The Tories aim to kill off the NHS once and for all by privatizing its vital organs.
NHS Property Services Ltd (PropCo) was launched in April 2013. They now own £3 billion of NHS land and buildings. PropCo is responsible for sales to property developers, which means large swathes of NHS land could quickly pass into private hands.
By Margaret McAdam – ISL
The private firm providing the PFI/PF2 loans for the 25-30 year repayment period owns the hospital. Thus, more than a hundred NHS facilities are owned by banks and shell companies.
Commissioning Support Units were created to run tenders, manage contracts, provide IT and Human Resource services and other back-office admin functions.
Although Clinical Commissioning Groups were created by the 2012 Act to decide where the money goes, it is the CSUs that provide the infrastructure.
The Act created CSUs as part of the NHS structure, but from 2016 the CSUs will become independent businesses to be bought out by private firms. In fact, the sale has already begun. If private firms take over the CSUs they will have a huge influence on the funding and rationing of healthcare in this country.
Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) which allocate a limited amount of amount of money to an individual to cover their healthcare needs are being introduced in England.
There is the spectre of ‘top-up’ payments for those who exceed their allocated budget. But the classical pattern of funding in the NHS is that money is allocated to Trusts according to the amount of work they need to do. PHBs allow for a move to a tiered private insurance model, where everyone pays a premium and a private firms then decide who gets treated which claims to pay out on.
Combining universal PHBs with privatised CSUs means an American-style health system.
If land, buildings, back office and budgets have all been privatised, what does that leave? All hospital trusts now have a mandate to become independent businesses known as Foundation Trusts. These are standalone organisations which have to keep themselves in the black, and can do so by taking on as much private work as they want. As with the CSUs, the FTs are units ripe for privatisation, which in this case is dressed up with the vague term “mutualisation“. This means passing from public ownership into the hands of ‘stakeholders’.
The government has divided England into 44 “footprints” through the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) which are designed to make £22 billion cuts. Most of these plans are developed in secret.
Save Women’s Hospital
In Liverpool the health authorities plan to close the Women’s Hospital and a leaked NHS report states that in Liverpool health trusts there will be a £1bn deficit by 2021.
Swingeing cuts are being planned to balance the books with Liverpool hospital trusts expected to slash £167m over the next five years.
Meanwhile staff at the women’s hospital have been told to push private provided by the Catharine Medical Centre, which is based in the women’s hospital, so the hospital can make money to cover the deficit it has. Management are saying they need to make £500,000 from the private services. The CMC describes itself as a “leading boutique private healthcare provider”, that exists because they “recognise that the needs of every woman are different, and that is why we have developed our private maternity care service.”
This spin covers over the fact that it is the NHS that must provide this type of choice if it is to remain a NHS.
They should of course add that they recognise that every women can be treated differently if they have enough money to pay. For example post natal services start at £250 to £950. Some of the services they offer started in August 2016.
In London two Labour leaders, Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham councils, have refused to sign the plan to “transform” NHS services amid fears that two major London hospitals will close, and the downgrading of Ealing and Charing Cross including the loss of A&E units and other acute services.
No such resistance is coming from the Labour leaders in Liverpool to plans to cut health service. So we are calling upon the elected Labour MPs and councilors to oppose any plans to close or sell off Liverpool NHS services, and to actively and publicly campaign against the closure of the Liverpool Women’s hospital.
We have to make the left MPs and councillors fight.
Labour and trade union leaders have failed to lead any campaign or mobilization as the NHS has shifted closer towards the US health insurance model.
Rank and file trade unionists and grass roots communities must take the helm and mobilise nationally. This is the only path to take to stop the wholesale destruction of the NHS.