bring all services back in-house. Make the NHS great again: for people not profits.

Please share to all fellow NHS workers and users

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