Isn’t it nice to know that the current Conservative government has admitted the austerity administration of David Cameron was wrong to impose privatisation on the NHS!
Except… is that really what Johnson – and his minister for death, Matt Hancock, are saying?
Here’s what the BBC story tells us:
The changes would aim to tackle bureaucracy and encourage health services from hospitals to GP surgeries and social care to work more closely.
The draft policy paper also says the health secretary would take more direct control over NHS England.
Instead of a system that requires competitive tendering for contracts – sometimes involving private companies, the NHS and local authorities will be left to run services and told to collaborate with each other, says the draft White Paper, designed to set out proposed legislation.
It doesn’t say private companies will no longer be allowed to take NHS contracts; nor does it say that the billions of pounds worth of NHS contracts that were awarded to private companies will revert back to the public sector.
In fact, it says
‘there will continue to be an important role for voluntary and independent sector providers’.
It just doesn’t say what that role will be.
And that should make us all nervous.
One of the reasons given for the need to change is that
the Covid pandemic “demonstrated plainly that this broader approach to health and care is not only desirable, but essential”.
But we know that the Covid pandemic has been a catastrophe for private-sector health firms.
Private contractors failed to provide vital ventilators and PPE (personal protective equipment) when they were needed.
The privatised test-and-trace system has done nothing but haemorrhage money; it has been worse than useless in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
And of course the Tory government itself abused the emergency system for awarding contracts, giving them to organisations run by party donors or with links to ministers rather than to those that could actually carry out the work.
To This Writer, it suggests that the private sector is irresponsible and should be removed from the provision of public health care, in all our best interests, as soon as possible.
But that is not what is being suggested.
Until we find out exactly what Johnson and Hancock are proposing, it seems much too early to get out the bunting and celebrate the salvation of the NHS.
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