DR CLIVE PEEDELL ON JEREMY HUNT’S 25 YEAR PLAN FOR THE NHS
"I founded the National Health Action Party in shock and anger at the Health and Social Care Bill, which was designed to dismantle and increasingly privatise the NHS without a democratic mandate.
Jeremy Hunt wants a 25 year plan for the NHS, but the Health Act legislation and the move to devolve healthcare to counties and Metropolitan Authorities will take the N out of the NHS and create a full postcode lottery. Your health will depend on the wealth of your borough. That will take 25 years to untangle, if there is ever the political will to recreate an NHS from its ashes in the future.
Last Thursday in the House of Lords there was a debate on the sustainability of the NHS initiated by David Prior, the Government’s Health Minister for Productivity. It called for a commission or report into co-payments and insurance. Lord Warner (Lab) spoke of ‘failures to make productivity gains’ and then continued ‘if the NHS fails, as I think it will, do the Government increase borrowing, cut other public services further or raise taxes? Without any of these, they will have to face up to finding new streams of revenue or reducing the NHS offer.’ Lord Cormack, for the Conservatives, said ‘Nothing must be off limits (….) all forms of funding must be looked at’.
Jeremy Hunt wants the NHS to continue with its US 'buddying' programme, describing Kaiser Permanente as one of the three exemplars in the programme. He also calls for transparency. We suggest more transparency around the systems we are being asked to implement. These are US models. International comparisons show the NHS model of care to be a world leader. The US system is acknowledged as failing many of its people. Kaiser Permanente's offers 'integrated care', that is to say insurance is integrated with care. It is about health plans, not health care.
Devolution, American health care programmes and insurance. That is not my NHS. It is not our NHS. That's Jeremy Hunt's 25 year NHS.
It is time for an informed debate on the future of public services that is not stage managed by the business interests which lie at the heart of all these proposals.
The NHS is not unsustainable nor unaffordable. It is being torn to pieces in the search for profit."