Streeting will go “further” than Blair on NHS privatisation

  • Post last modified:May 29, 2024
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Writing in the Telegraph on 28 May, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said of the NHS:

We will go further than New Labour ever did. I want the NHS to form partnerships with the private sector that goes beyond just hospitals.

The thing is, the very existence of private sector healthcare takes resources and expertise away from the NHS. The difference is that shareholders are making huge profits in the private sector.

So when politicians like Streeting seek private provision for the NHS, instead of investing in public healthcare, the cost of those profits are transferred to the taxpayer.

Streeting’s approach is the complete opposite of what Keir Starmer originally pledged. He vowed to “end outsourcing” in the NHS – not increase it.

Streeting: turning our NHS into a cash cow

Under Tony Blair, Labour welcomed more private healthcare providers into the “NHS family”.

The Conservatives then took this further. The proportion of the NHS budget going to private providers increased from 3.9% in 2008-9 to 7.3% in 2018-19.

If one includes further spending such as social care, the proportion going to the private sector is at least 18%.

The cost of profit in healthcare is clear from a comparison between health spending in the UK and the US.

The largely for-profit system in the US costs far more than double per person on healthcare than what we spend in the UK.

Blurring this fact, Streeting writes in the Telegraph:

The health service accounts for almost £4 in every £10 government departments spend day to day.

It’s the £168 billion elephant in the room.

Instead of taking healthcare spending out of context, Streeting should be clear that yet more private provision will only increase costs.

Privatisation can also establish a culture where profit is held above quality patient care.

This is also clear from the US where workers say corporate hospitals cut costs to make more profit. This increases risk of negative outcomes for patients.

Boot him out

In the general election, activist Leanne Mohamad is challenging Streeting’s seat in Ilford North. She has stated

I am going to be fighting for our NHS and to keep it free from corporate interests.

Let’s hope she causes a political upset for the privatising establishment.

Featured image via Good Morning Britain – YouTube

Source link