Another crackpot scheme for the NHS

Jon Dale

Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s latest plan for the NHS is to send up to 50 ‘of the best doctors,’ nurses and businessmen to the USA to learn how to become top managers.

In the USA, health spending per head of population is the highest in the world, yet a fifth of the population have no health insurance. 58% reported delaying or going without medical care in 2011 because of cost.

Health services administration is a huge burden in the USA. Insurance companies continually try to evade paying for investigations and treatment. Healthcare providers employ an army of administrators, accountants and lawyers to wrestle with the insurance companies, who employ equally large numbers.

Sending doctors and nurses to study in the USA shows that this is the sort of health service the Con-Dems aim for. Healthcare is being turned into a commodity to be bought and sold – leaving those with the least money in the worst situation and all but the richest with terrible insecurity if they become seriously ill or injured.

As well as two months in a US business school, Hunt’s plan includes a month’s attachment with a big corporation. Microsoft, BT and FirstGroup have been mentioned. It was FirstGroup’s overcrowded Great Western train that broke down in August, stranding passengers for almost six hours with insufficient food, water or toilets. Standing passengers were offered an upgrade to get a seat in First Class – if they paid for it!

This is the future for the NHS – overcrowded, lacking basic care, but with the chance for an upgrade to First Class for those with enough money. This isn’t new – it’s Britain before the NHS was formed. Three decades of relentless privatisation by successive governments are turning the clock back 65 years.

980,068 people have waited in A&E for more than four hours in the past year. At the Royal London, part of Barts Trust which is set to cut 1,000 posts, emergency patients could not be admitted for two days in September 2013