Can Labour Be Trusted With The NHS?

Here’s an extract from the Health Service Journal on 3rd November 2014 (we’ve added the emphasis on certain parts):


Burnham sets out role for private providers in his NHS vision

Private health providers could play a significant role in providing NHS services under a Labour government, the shadow health secretary has suggested. In an exclusive interview with HSJ, the Andy Burnham gave his most detailed account of how his flagship policy that the NHS being the “preferred provider” for state run services would work.

Mr Burnham, who first floated the model in 2009 while health secretary under the last Labour government, said the “simplest way to put it” was that the “first chance” would be given to the NHS. He said: “So, there is going to be change, but the NHS will get the first chance to change. “You don’t immediately go to an open competition, [the NHS] gets the chance to embrace the model. But [if commissioners judge the] change isn’t acceptable or not embraced fully, then [we] say: ‘We’ve given you first chance to change but it’s not worked. We now need to open up to different ways of doing things.’”

The MP for Leigh also gave the all clear for NHS organisations bidding for contracts to bring in a private or third sector provider to deliver some of the work. He said: “The NHS preferred provider principle in non-negotiable for me. Because in the end the public NHS matters to me. “Once you’ve got that principle, then saying that in any locality, allowing people to develop systems that work from that principle but involve others, absolutely, that’s a healthy thing. I think you’d want that to be honest.


Is anyone else here just a little bit worried now?

3 thoughts on “Can Labour Be Trusted With The NHS?”

  1. If a certain NHS service isn’t performing or has been mismanaged, go to the bloody labour market and hire a new management team or promote more competent managers and/or clinicians to reform the service. At the end of the day that is all these private and ‘third’ sector vultures bring to the table, new human capital. All relevant working capital (hospital buildings, MRI machines, CAT scanners, hospital beds, etc) is and will continue to be bought with public cash. There’s no valid reason to buy such labour the way that the private sector ‘buys’ capital investment. You simply can’t justify hiring a new management team and paying them and some annonymous and utterly unneccissary shareholders both a salary and a profit margin (sometimes even a guaranteed profit margin!). This practice flies in the face of the entire ethos of privatisation, there’s simply no need for it.

    It’s worth noting, we needn’t fear this lot maneuvering us towards an american style private insurance system of healthcare. Asides from being too overt and thus unpopular, it wouldn’t be half as lucrative as the chrony capitalist gravey boat of franchised out services these neoliberal turnips have planned for us. Do you think the train opperating companies would favour full withdrawal of government subsidy from rail? Not a chance in hell! Their profits would plummet. No, the private sector vultures are far more enamoured with a model of corrupt governments ‘leasing’ out lucrative public services with generous guaranteed profit and get-out clauses (for them only of course). That’s the future under these Tory/OrangeBooker/NewLabour spivs, and it’s be nice to see a some effective and public fight back from within the Liberal Democrats (who are perhaps beyond rescuing) and Labour rather than having to rely on the arduous and long-term strategy of founding a new political party to fight for the NHS. Alas, it seems double-speakers like Burnham seem set to ride out the general election in post (‘Red’ Ed has turned out to be such a suppine mauve leader).

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  2. If you pay close attention to the details of everything Burnham has actually said, past the “Aren’t the Darlo mums great” and the “to be honest”s, he has been consistently pro-privatisation, (pro “commissioning”, etc.) from the start.

    It’s the way he makes his speeches that is designed to make him sound pro-NHS, but not the content.

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  3. Oh dear, my hopes for Labour’s NHS policy were formed by the speeches I’ve heard Burnham give. This is very worrying indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

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