[Monday 15 May 2017]
Keep Our NHS Public has welcomed Labour’s announcement that it will restore NHS funding to where it should be if it gets into power, and overturn years of systematic under-funding by the Tory government and its predecessor. But that’s only part of it.
KONP is also pointing out that the way the NHS has been broken apart and is vulnerable to privatising must also be stopped – if we are to keep our NHS as a national, public health service. Restoring funding would not be enough.
Dr Tony O’Sullivan is a recently retired consultant paediatrician and is Co-chair of KONP:
“This commitment from Labour addresses the worst impacts of 7 years of Conservative undermining of the NHS. It begins to reverse the crisis created by a 7 year flat-lining of NHS funding in real terms. 3% underfunding per year since 2010 equates to a shortfall of over 20%. This is the explanation for lack of GPs, A&E consultants, district nurses, MRI scanners and IT equipment. It offers reprieve for 29,000 nurse vacancies, 24 A&Es threatened with closure, shocking A&E waits and soaring waiting lists soon set to pass 5 million.
“We welcome this step. But public money must be spent on public service: these commitments to reverse underfunding must be accompanied by reversal of privatisation in the NHS. Between £5b and £10b is wasted annually by the costs of competitive market processes which have led to £10b of NHS contracts going to private companies. Privatisation has begun to break up the coherence of the public service and to end the primacy of patients’ health need over profit. Remember that £2b of public money flows annually out of the NHS in PFI payments. Privatised control of the NHS estate and of clinic and pathology services must end.”
“We support these measures and call for people up and down the land to use their vote to minimise or overturn the current Conservative majority. You can vote either for another 5 years of Conservative Government or for the NHS – you cannot have both.”
Professor Sue Richards, on KONP’s national executive, echoed these words:
“Labour has grasped the nettle of the chronic under-funding of the NHS which has taken place over the last 7 years. The proposed funding plans will return the NHS in England to the level of funding as a proportion of national income which comparable countries have. Funding decisions by this current government over the last 7 years have pushed to NHS into crisis, with the service only surviving because of the willingness of its staff to work unpaid hours for pay increases which are below the level of inflation. You can only get so much blood out of a stone, and now we are seeing really serious cuts and closures to try to make ends meet. Anyone who wants to save the NHS from destruction should campaign to stop another Conservative term of office. Another 5 years, and it will not be possible to revive the NHS. This is the last chance.”
Keep Our NHS Public was formed in 2005 and has a broad-based, public membership. There are over 75 local groups, and over 30 affiliated organisations plus a national association. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation *§ 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 Wrigley, 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.
- ‘Competition is always best’ as a governing principle 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.]