Revealing the British coalition government's plans, this examination demonstrates how a small "policy community" inside and outside the department of health have schemed for 10 years to replace the National Health Service (NHS) with a U.S.-style health care market without informing parliament or the public.
While ex-ministers, officials, and the like profit from lucrative positions in private health companies, the population must cope with the increasing health care costs and the diminishing quality of care.
With accounts from NHS patients and doctors, the key strategies of implementation are uncovered and the companies involved--their lobby, their businesses, their fortunes, and, in some cases, their crimes--exposed.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 128 pages, Tables
- Publisher: The Merlin Press Ltd
- Publication Date: 14/04/2011
- Category: Health systems & services
- ISBN: 9780850366792
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Review by MarkHurn
To those in the UK the National Health Service (NHS)has been a "fundamental component of social solidarity & equal citizenship for sixty years" (p. ix). The NHS provides equal access to health care and by international standards that healthcare is also very cost-effective. It is a good example of the sort of thing where socialism actually works. However, this book shows that particularly US based private healthcare companies, have been behind 'a plot' to privatize healthcare in the UK. This has revealed itself in the break up of the NHS into 'Foundation Trusts' and the handover of certain services and facilities to private companies. In the case of hospital cleaning this proved a disaster. Sadly the UK public have hardly been aware of this backdoor privatization. UK politicians have retired from public life into well paid consultancy jobs, with those same companies. Consultations with the public have been biased and often phony. There is no evidence the public wants greater privatization and it seems it will also drive down the quality of care too. The watchdogs like Monitor and the Care Quality Commission lack resources to police the private sector properly and in care homes this has led to horrific scenes. There are also dangers of local services going bust and closing (particularly if you live in a poor area) and also of fraud. Wealthier patients will be encouraged to pay for 'extras' which most would regard as 'basics'. "The effect of privatizing care is to shift some of the cost from the community as a whole to individuals who have unequal abilities to pay for it" (p.141) so it is clear that the middle classes are probably going to have to pay out a lot more for healthcare. This book is a well written and up to date warning of the threat posed by the Governments so-called reforms. If it's not broke, hands off!