New Communist Party of Britain
A National Health Service (NHS), delivered free to all at the time of need, is an essential requirement if people are to play an active part in society.
The expectation of the working class in the post-war period for some dramatic changes to their lives resulted in the birth of the NHS, under the post-war Labour Government. The NHS was revered throughout the capitalist world.
It came with a price. The consultants demanded the continuation of privately paid healthcare, alongside their services to the NHS. Their demands were met.
The wealthy continued to receive their personalised heathcare; the consultants were able to continue to receive lucrative payment for this private business.
The idea of making profit from the sick continued and the NHS would be viewed by capitalists as a valuable asset later as the conditions changed.
Firstly an NHS had to be built with public taxation, and when ready the capitalists would move in; it didn’t have to happen straight away, or all at once. It could be “cherry picked”.
The introduction of private healthcare insurance enabled the private sector to grow. Companies could use it as part of a salary package to some top employees. Others paid privately for Hhealth insurance, and later some would pay out of savings to get an earlier consultation and then have quicker access to the NHS, as waiting lists grew.
Private Finance Initiative (PFI). All public bodies were encouraged to obtain private finance to pay for major projects like hospitals with no exception. New hospitals were built and leased back. The conditions were set by the financiers. Rates were set for an agreed period, then the financiers could increase their charges. This led to hospitals becoming more indebted and vulnerable to private take over.
NHS Trusts/NHS Foundation Trusts. Then came two changes: of NHS Trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts. These changes further loosened the ties to the Department of Health. Hospitals were now to manage their own budgets and have a layer of management with enormous power, and ever growing - at great expense and a drain on resources. A deep rift was created between management and staff and whistleblowers, of whatever rank, have been dealt with harshly.
Outsourcing. As with all public bodies, another means of privatisation piecemeal was the outsourcing of catering, cleaning, portering where workers “Terms and Conditions” were savagely attacked.
Capitalists view health as a commodity, and NHS staff were encouraged to refer to patients as customers.
We regard a National Health Service as a cornerstone to our society, to treat all, when needed, paid through a fair taxation system, to give good after-care, to prevent the spread of disease and encourage and promote a healthy lifestyle. A good NHS is essential for a healthy population and essential to a socialist society and socialist economy.