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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 January 2014

Stop the NHS sell-off

Oppose all cuts and privatisation

Roger Shrives

The National Health Service is still being privatised bit by bit but the process is speeding up rapidly.

The NHS has put many contracts out to tender and private firms are winning an increasing proportion of them.

The NHS Support Federation, which opposes this market turn, says that between April and December 2013, private firms won 39 - 70% - of the 57 contracts, worth a total of 510 million.

Fifteen went to the NHS, two to charities and one was shared by NHS and non-NHS suppliers.

TUC demo in Manchester: 50,000 march against Tories demanding action on NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

TUC demo in Manchester: 50,000 march against Tories demanding action on NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The privatised contracts included mental health, GP and out-of-hours services. The amounts involved may be relatively small but the implications are enormous.

This government will shortly be selling off everything that moves and can make a profit to some private concern.

And there will now be greater legal back-up for this robbery. The European Union (EU) has just passed new "rules on public sector procurement".

That will mean that a health market amounting to 450 billion a year will be opened up to private contractors.

All EU member states are supposed to introduce parallel legislation within two years. Cameron's Tories, friends as ever of the rich and greedy, are pushing ahead early with plans to outsource far more services as quickly as they can.

Light touch

Privatisation is still very unpopular but the government will try to sell off NHS services, social care, education and prison services quicker with a new 'light touch' regime. It's not as if the 'giveaway' sale of Royal Mail was at all 'heavy touch'.

The privatised company's total share value has gone up by 2.74 billion since the Royal Mail sell-off. Bankers that advised the government on the sale will be among those now enjoying the loot.

Companies ambitious for health profits won't even need to prove conclusively that they are covered for insurance.

Companies that have a dodgy record on compliance with the law will find it easier to get new contracts if they promise to be 'good'.

Trade union action is needed to save our NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

Trade union action is needed to save our NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

As NHS campaigner Louise Irvine told the Financial Times on 16 January: "This will speed up the process of privatising NHS services.

"The NHS will still spend increasing amounts on transaction costs which can account for 20-30% of healthcare budgets in a marketised system."

This is naked capitalism carried out by a Tory government. The trade unions must take these plans as a threat to the very existence of the National Health Service and organise a fightback.

The best way to hurt the piratical bosses of Moneybags Inc. is through industrial action including preparation for a 24-hour general strike!

If you are determined to fight back, join the Socialist Party. We are fighting to stop all privatisation, to bring privatised services back into public ownership under democratic control and to fight for a high quality, free NHS under democratic public ownership and control. - 020 8988 8777

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 22 January 2014:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Real living wage now

Capitalism is a system in crisis

Pay me - I'm a banker!

What exactly is the point of Labour?

Stop the NHS sell-off

Bedroom tax loophole: Can legal tactics be effective?

Fracking - profiting from environmental destruction

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Egypt referendum: no enthusiasm for new constitution

"Ireland is a success story" rhetoric is based on spin


Stop the student debt spiral - day of action 6 February

Youth Fight for Jobs campaign in Croydon

An open letter to Tristram Hunt

Socialist Party workplace news

Transport workers have power to defeat cuts

Teachers need a date for national action

Teachers strike against threatened redundancies

NUT strikes against management "observations"

More action needed to defend Probation Service

Publicity alone can't save sacked union branch official

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Lincoln marches against racism and fascism

Protest against Atos 'assessments' on 19 February

Salford workers and environmentalists challenge council

Stop cuts in Kent

Carlisle petition

Readers' comments and reviews

Benefits Street: A caricature of poverty

Leeds' forgotten dispute: The 1913-14 Corporation Strike

Robert Burns, insurrectionary poet


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