Stop the NHS being privatised is a slogan I keep hearing over and over again from conspiracy theorists across the Interweb. It is being sold off by Cameron’s government (replace Cameron with May) to his Tory chums, or to TTIP, or sold off to private healthcare companies for profit.
Yet here’s the thing that gets me. The NHS is not a Nationalised Health Service. It is a National Health Service. It doesn’t matter who provides the case as long as it cost effectively done, is the best treatment and free at the point of delivery?
Aside from that – the NHS has been pretty much a private affair from the outset. The 999 emergency call will be received on a private company produced switchboard and phone – both of which will have made a profit out of the NHS. The uniform the 999 call handler is in is made by a private company who made a profit out of the NHS. The ambulance that picks you up will be a privately made one and, if you are picked up by a non-emergency ambulance then the company who transports you will also be a private company – all of whom make money from the NHS.
You will be on a stretcher made by the private sector, checked in using a private companys computer and software, treated in a Private Financed Initiative built hospital using state of the art privately built monitors and machines and given privately researched, developed, tested and produced drugs. All of which will be making money out of the NHS.
The cleaning staff who will come around your ward will be employed by a private company as will the porters who will ferry you from ward to ward, operation to operation. And if you are in need of care outside of the hospital, you may be put in a privately run residential care home to recuperate or receive meals on wheels from a private company.
Ahhh, but what about the doctors and the nurses? Well even there, £3.7 billion is spent on agency staff, doctors and nurses who are not employed by the NHS but are instead commissioned by the NHS via a private, profit making company, to deliver the service.
So please can we put this ridiculous notion to bed. The NHS is not being privatised – it always was. It is not being squeezed for profit – it already is. It just seems wither these left leaning organisations aren’t bright enough to spot the difference or they are deliberately trying to hoodwink people into believing Brexit campaign style lies.