[For immediate release Monday 13 July 2015]
Keep Our NHS Public wants an NHS that always puts people first and supports any move that aims to do that – such as the Healthy Liverpool programme [http://www.healthyliverpool.nhs.uk ] advocated by NHS Liverpool CCG and discussed in tonight’s BBC Panorama [http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05y3fcb ]. But not when this is an excuse to allow private health companies to bid for lucrative health contracts when they rightly belong to our NHS.
No one wants to see the NHS creaking under the strain of an increasing demand. There need to be unified, properly funded and public services which allow people to lead as healthy lives as possible and encourage them to avoid ill health, no matter what their income.
But there is an increasing danger, and tendency on the part of the government, to see the solution as further developing the idea of a health ‘market’ and opening up health and care services to private provision. Despite evidence [1,2] that applying the principles of the market not only harms the NHS but cannot allow it to operate efficiently: services are broken up as private companies cream off the most profitable parts, leaving an impoverished, disconnected health and care service to tend to the rest. The exact opposite of what integrated and preventative public health should be all about.
KONP President Professor Wendy Savage said:
‘We hear a lot about the increasing demand on the NHS caused by the elderly but today people are much fitter than 20 years ago and older people contribute a lot to the community. We need public health which has teeth to prevent companies marketing unhealthy food and drinks. We need understanding within government of how each department can contribute to health and we need to have a real living wage to reduce poverty which causes ill health.
‘What we do not need is further experiments using the private sector which end up costing the NHS more money eg the fiasco of Hinchinbrooke hospital or dermatology in Nottingham where the service has been decimated. Neither do we need more spin instead of careful piloting of new ideas which are then evaluated by independent experts.’
Liverpool KONP member and health campaigner Sam Semoff added:
‘This could easily become another stage in the move to dismantle the NHS and move to the American based health care system. It is absolutely disgusting the way these reforms are “dressed up” with talk about “improving services” and that the people making the decisions are not clear about what is driving this: a set of ideals which have no place in a health system and cannot be healthy for it.’
Keep Our NHS Public was formed in 2005 and has a broad-based, public membership. There are 46 local groups, plus a national association. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation [1,2] and privatisation of the NHS by campaigning for a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS, available to all on the basis of clinical need. It is opposed to cuts in service which run counter to these principles. Further details: www.keepournhspublic.com
KONP’s Campaigns and Press Officer is Alan Taman:
07870 757 309
 Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigely, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press.
Leys, C. and Player, S. (2011) The Plot Against the NHS. Pontypool: Merlin
Lister, J. (2008) The NHS After 60: For Patients or Profits? London: Middlesex University Press
Owen, D. (2014) The Health of the Nation: The NHS in Peril. York: Methuen, Chapter 4.
Player, S. (2013) ‘Ready for market’. In NHS SOS ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. London: Oneworld, pp.38-61.
 The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models
[Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press. Chapters 2 and 8.
Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon.
Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. Oneworld: London, 174.]