Private providers profit from NHS waiting-list misery

A student nurse, South East London Socialist Party

The number of people waiting on a list for more than a year for NHS treatment has grown by 186 times since the start of the pandemic. A total of 6.2 million people are waiting to be seen. For many, these treatments are life-saving and could mean an improvement in their quality of life or extension of their life. Despite these facts, Tory ministers still deny the NHS the funding it needs.

As a result, more and more people are turning to private providers. The private sector market hit a staggering £1.17 billion in 2020, and is predicted to continue to grow. However, not everyone can afford to pay up, and nor should they have to!

Many people spend their savings attempting to save their health or their life, and the number of Britons raising funds for medical treatment via GoFundMe has increased 20-fold in the last five years, according to the Financial Times. Britons now have almost as much ‘out-of-pocket’ healthcare spending as Americans – almost 2% of GDP.

Covid impact

As a student nurse, I have worked in the NHS for the past three years and have witnessed the impact that a lack of resources and poor funding have on both patients and staff. The recent pandemic sought to highlight the insufficient ability of the NHS to cope with anything above normal workload, with staff already pushed to their limits before the pandemic.

For NHS workers, like myself, burnout is becoming an increasingly more prevalent issue with droves of nurses and other healthcare workers continuing to leave the profession. Without funding and a decent pay rise for NHS staff, waiting lists will not get any shorter. The only people that benefit from private health extortion are the super-rich bosses. That’s why we say: take the private health facilities out of the hands of the profit vultures. Fight for a fully funded, fully public NHS where decisions about care are made democratically in the interests of our health, not in the interests of profit.