Private contracts at the heart of the NHS crisis

A letter in the Guardian (6 December), signed by several DFNHS Executive Committee members amongst others, points out the truth of the NHS crisis

The letter reads:

“The NHS crisis isn’t just about lack of adequate funding. Over the last 30 years the NHS has been structurally dismantled under successive governments, leading to many of the serious failings that we are witnessing. US companies like Kaiser Permanente, McKinsey, Centene and United Health/Optum have been significantly involved in this, and in the delivery of NHS services.

“US-HMO style “integrated care systems” are now being installed throughout England, although they are not statutory bodies and have no legal basis. These lack accountability following abolition, in the 2012 Health and Social Care (HSC) Act, of the health secretary’s duty to provide key NHS services throughout England. Billions of pounds of NHS funds now flow annually to multinational healthcare corporations through commercial contracts. The changes brought about by the HSC Act effectively end the English NHS as a comprehensive, public healthcare system.

‘This can only be reversed by legislation to abolish all NHS privatisation and to restore the health secretary’s original duty. The NHS reinstatement bill provides legislative proposals for this.

“MPs including Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, the Green’s Caroline Lucas, SNP’s Philippa Whitford and Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams were notable early supporters of the bill in 2015.

“Their parties’ manifestos express their opposition to privatisation. The Labour and Green manifestos would also repeal the HSC Act and reinstate the health secretary’s duty to provide universal public healthcare throughout England. The Tory and Lib Dem parties’ manifestos express no such commitments.”

Joan Bakewell Broadcaster and writer
Julian Barnes Author
Melvyn Bragg Author and broadcaster
Richard Eyre Film, TV, theatre and opera director
Roger Graef TV/film producer and director
Dr Colin Hutchinson Chair of Doctors for the NHS
Dr Louise Irvine GP
Helena Kennedy QC Barrister
David Lascelles Film/TV producer
Paul Laverty Writer
Ken Loach Filmmaker
John McCarthy Writer and broadcaster
Professor Allyson Pollock Newcastle University
Jonathan Pryce Actor
Dr Eric Watts Retired haematologist
Dr Graham Winyard Former medical director of NHS England

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