(Acclaimed News) With previous Conservative governments, as bad as they were, essential state services such as Health and Education weren’t privatised. How things now look set to change as David Cameron is setting the stage for the privatization of the National Health Service.
The biggest risk to the NHS is the introduction of an American model in Britain, where citizens need to have a private healthcare plan to have access to medical care. This system is absolutely dangerous and classist, because it doesn’t allow to low income households to have a decent and free healthcare. Moreover the American model is often subject to insurance frauds and the influence of very rich lobbies.
Actually it seems that David Cameron already introduced a first step to favour privatization through a mysterious deal introduced in March. According to The Guardian this deal is “worth up to £780m” and “will see 11 private firms paid by the NHS to carry out heart, joint and other types of operations and perform scans, X-rays and other diagnostic tests on patients”. Obviously this change created many controversial reactions and critics for the negative consequences to British citizens. For example the Labour politician Andy Burnham said “Chunks of NHS were being sold off”. A pro NHS activist called Paul Evans declared “Despite ministerial denials, this is yet more proof that privatisation is an everyday reality in the NHS. The scale of contracts is increasing as companies are seizing the opportunity to bid to run a huge range of NHS services”. This new occult deal expects the entrance of some big corporations such as Circle, Vanguard and Virgin Care in the management of British hospitals. This new legislation completely betrays the original values of the NHS at the time of its foundation 65 years ago. In fact, after the Second World War the British Government introduced the NHS as an universal and free right for all the citizens without distinctions of income and social classes. At that time British NHS was an excellent and well respected model of universal healthcare, and other European nations introduced similar systems taking inspiration from United Kingdom.
Although currently the healthcare system in UK is mostly funded by the State, the shares of private investors are increasing year after year. In fact “almost all of the clinical work that the NHS provides has been opened up to the for-profit sector and they have begun to take over the caring of many NHS patients”. A British doctor called Jacky Davis declared about these transformations inside the health system “What we are seeing now is Tory scorched earth policy, pushing through their biggest ever NHS privatisation deal”. Another big risk is that these private firms will exploit the most profitable parts of the healthcare such as diagnostic tests, elective surgery and community services. Some famous international artists recently made declarations in favour of the British NHS and its importance to ensure the dignity and equity of citizens. For example the American filmmaker Michael Moore said “Healthcare should be between the doctor and the patient. And if the doctor says something needs to be done, the government should guarantee it gets paid for”. The British filmmaker Ken Loach commented about this issue “The vast majority of people in our country want to keep it (the NHS); but we’ve got no political expression for that; They want the American model. They want private insurance, and bit by bit, that’s what we’re getting to”. Even the scientist Stephen Hawking, suffering from a serious illness for many years declared about the dismantling of the British health system “NHS is Britain’s finest public service and must be preserved from commercial interests. We must retain this critical public service, and prevent the establishment of a two-tier system, with the best medicine for the wealthy, and an inferior service for the rest”.
Some investigative journalists hypothesized what would be the consequences on the British people after the introduction of an American private system in United Kingdom. The first result of privatization is the worsening of the quality of services. In fact according to them “Private companies have a legal duty to reward their shareholders, so they have to prioritise making a profit. This means they may end up cutting corners, or underinvesting”. Another effect of the privatization is the rise of costs to have medical treatments. This factor will not allow the low income households to afford care especially for serious diseases. Moreover the average British citizens will pay more income tax on their wages than before. In fact they said “You pay more, both as a taxpayer and directly when you pay for public services. Value for money goes down because private companies must make a profit for their shareholders and they also pay their top executives more money. This means either we the people, or the government, or both, end up paying more”. Lastly a private healthcare system will decrease the standards of the working conditions of employees in the health sector. Indeed it is evident that “privatisation has had ‘largely negative effects on employment and working conditions. There are often job cuts and qualified staff are replaced with casual workers, who are paid less and have worse conditions”.