Friday, January 27, 2012

Seumas Milne: It's not too late to save the NHS from the barbarians

This piece by Seumas Milne appears in The Guardian:

Unless decisive action is taken in the next few weeks, the National Health Service is heading for disaster. The battle over the coalition's plans to turn England's NHS inside out has been going on so long, the details are so arcane and claims of concessions so regular, it would be easy to imagine that the worst had been averted and common sense prevailed.

.... Cameron and Lansley insist they don't plan to privatise the NHS, of course. But that's exactly what's happening on the ground even before the bill hits the statute book. The first private company to take over an NHS hospital, the Tory-linked Circle Health, won the contract to run Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridgeshire in November, even as it admitted it may not be able to "provide a consistent level of service to its patients".

And the government has been in talks with international health corporations about taking over 20 more, while private companies are already running local doctors' services and preparing to administer the clinical commissioning groups of GPs due to take over the purchaser role in the coalition's new market model. Facts are being created on the ground.

You can read the whole article here.

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