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The End of Nye's NHS,
This review is from: The Plot Against the NHS (Paperback)
The National Health Service, created in the aftermath of six years of total war and during a period of crippling austerity, has succummed to a twenty odd year campaign by private interests, aided and abetted by a multitude of mendacious politicians from every major party, to be finally re-engineered from an institution crucial to civilising this country, into what will essentially be a feeding trough for the private sector. Lay and Players "The Plot Against the NHS" is a short (though at 179p its not as short as the 128p that amazon claim!) and sharp account of that campaign and the prosepects for the NHS after Andrew Lansleys recent Parliamentary Bill takes effect.
The story they tell is depressing. Tentative moves to privatise the NHS under Thatcher and Major gain speed during the Blair/Brown era. Miserable specimens of humanity such as Alan Milburn and Patricia Hewitt drive that agenda forward step by step in tandem with all manner of mendacious statements that serve to veil their actual intent. Notions such as democratic and public accountability are emasculated, the performance of private health care in the NHS is measured with all the care that the "coalition" employed counting civilian bodies in Iraq. Ministers and civil servants flit between the public and private sector with lightening rapidity. Companies with histories that include a whole host of crimes ranging from fraud to the buying and selling of human organs are presented as suitable partners for the NHS.
An under regulated economy serving the interest of private capital collapses. The Tories and the so called Liberals are elected and use the aforementioned collapsed economy as the excuse (ala Naomi Kleins The Shock Doctrine) to turn the NHS into an under regulated cash cow serving the interests of private capital. This, argue the authors, will in time bring the NHS in England to a end: costs will grow hand in hand with the inefficiencies that a fragmented "market" will clearly bring, pressure will increase for patients to pony up for an increasing array of now free at the point of use treatments. The eventual outcome will be a system that reflects the experience of the United States, and the country will be paying over the odds for a health care system that does not deliver the goods except in black ink on corporate accounts.
This book deserves and needs to be widely read and acted on, sooner rather than later, as there is always an alternative to the destruction of public institutions and the priviliging of private interests over our collective well-being: this being a point the authors explore with regard to developments in post-devolution Scotland and Wales, whose respective administrations have held back from moving in a similar direction. In short this is a well written book, that narrates the story of "The Plot Against the NHS" along with an analysis of the marketisation inflicted on it thus far, and the prospects for it during the unfolding Cameron/Clegg era. Totally recommended.