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NHS Plc: The Privatisation of Our Health Care [Paperback]

Allyson M. Pollock
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 Sep 2005
With a third Labour government in power, the gradual privatization of the NHS looks set to continue apace. How this has come about - to the point where even the shrinking core of free NHS hospital services is being handed over to private providers at the taxpayers' expense - is still not widely understood, far reaching policy change being hidden behind slogans like 'care in the community', 'diversity' and 'local ownership'. Allyson Pollock demystifies these terms, and in doing so presents a clear and powerful analysis of the transition from a comprehensive and universal service to New Labour's 'mixed economy of health care', in which hospitals with foundation status, loosely supervised by an independent regulator, will be run on largely market principles.

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NHS Plc: The Privatisation of Our Health Care + The Plot Against the NHS + NHS SOS: How the NHS Was Betrayed - and How We Can Save It
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (21 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844675394
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844675395
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 96,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘A brave, necessary book. And because you know the government thinks you shouldn’t read it, you probably should.’ -- British Medical Journal

About the Author

Allyson Pollock is Professor of Health Policy and Health Services Research at University College London. A public health doctor, she researches and publishes widely on health policy issues and is a frequent contributor to radio and television discussions.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for all in the NHS! 9 Mar 2005
This is an extremely well-written and though-provoking analysis of the effects of labour's healthcare policies, and obsession with targets and red tape, on the current state of the NHS. I would highly recommend that every doctor and nurse working in the NHS read this as it opened my eyes to the extent of the current situation and helped me understand how we got here in the first place. In the current political climate, where debate on healthcare has been put centre-stage since the case of Margaret Dixon, it is an important and necessary book to read.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Labour, Neo-Liberalism And The NHS 26 April 2010
Despite spending long years in opposition quite rightly defending the NHS, and winning the 1997 election in part on a promise to save it, New Labour developed a set of reforms that brought private interest into the NHS in a manner that went well beyond the already demented dreams of Margaret Thatcher. Allyson Pollocks brilliantly argued and well sourced book describes how this happened, the forces that were behind the "modernisation" policy, and the short term and long-term ramifications of it for the NHS, in a prose that is clear and comprehensible for the general reader.

When the Labour party was voted into office in 1997 there was absolutely no way that the vast majority of those who elected them were voting for this policy of piece-meal break-up and privatisation of the NHS. The Orwellian nature of the language that was used to mask the realities of the "modernisation" project; the plethora of public relations personnel and endless spinning involved; the bullying and cajoling of opponents of the reform (including Allyson Pollock herself) all speak volumes for the lack of any popular mandate. So much for British democracy.

Pollock details the growing effects of "modernisation" on many NHS services including hospitals, GP's, and long term care for the elderly, and makes a cogent case for the negative effects that the marketisations, commodifications, and privatisations have had on the viability of our National Health Service. In short, the private sector wanted, and largely got, a cut of the NHS's revenues to boost their turnover and profits without incurring even a minimal amount of risk. In a way it is rather reminiscent of the cost-plus contracts that the Bush administration awarded by the bucket load in Iraq.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best buys 17 Oct 2009
If you only read one deconstructive critique of government policy and the NHS, make it this book.

Professor Pollock is unwelcome in Government circles- because she shines a spotlight on the inconsistencies (aka lies), ambiguities (aka favouring big business over NHS) and changes (aka policies doomed to failure even before they waste billions of taxpayers money) that have beset the NHS over the last fifteen years.

Since she originally wrote this book (and was rubbished by Gvt about much of the content), many of her predictions, insights and conclusions have been proven correct.

It should make your blood boil
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for every taxpayer! 25 Jun 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Allyson Pollock provides extensive, well researched evidence that exposes the truth behind the stealthy, costly and wasteful privatisation of the NHS.

Her book provides hard evidence to show that the way that the NHS is being "managed" wastes huge amounts of taxpayers money. This book shows why and how the many hard working NHS professionals are being badly served by a completely unecessary, ill concieved and fragmented bureaucracy and its so-called "managers".

Allyson shows how any why the present NHS management system is a bad deal for taxpayers and a bad deal for patients.

Here are some quotes:

"The NHS is being broken up into hundreds of competing trading organisations."

Allyson shows that this is being done to conform to the needs of the ill-conceived "internal market". Allyson also exposes the fundamental flaws that underpin the "internal market" concept.

So who wants the internal market and who benefits from it?

Well, you can expose the roots of any process by asking just two questions:
1: Who pays for it?
2: Who wants it?

The answer to Question 1 is easy: It is the taxpayer and the patients who pay.
The answer to Question 2 is not so clearly visible.

"The dismantling process and its consequences are profoundly anti-democratic and opaque. The catchphrases of 'public-private partnerships', 'modernisation','value for money','local ownership and the rest conceal the extent and real nature of what is happening; moreover, the complexity of health care allows the reality of its transformation into a market to be buried under a thousand half truths.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and insightful view on the NHS 29 May 2009
Everyone has an opinion on what is wrong with the NHS, and the solution to the continual problem of why pouring money into a vast industry doesn't improve its performance. Some say its really a perception issue, rather than one of how the NHS works in practice. Allyson Pollock's book is vital reading and gives a history of where the NHS came from and gives an insight into where it's going.

Along with Tony Robinson's views on the politics of the UK's biggest employer, the future looks unclear for patients if they're relying solely on the NHS to ensure really excellent healthcare provision.

From a personal point of view, a different approach to health which is more patient-centred needs to be adopted.... and soon.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read!
When you read this book and see how the whole story unfolds it answers lot's of questions regarding other governmental decisions that don't appear to make sense. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Paul Fletcher
1.0 out of 5 stars Dangerous nonsense
If the content of the book is anything like the synopsis, then this book has nothing to contribute to any debate on the NHS, as the author seems to have no idea about economics... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Nautical Nick
5.0 out of 5 stars NHS Plc: The Privatisation of Our Health Care
This is an excellent book that gives an oversight of many of the issues facing the NHS and, accordingly, society in general.
Published on 11 Mar 2012 by Ms J. Goddard
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it and see how little politicians care about your health
Allyson Pollock's book takes us on a fascinating journey from the inception of the NHS in 1948 to the present day situation, and how the principles on which one of our most revered... Read more
Published on 6 Sep 2008 by Mithu S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Try it
An excellent book. I couldn't put it down. It made me so angry when I read it - I just cant believe what direction the NHS is going in. Read more
Published on 3 Feb 2007 by Georgie Peorgie
5.0 out of 5 stars Just read this book, please
A very important piece of work. Politicians have done their level best to rubbish the author and to some extent they have acheived their goal. Read more
Published on 23 Feb 2006 by pman
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant study of Labour destruction of our NHS
The National Health Service used to plan and fund to meet patient needs, providing free and fair access for all. Read more
Published on 27 Sep 2004 by William Podmore
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