The moment of truth arrived recently when NHS England chief executive blamed the crisis in our hospitals, A&E and social care at the door of the Tory Government.
He contradicted the boast of Mrs May that she was pouring £10billion into the NHS and said over the next three years funding is going to be highly constrained; “In 2018-19 real terms NHS spending per person in England is going to go down”.
For years health workers have been struggling to cope with patients waiting hours on trolleys and bed blocked because of cuts in social care. The Government has turned a deaf ear and appointed Jeremy Hunt as Minister of Health. He’d already announced the health service should be dismantled “as it was no longer relevant”.
Since Mrs Thatcher’s days, successive Tory governments have made reforms which reinforced each other to create conditions leading to marketisation. They progressed further when they pushed the Health and Social Care Bill through. The British Medical Association warned at the time the reforms were “flawed and very risky”. They said a few private firms could take over “vast swaths of the NHS”.
The Tories continued to open the health service doors to privatisation when the Tory Lib Dem Government changed the requirement on GPs consortia from the NHS as the preferred provider, to any qualified provider. Against the financial and staff shortages, only the dedication of our health workers is keeping the place ticking over.
It’s the ideological goal of the Tories to reach the total privatisation of the NHS. The founder of our health service, socialist Aneurin Bevan, recognised this Tory attitude, that’s why he stated the health service will always be with us, providing the people were prepared to fight for it.
The question is – should the Labour Party and the TUC be doing more to organise real public protests against, what I consider to be, vandalised attacks by the Tories on our most essential public institution?