Why privatising the NHS makes my blood run cold…

Posted: June 10, 2011 in Social Commentary
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last week I found myself sat watching Diagnosis Murder, yet another extremely cheesy and annoying daytime TV show that makes me cringe whenever Dick Van Dyke opens his mouth.  I sat with my customary cynical TV snobbery in place, raging inside at how ridiculous the programme was and the crime it represented to good TV drama.

But then, just like a bucket of cold water, the plot develops into a storyline highlighting the disgraceful practices of HMO’s; those, in my mind, hateful organisations that were spawned under the Nixon administration – with the explicit purpose of making money out of medical health; of ensuring that profits are possible if care is withheld.

The fact that HMO’s still exist to this day beggars belief.  The fact that this bastard offspring of a President that was impeached from office for ‘high-crimes and misdemeanour’s’  is still dictating the life expectancy of those in need of urgent medical care, makes me sick.  The fact anything that mandates a physician needs to withhold care, until they have checked if the patients insurance carrier will pay for said treatment, is legal, leaves me with a feeling of despair.

When money meets medicine, I wonder what happens to Primum non nocere?

And it is this same sense of foreboding despair that continues to engulf me when I think of the Tory plans to introduce privatisation to the NHS.  In fact, Tory plans to privatize anything, after the resounding success of their previous privatisation programmes in the Thatcher years, actually fills me with tangible fear.

The NHS is in a mess, of that there is no doubt; the system is definitely in desperate need of an overhaul.  However, who, other than a Tory MP, honestly believes that the National Health Service would be better off if large health organisations were allowed to tender bids to snap up the more lucrative elements?

Who seriously thinks any good can come from the old boys network chopping up the service so their friends can make millions in the coming years?

The NHS is a mess, but it was created for a very specific reason, to cater for a very specific need.  It was introduced with an explicit mandate to provide care based on need, not the ability to pay, and that need has not diminished one iota since the NHS first appeared.

I don’t know what the future is for the NHS, but I fear that Tory privatisation would be something we would all live to regret – most likely in our time of most urgent need.

  1. I’ve come to this from the link over at SingleMaltMonkey, and I’m hoping things go well for you all when this issue gets sorted out. I live in the US with our completely for-profit “health care industry” and it’s been heartbreaking for me to witness the Clintons and now President Obama encountering so much resistance to the idea of decent health care opportunities for all.

    I tangled a while back with a scary sort of political blogger who tried to explain to me that health care wasn’t a “right” that everyone should have. He believed that I was a bit stupid because I didn’t understand this. The disdain, or fear, that their tax dollars will be spent to care for people– and not on bombs, frivolous political wrangling, or corporate welfare– is held by so many people here (some of them not so far away from poverty themselves) that it boggles my mind. I hope writing about these issues and talking about them helps. I was glad to read this one from you.

    And I agree with Mr. Warmington’s point, too. I’d also like to see that study done!

    • Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and even more so for leaving feedback.

      I have to say that I am confounded by the fear of socialism that I see in the American political machine; the fear and mantra that seems to be used to shout down any argument for a health system that would take care of all, not just those who can afford to pay.

      • I’m so sorry! Somehow I read your post and the comments before mine, and missed your name as the writer of this blog. It must have seemed odd of me to refer to “Mr. Warmington” as if he wasn’t you! I swear I’m not really stupid– I just appear that way when I’m busy and tired! I’ll be more diligent in the future. Thanks for your kind reply.

      • How funny! :D. I just figured you were adding a little flourish to your comments by referring to me by my surname, It did read a little odd, but my mind was so addled at the time that I discarded the possibility that you thought he was not me :D.

  2. Muzzy Daud says:

    Wonderful! Amazing post, I love reading posts like these. To delve into this would be to go to politics, and I am not a fan of them.

    By the way, I have a new post up about the slang that people use today, it’s funny and satirical and I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on it.


    Thanks, Muzzy

  3. My experience of the NHS has always been positive ( on the rare occasions that I’ve needed it) and I’m a big supporter of it. I agree that large organisations need constant tuning to keep up (like your racing cars) but any privatisation scares me, too. As does this Tory coalition. I thought I understood what they were up to. Give the GP’s the money and let them buy the services, etc. OK, I got that. What passed me by was the fact that the Secretary of State was no longer going to be responsible for Health Service delivery. WHAT ?! So, Andrew Landsley could have fucked it all up and then said, when it failed, “Nothing to do with me ! ” . These guys are dangerous.

    • I too have been fortunate with my experiences with the NHS; I have also been extremely lucky not to have required much healthcare, but I can’t guarantee that will last forever.

      I just hate the fact the Tories seem to be focusing so much on the balance-sheet, instead of the quality of care. I would love to see a study into how much the economy would benefit from a healthier populace and whether or not that could offset any deficit in the budget for healthcare.

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