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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 December 2011

Hands off our NHS!

Frankie Langeland, Bristol Socialist Party
26 March 2011 TUC demonstration against the government's austerity programme, photo Suzanne Beishon

26 March 2011 TUC demonstration against the government's austerity programme, photo Suzanne Beishon   (Click to enlarge)

The government recently announced a plan to sell NHS patient information to private companies. They argue that allowing private life science companies access to this information could "potentially give the NHS early access to new, innovative drugs treatments."

But, as we are now getting used to, the first priority of the Tories is not patient care. Cameron isn't selling the information to reinvest money into the health service - the only charge will be to cover the cost to the NHS.

On top of this Cameron is creating a 180 million "catalyst fund" for companies to bid for to help get projects started! This is at a time when hospitals across the country have made huge cutbacks. In November the RCN nurses' organisation reported that 50,000 NHS jobs had either already gone or were at risk of being cut.

The proposals state that the information will be anonymous, however all patients would automatically be in the scheme and would have to opt out rather than in. The Con-Dem government is forgetting that this is not their data to sell!

This is our personal information that we trust to health professionals, doctors, nurses and our families and friends, not information that we want handed over to private companies.

Selling off our personal information is just another step in the privatisation of the NHS. We have all seen what private companies do to the services we rely on.

Britain, like the rest of the world, has the potential to make great advances in medicine. However we will never be able to achieve this in a profit-driven system.

Instead of working together private companies divide skilled pharmacists, doctors, scientists and researchers, putting them into direct competition, often not looking for cures and treatments for diseases but creating and marketing diet pills and cosmetics which provide higher profits.

Not only does capitalism divide the skilled workers we already have and turn their attention to less vital projects, but tuition fees and the removal of EMA student payments are closing doors to a new generation of scientists that should be taking the next steps in medical research.

The Socialist Party is fighting back against the privatisation of the NHS, in whatever form it takes. We support workers organising action against the attacks of big business and the Con-Dems and say no to anyone profiting from our personal information.

Thousands of NHS workers took strike action on 30 November alongside other public sector workers. This gave a glimpse of the massive potential power of the working class to reverse and stop privatisation. More action like that will have to be organised to defend our NHS.

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In The Socialist 14 December 2011:


Socialist Party feature

Tories speak for the rich - not for us


Socialist Party news and analysis

Hands off our NHS!

Unacceptable! Draconian sentences for Dundee 'Facebook riot' teenagers

Striking to defend pensions

No progress at climate conference

Them & Us

Why I joined the Socialist Party


Socialist Party editorial

Stand up to the Con-Dem government


Socialist Party reviews

Inside Job: Capitalism is a failed system: support the socialist fightback

TV review: Britain's great housing scandal exposed


Socialist Party workplace news

All out now to stop the sites!

Pensioners and workers - united fight needed

Occupy London tours Canary Wharf

Action after N30

Langdon school strike

Public sector pensions - where now?

Tax workers on strike

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

"Putin is a thief", "Putin is a thief"

Kazakhstan - 20 years of authoritarianism!


Readers' Comments

Cameron's drugs problems

Attacks on Tupe rights hit hard

Building bosses and their blacklist


 

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