You probably remember David Cameron telling us that the NHS was safe in his hands. In fact he’s used this expression on a number of occasions, most recently during the General Election campaign in 2015.
Well it’s sort of true. True in the sense that he hasn’t cut spending to the NHS.
In fact he has done something even more radical. He’s abolished it.
This took place in the form of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, which removed the responsibility for the health of citizens from the Secretary of State for Health, while abolishing Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts, and redirecting funds to “clinical commissioning groups”, whose task it is to buy in clinical services rather than providing them directly.
This is the means by which private health care companies are making inroads into the NHS.
Virgin, Circle, Bupa, Serco and United Health are just some of the companies vying for a piece of the NHS pie.
In 2015 nearly 40% of NHS deals went to private health companies, many of them donors to the Tory Party, who are cherry-picking the most profitable parts and leaving public service providers to cover the rest.
Virgin Care has recently taken over hospitals in Sheppey and Sittingbourne. According to the company’s own website, they now operate over 230 NHS and social care services, including walk-in centres, urgent care centres, out of hours care, community services and GP practices.
Don’t tell me they are doing this to perform a public service.
Richard Branson, while he nurtures the image of an amiable and slightly bumbling uncle, is, in fact, a ruthless financial operator. He wouldn’t be taking on these services if there weren’t significant profits to be made.
Private profits will inevitably cut into services, thus making it appear that the NHS is failing, thus providing the pretext for its eventual sale – to the very companies who are draining it of funds.