Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/672/12103
Challenging Tories' plans to kill our health service
Andy Ford, Unite North West regional health committee
About 40 people gathered at a meeting, called by Defend the NHS, at the West Kirby Social Club, Wirral, on 20 May to quiz Tory MP, Esther McVey on the NHS white paper.
She gave a very assertive presentation on the NHS - it was full of waste, all the money went on managers and pen-pushers instead of doctors and nurses, the outcomes on cancer and heart disease were the worst in Europe, all the while claiming total support of the NHS whilst totally knocking it.
However, members of the audience picked apart her points. One retired NHS manager pointed out that the NHS, as a huge organisation, actually needs managing and organising. "Who are all these pen-pushers?" he asked. "You can't just lump all managers together, it's ridiculous."
Others, including a hospital consultant, pointed out that the outcomes on cancer had improved dramatically with a bit of investment.
Then came Esther McVey's biggest point: "Labour did the same. They used private enterprise to drive efficiency - they had the Independent Sector Treatment Centres, PFI."
This caused something of an uproar as everyone tried to tell her how much PFI (private finance) projects cost. She then tried to turn the audience against Liverpool campaigner, Sam Semoff, for trying to block the PFI at the Royal Liverpool Hospital.
"So you tried to stop the new hospital in Liverpool," she said. But no one liked the personal attack, which I think harmed her argument if anything.
Six copies of the Socialist were sold.
In The Socialist 25 May 2011:
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