Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Health: Public Service or Business Opportunity?

Talking to a variety of people from around the world with experiences of the limits of health care in their own countries it is often surprising to hear their views, impressions and frequent misconceptions of the UK's NHS (National Health Service). Many are convinced that it is probably the best health service in the world. Maybe once upon a time, for too few short years it was, however now there are a plethora of stories from all quarters which easily debunk that myth. The one that follows comes from a doctor with a long career in the NHS, Ursula Holdsworth who is a retired community paediatrician and member of Keep Our NHS Public (KONP).

Keep our NHS public

'I got involved back in 2011,' she says. 'I could see what was beginning to happen to the NHS and the changes that were coming in under the Coalition. I could see it was going to be a hugely expensive reorganisation and a tremendous waste of £3bn.'

Ursula joined the Nottingham branch of the national organisation Keep Our NHS Public in 2011, since when she has been active on the campaigning scene, speaking at public meetings and raising awareness of the changes to the NHS. The group organises regular meetings, public stalls and demonstrations, often linking up with unions and other campaign groups and taking part in wider, local, regional and national rallies.

As a career-long NHS doctor Ursula says that the rise of private companies in the NHS has spelled bad news for patient care, and for loyal staff: 'Private companies are just in it for the quick buck; they don't care what happens to a hospital long term. They see the NHS budget as an enormous opportunity.'

One of the most contentious local issues has been Circle's running of the Treatment Centre at QMC (Queens Medical Centre), and this, says Ursula, has been a big driver of her own campaigning. 'I knew that when it first opened all the staff there were NHS staff with NHS terms and conditions. Gradually they left and were replaced, and gradually the terms and conditions have been getting worse, and staff are no longer in the NHS pension.'

Taken from 'The Spokesman' issue 128

Capitalism is the world wide system of organisation in which we are all living. Capitalism's raison d'etre is to make a profit at every turn and every transaction, regardless of the effects on either people or planet. It is up to us all as individual world citizens to join together, to unite, in the cause that will bring us all the greatest benefits in all aspects of our lives, health being just one of them. We cannot unite for capitalism, as capitalism forces us to compete one against the other and group against group. However, we can unite against capitalism and win the world for all its people locally, nationally and internationally.


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