The independent London newspaper

Our health is not a commodity

08 April, 2021

‘Shareholders’ profit will matter more than people’s health’

• WE need to stop further privatisation of our National Health Service.

Compare the privately-outsourced test-and-trace system that has failed to control the coronavirus pandemic, with the NHS-run vaccination programme, which is successfully delivering.

Or take a look at the recently-approved budget by the Conservative government: £15billion on top of the already awarded £22billion to the privatised test-and-trace system; whereas no additional funding is provided to NHS general practices.

It gets worse. A US health insurance company called Centene Corporation recently took over a contract to provide extended hours in four Camden surgeries and the Camden GP hub, (The great GP surgery takeover: US giant seizes four practices in Camden, February 18).

This means Centene Corporation is now in control of crucial services in 43 GP practices around the country.

Five north London clinical commissioning groups, which decide the allocation of the health budget in our boroughs, have been merged. This means Camden Council is no longer able to fully exercise its scrutiny powers.

A recently leaked parliamentary white paper outlines plans to centralise and increase ministerial control over NHS England.

Together with a yet-to-be-clarified new health provider selection regime, this could mean the normalisation of the disastrous model that has been used to award £10.5billion in contracts to private contractors during the Covid-19 pandemic, without any proper scrutiny or accountability.

This is further NHS “privatisation by stealth”. If we allow the Conservative government to continue on this path, we will lose the NHS.

Shareholders’ profit will matter more than people’s health. Health is not a commodity. And this isn’t about choice.

If we tolerate this, then we will end up like the US: everyone will be paying so much more for health that not even the better-off will be able to afford cancer treatments, and the worse-off will be left to die.

Labour, Members of the Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee

Labour, Chair of Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee

Labour, Cabinet Member for Tackling Health Inequality & Promoting Independence



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