Sunday, 9 September 2012

The LibDems and the NHS

The em pea for Islay is a LibDem. He has been quite touchy about the LibDems getting into bed with the Tories - particularly their support to ‘reform’/sell off the NHS. He had been challenged in the local organ of repute about said support.  

The day after he declared in The Ileach (the Independent Newspaper for Islay and Jura) that, “the NHS will remain free to all who live in England based on need and not ability to pay,” his words were undermined by an article in the Observer. It emerged that, “Jeremy Hunt, the new Health Secretary had personally intervened to encourage the controversial takeover of NHS hospitals in his constituency by a private company, Virgin Care.

Hunt, who replaced Andrew Lansley in last week's cabinet reshuffle, was so concerned by a delay to the £650m deal earlier this year that he asked for assurances from NHS Surrey officials that it would be swiftly signed.

Virgin Care, which is part-owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, subsequently agreed on a five-year contract in March to run seven hospitals along with dentistry services, sexual health clinics, breast cancer screening and other community services. The takeover took place despite concerns being raised in the local NHS risk register about the impact on patient care following the transfer of management from the NHS to one of the country's largest private healthcare firms, until recently known as Assura Medical.”
The Observer 9/9/12

Describing his critics as scaremongers will not stop the storm of opprobrium heading his way. 

Mr Reid and his LibDem colleagues must have known the tories have a privatising agenda running through their very core. Why then did they march through the lobbies in support of a policy which enables the piecemeal privatisation of the NHS? What will they get out of the arrangement apart from a really good kicking at the next election? Have the dizzy heights of power rendered them senseless? Or have they too been promised access to the gravy train?

Labour cannot say too much either. It is worth remembering that this process of the “marketisation” of the NHS was given a massive boost by New Labour in the 2006 Health Act under Blair and Hewitt.  It is interesting to note that upon leaving her job as Health Secretary, Hewitt immediately became a non-executive director at Boots. She also swiftly had another position as an ‘adviser’ with a major private health care company. She was also toe-curlingly caught on camera (alongside sleazeballs Hoon and Byers)  flogging access to Ministers at £3000 a pop. Such is the corruption in our system. Watch out for Lansley/Hunt getting a job with similar companies. 

All three parties are absolutely in it together. 

In the meantime all we can do is begin to organise to throw out as many of these self-serving creeps as possible at the next election. Democracy 2015 is one place to make a start.

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