Save our NHS

Kick out the profiteers

NHS demonstration March 3rd 2007, photo Paul Mattsson

NHS demonstration March 3rd 2007, photo Paul Mattsson

Private equity firms, the vulture venture capitalists buying up large parts of the economy and paying virtually no tax, now control 70% of private hospitals, after their acquisition of BUPA’s health services last week.

Lois Austin

And when there is £6 billion, of public money up for grabs to pay for NHS patients to be treated in the private sector, you can see why private equity firms, who raid businesses and services when the going is good and then cut and run when it suits, are so eager to get their greedy hands on the private health care market.

When health minister, Patricia Hewitt talks about a ‘polarity of providers’ of NHS services she means these firms getting hold of vital parts of the NHS.

Her vision of a future NHS, all sweetness and light, with a mixture of providers all pulling together, actually means a two-tier system involving healthcare insurance, like the US model.

For the people of south London this means the threatened closure of the emergency clinic at the Maudsley Mental Health Hospital. In the era of the NHS internal market, a service can’t be costed in advance is a service which cannot be ‘afforded’.

That’s why, along with the elderly day hospitals, Felix Post and Eamonn Fotrell, the Maudsley is up for closure. Having won a partial victory when the closure was delayed, trade unionists and users took to the streets once again last Saturday to save the service.

Our fight to get a full clinical emergency service resumed at the Maudsley will continue and must be linked with other NHS campaigns around the country.

Campaigners will be out in the next few weeks, determined to stop the clock being turned back to the 19th century.

The 59th anniversary of the NHS will be celebrated on 5 July with protests around the country culminating in a protest outside the Department of Health at lunchtime and then giving the NHS a great big birthday on Parliament Green at 5pm.

Make sure you are out on this day defending the founding principles of the NHS.