NHS -Yet more lies

NEW LABOUR have also lied about the National Health Service. They said that their proposed private treatment centres would not poach NHS staff but it’s now clear that they will.

Labour health secretary John Reid has named the seven companies chosen as ‘preferred bidders’ to run 22 new NHS treatment centres which would carry out 250,000 operations over five years on patients in NHS waiting lists.

So now private profit-chasing health care corporations will grab a £2 billion foothold in this potentially lucrative market.

The companies – from Britain, South Africa, Canada and USA – will carry out relatively routine operations such as hip replacements and cataract operations.

They would make big profits but could lead to NHS wards closing.

The previous health secretary Alan Milburn said that NHS staff would not work in these centres but now Reid admits that this would happen.

Reid writes off opposition to his wooing of the “independent sector” as purely “political”. But the British Medical Association oppose his plans, saying there was no point having up to 70% of staff in the centres coming from the NHS if that left state hospitals short of doctors to carry out their normal work.

Health workers’ union UNISON said that routine hip, knee and cataract operations often subsidise complicated procedures needing long-term care.

Is that all to be sacrificed to benefit some cowboy firm’s profit ledger?

UNISON and other unions could come into conflict with Blair and Co at this month’s Labour Party conference over Foundation hospitals and the flow of NHS resources into the private sector.

For socialists, opposition to NHS privatisation is ‘political’ – we fight to rebuild a democratic, fully comprehensive national health service, fully funded through public spending and free at the point of use.