Privatisation of NHS is a scare tactic

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Some people like W Quinn use the lie that the Government want to privatise the NHS as a scare tactic by implying that users will have to pay for NHS services.

This is simply not true. The principle of free at point of use is paramount, whoever provides the service.

The truth is the NHS has always involved a mixture of public and private providers. For example, most GPs are not public employees but rather independent contractors to the NHS. Dentists also remain largely outside the NHS while receiving NHS funding.

In recent years, the NHS has become an even more mixed system. Reforms introduced by Labour saw private sector organisations becoming involved in new ways. From 2003 the Labour Government commissioned 35 independent sector treatment centres with the aim of reducing waiting times.

These centres were owned and operated by private companies contracted to provide services exclusively to NHS patients.

Both the Brown and Blair Labour Governments used private providers to increase patient choice and competition as part of their reform programme.

Despite this mix the NHS remains a public system, funded by public money, and delivered mainly by publicly owned providers.

The so-called of privatisation of the NHS is not a sell off of state assets for which the user pays at the point of use. The NHS focus has been instead on outsourcing the provision of services.

People should not forget that is was a Labour Government was the first ever to privatise a hospital.

Alan Wright