New Worker Banner

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Fight for the NHS!

by New Worker correspondent

JEREMY CORBYN joined a protest against GP practices being taken over by a US health insurance company last week. The former Labour leader, along with East London MP Apsana Begum, joined demonstrators outside the London headquarters in Westminster of Operose Health – a subsidiary of the giant Centene corporation –to protest against NHS privatisation.

Corbyn told the crowd to “fight for the NHS until hell freezes over” at the protest called by Doctors in Unite (DiU), a campaign led by the biggest union in the country.

Unite, with 100,000 members in the health service, has hit out at “a culture of Tory cronyism that is rapidly enveloping the NHS”, and called for an urgent independent inquiry into the ever-expanding lobbying scandal engulfing the NHS and its impact on the accelerating pace of health service privatisation.

The call for an inquiry – with its recommendations cemented into law – follows on from the revelation that Tory health secretary Matt Hancock met former prime minister David Cameron and financier Lex Greensill for a private drink in 2019 to discuss a new payment scheme for the NHS.

Doctors in Unite chair Jackie Applebee said: “Ministers and senior NHS executives have repeatedly mouthed the mantra that the NHS is not being privatised.

“But now we have the case of a huge swathe of English general practice, including the data of nearly half a million patients, being handed over to US health insurance giant Centene – with a breath-taking lack of transparency and openness.

old trope

“Tory politicians and their outriders in the media roll out the tired old trope that all general practices are private, but this is disingenuous and they know it.

“There is a world of difference between a multinational corporation that operates to make a profit, often by cutting staff and services, so that it can pay dividends to shareholders, and local GPs who are very much part of the NHS ‘family’ and provide services from a budget fixed by the Treasury.

“The public needs to wake-up to the fact the NHS that they so value and which has been the lynchpin of the successful vaccination programme is being steadily sold off to profit-hungry healthcare companies – in this case one whose headquarters is in America.


“This is another prime example of the accelerating privatisation of the NHS by stealth and Unite is spot-on to call for an independent inquiry into the wider lobbying scandal engulfing the NHS which emanates from a desire by profiteers to get their hands on lucrative health service contracts.

“Now is a time to draw a line in the sand to preserve and cherish the NHS as an organisation free at the point of delivery to all those in need. If we are not vigilant, these founding principles of the NHS in 1948 will become pale shadows of themselves.”