Why can’t NHS-basher Kristian Niemietz admit the only problem with the NHS is our Conservative government?

The caption on this image was, ‘Don’t tell me NHS workers aren’t motivated by self-interest’, which is a disgrace. NHS workers deserve decent pay. How much did Niemietz receive for writing this drivel? How much does he get in his day job at the far-right Institute of Economic Affairs? [Image: Rex.]

The Independent has shown staggeringly poor judgement in seeing fit to publish a screed by a grubby right-wing free-market promoter called Kristian Niemietz, who wants you to think the National Health Service is rubbish.

It is a poor attempt at negative propaganda by a dissembler who needs to admit that all the problems he identifies (bar one, which is based on a lie) have been created by the Conservative government – a government that Mr Niemietz, as head of health and welfare at the far-right think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, supports.

He’s trying to soften you up for the introduction of a fully-privatised health system.

He wants you to think the current system isn’t good enough. But he can only do so by highlighting the failures caused by the government whose privatisation policies he supports.

He writes:

Last autumn, a survey tried to identify the 50 things that make Brits feel most proud to be British… The NHS tops the list by a wide margin, and I’m afraid people mean it.

Would that be the same NHS that is currently under investigation again, on the Health Secretary’s order, after an unusually high number of avoidable infant deaths at one of its trusts?

An unusually high number of avoidable infant deaths since Conservative policies took effect.

The same NHS where standards of maternity care are, according to the Care Quality Commission’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, often “truly shocking”?

Again, these findings come after Conservative policies took effect.

The same NHS that gave us Mid Staffordshire?

Of course, the Mid Staffs scandal turned out not to be quite so scandalous after the official report showed that the number of avoidable deaths probably totalled one at the most. And that is the only example provided of a story that could cause reputational harm to the NHS from before the Tories took over.

He writes:

The NHS? Nearly always in the bottom third of the league tables, usually about on a par with the Czech Republic and Slovenia.

Since the Tories took over.

“But it’s just because of underfunding!” I can hear you protest. Not so… In efficiency rankings, the NHS also comes out in the bottom third, just as it does on outcomes. Yes, maybe we should spend more money on healthcare. It cannot do harm. But it would not, on its own, sort out the system’s main problems.

This is the only part that is partly accurate. But Mr Niemietz neglects to mention the fact that Tory policies have driven expertise away from the National Health Service – expertise that is needed in any health service, if it is to provide a high standard of care.

So, again, Conservative government policies are responsible – and Tory underfunding must be considered a main cause of this brain drain.

It is a shame Mr Niemietz could not bring himself to write about the real causes of the harm being done to the National Health Service.

Perhaps his loyalty to the Tories, to free-market thinking, and to NHS privatisation prevented him from presenting the facts.

Source: Why can’t we admit to ourselves that the NHS is one of the most overrated, inefficient systems in the world?

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2 thoughts on “Why can’t NHS-basher Kristian Niemietz admit the only problem with the NHS is our Conservative government?

  1. NMac

    The so-called “Institute for Economic Affairs” should, more accurately, be known as the “Institute for Fascist Nasties”.

  2. Barry Davies

    Not sure where this bloke popped up from, I’ve never heard of him before, but it seems he is just another privateer who hasn’t understood that everything the government has privatised is now more expensive and more inefficient than it was when it was nationalised.

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