Forum

The Privatisation of the NHS

Sitting on my PC, I have an e-mail from my (just) ex-MP stating that there are no plans to privatise the NHS (guess which party he represents). This was over a year ago.

We have a nearby NHS Treatment centre - owned and run by a private company - with a rather tasty contract to do a large amount of minor operations for the local CCG.

Today, I come across an advert for Virgin Care looking for nurses (band 5 - £23000 to £28000 pa) in a unit which is run by our local District General Hospital. The successful applicants will get all the benefits of being part of the Virgin Community - including a 40% discount on Virgin Trains - but will also get an NHS Pension. To me this is just one more step down teh road to the privatisation that an MP stated is not going to happen.

Does this mean that my MP was telling a porkie? OK, so he was a junior minister at the time, so maybe he did not know what the Dave and his team was planning. Either way, this will leave me with a big problem - who to vote for. Hopefully, we will have a UKIP or Green Party candidate to make the choice easier - and enable a bit of cage-rattling - without the risk of letting either of the other two parties get their lobby-fodder in.

Geoff

The Tories have done such terrible things to the NHS - including under-funding and back-door privatisation - not to mention cuts to disability benefits and social care - I don’t see how anyone with a long term health issues likely to lead to (if not already causing) significant disability can contemplate doing anything but vote for the local candidate most likely to get them out. You would need a very good reason to pick any other issue as more important for the likes of us! My opinion only, but a strongly held one.

1 Like

I go along with your logic, Angela. However, much of the financial mess the NHS is in can be blamed on Tony Blair.
The NHS Treatment Centres - all across the south of England from Cornwall to Hampshire owned by one company
The Private Finance Initiative - that sees all the “NHS” Hospitals built in the last 15 years owned by one man.
Of course, some would say that Blair was only a Tory in disguise (given that Thatcher was his hero(ine).

My problem is that I am in a safe Tory constituency, and neither of the other two main parties have a prayer of winning the seat this time round. I do have issues with those two parties, but I do not have a problem with voting for someone who could give the Tory candidate a fright.

I do find it interesting that we (in theory) vote for the best candidate, and Mrs May has (in a letter to everyone in the constituency) now switched to an approach that says “It is me or Corbyn - so vote for me”. She refers to the Tory candidate as “My candidate”. So that is any pretence of democracy gone out of the window.

Geoff

1 Like

What really worries this old leftie is the amount of MP’s and Lords with links to private healthcare firms. Why is it not a conflict of interest when voting on NHS issues?

This article is a couple of years old, but indicates the scale of the problem.

2 Likes

Yes Blair was a Tory in disguise - which Corbyn, whatever else you may think of him, is not! In a safe tory seat you’ve not got much choice but to register a protest (personally I think UKIP are an even more unlikable element than the Tories so I would have to pick whichever other party is likely to come second to Tories!)

I see where you are coming from Dr Geoff but, if I was You, I would worry about protest votes for UKIP in case any perceived “swing” to them encourages the Conservatives to adopt (even more of) their policies. UKIP don’t say much about the NHS but what they do say is pretty scary and extreme. You can’t get a fag paper between UKIP and the nastiest wing of the “nasty party” over most things.

2 Likes

It’s a pity that we don’t have a real tradition of blank votes in the UK like they do in France to record that we believe in democracy but we don’t agree with any of the candidates. Here, spoiled votes are not accorded any real significance (although I did like the story of the voter who drew a very rude picture next to the name of the candidate he hated which was recorded as a vote FOR him because it didn’t spill over into the spaces of other candidates!).

So start one.

Be very careful that your spoiled ballet paper can’t be counted as a vote - but spoiled ballot papers DO count as part of the turnout, so you can’t be accused of apathy (whereas not bothering to vote DOESN’T count as part of the turnout).

See here: http://www.votenone.org.uk/ for more.

And if all those people who reckoned they were in a safe seat and their vote wouldn’t count, actually voted, you might be surprised by how unsafe the “safe” seat is - an astounding 34% of the electorate didn’t bother to vote in 2015.

People died for your right to vote - that’s how important they thought it is - don’t squander your opportunity and then spend five years complaining about the outcome - influence it.

As you can tell, I’m a bit passionate about this!

Jo x

3 Likes

Absolutely agree. Perhaps we should lobby for a separate “they are all rubbish” box on the ballot paper. Not that stupid an idea - at the moment there is nothing to differentiate between people who deliberately spoil their paper as a protest and those who can’t master the idea of putting a cross in the box next to the person they want to vote for (yes, there are some - I have friends who have worked at polling stations and the stories they tell would make your hair curl. Basic civic education in this country is terrible!)

1 Like