The Lansley Plan launched by David Cameron today will be the beginning of the end for the NHs if it goes ahead. Some of Cameron’s pals are already gearing up to profit from it.
Private Eye reports that Great West Commissioning Consortium - you couldn’t make it up! - a pathfinder consortium with 57 GP practices based in Hounslow, set up by Andrew Lansley, Health Minister, has signed up UnitedHealth to help reduce the number of patients referred for hospital treatment by putting them through a facilitation service to be vetted by UnitedHealth staff.
Private Eye reports that Simon Stevens, Executive Vice President in the US - and make no mistake, this global company’s roots are American - is a former health adviser to Tony Blair, a former Labour PM and multi-millionaire with the blood of hundreds of thousands on his hands, due to appear before the Chilcot Inquiry for the second time on Friday to answer questions about alleged discrepancies about his previous testimony to Chilcot.
Now, while Scots may deplore what is about to happen to our English cousins, they may think that we are safe, since health is a devolved matter, and is currently in the safe, ethical hands of Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and the SNP Government under Alex Salmond.
But would it be safe under a Labour administration in Holyrood, compliant tools of London-based Labour, once the big money started to flow into private healthcare, the lobbyists got to work, and Westminster pressures were exerted, by the Coalition or by a UK Labour Government if the coalition falls before its term?
You can bet that it wouldn’t. Labour joined contemptibly with the Scottish Tories and LibDems to defeat the SNP governments attempt to combat the largest single menace to the health of Scots - cheap alcohol - by minimum pricing. They were led by their health spokesperson, Dr. Richard Simpson, who managed to differ from virtually every significant senior health body and spokesperson in Scotland, including the BMA, his own professional association, the police, health workers, the nursing profession, etc..
This three party opposition block was driven, not by the interests of the Scottish people, not by the health arguments, but by a cynical desire to defeat anything of significance put forward by the SNP, and their wish to curry favour with the big companies in the alcohol business.
(They have just repeated the trick in their defeat of the attempt by the SNP Government to place a tax on the big retailers like Tesco, one that would have created a more level playing field for small shops and retailers.
Protect Big Business, bugger the little guy seems to be the Holyrood Opposition parties’ motto.)
I must say that I believe that Dr. Richard Simpson’s personal opposition to minimum pricing for alcohol was not driven by cynicism, but by genuine personal conviction. I make this judgement based on a radio exchange of views with him on Call Kaye on BBC Scotland recently. He was just plain wrong, in my view, despite his considerable experience of addiction and alcoholism in his role as a GP and addiction counsellor.
Where we are now headed towards is a model of profit-driven, cost-cutting healthcare on the American model, the one that Barack Obama has desperately attempted to reform. one that ensures inadequate care for the poor and vulnerable and makes it safe to be sick only if you are well-off enough to afford private treatment.
The NHS was never safe with the Tories. It now isn’t safe with LibDems, and the thing that used to be the Labour Party is fatally compromised in its values and principles, so it isn’t safe with them either. You can bet that Anthony Lynton Blair supports the Lansley rip-off, even if he doesn’t say so publicly. He can afford to be sick, with a £15m annual income.
Be careful how you vote in May, Scots - especially if you are ill or old, or both. The SNP is on your side, and the NHS in Scotland is safe in their hands.
Labour wouldn’t protect you from the abuses of alcohol - it won’t protect you from abuse of your health care either.