current affairs

Conservative health policy

I’ve been trying to find the time to post an analysis of the Tory draft health manifesto. But the more I’ve thought about it the less I’ve had to say. Not because it’s marvellous but because the essential points are so simple.

Much of the manifesto is contradictory – calling for less government control in some sections and more in others. Their thinking is muddled at best.

I find it astonishing that despite the NHS being clearly a huge Labour achievement the Conservatives several times over claim they are “the party of the NHS”. What an absurd thing to say. As a Green I feel no need to make such claims, just to offer policies that will improve our wellbeing such as more community-based healthcare and abolishing prescription charges.

The absolutely critical parts of this manifesto refer to that old political favourite of ‘choice’:

“We will give everyone the power to choose any healthcare provider that meets NHS standards.”

“To give patients even more choice, we will open up the NHS to include new independent and voluntary sector providers…”

There we have it. The NHS will be broken up and left to compete with other providers. Private providers I would suggest is where they are going. Because for Tories government provided options are ‘bad’ and in their free-market worldview competition is needed to boost the quality of government services.

We already know that marketisation, competition and privatisation in the NHS thus-far has been hugely expensive, resource intensive, problematic and with very mixed quality outcomes. (Read more: On this blog here and here, plus from the NHS Support Federation & Keep our NHS public)

I’m not entirely surprised by a Conservative push for further privatisation of the NHS, destroying public service and end-to-end treatments without changing providers n-times. But the revelation that the shadow health secretary Andew Lansley’s office is being bankrolled by the Chairman of Care UK makes things even clearer. Care UK are a leading private beneficiary of the NHS privatisation work Labour have done already. I’m sure Care UK can see very significant profits to reap from a Conservative-controlled NHS break-up.

I don’t believe that’s what the majority of British people want to happen, I just hope the manifesto’s weasel words will be exposed before people come to vote.

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