Beware !! NHS Choices Consultation

Stonebird published a "Severe ME response to Liberating the NHS, Greater Choice and Control", which can be accessed here :

Back in May the Government acknowledged the responses : 

We now  have until Friday 31 August ( the date has been extended from July)  to respond to  Liberating the NHS: No decision about me, without me – Further consultation on proposals to secure shared decision-making ( I hope we can do.

In preparation ,  I have been doing some background research ;  this excellent piece from Abetthern's Blog ( surely is essential reading :

The purpose of the reform is “to increase competition” which decodes as “to get the private sector access to the NHS budget”.  See this speech by Andrew Lansley in 2005 ( for details from the man himself about this equivalence.
The privatisation of our hospitals will proceed thus:
- The passage of the Bill will push all the NHS hospitals out into the private sector through requiring them to convert to FTs, persuading them to have “right-to-provide” management buyouts backed by private equity, or just letting them go broke because they can’t pay their PFI bills.  This privatisation function is part of Monitor’s remit, along with regulating the competitive markets created by use of AQP and competitive tendering. It is expected that by 2013 there will be no NHS trusts left, and a few years after that the FTs themselves will be gone too.
- ensure that patients choose* non-NHS providers wherever possible, by offering them a mandatory choice of private hospitals with fresh coffee, deep pile carpets, plenty of smiling nurses and no waiting time (because such hospitals previously had too few or no patients due to being newly set up). This will result in the public sector hospitals being starved of income from patients, and since there will be no more central budgets for them and there are running costs and fixed costs and salaries and PFI bills to be paid out of the patient fees they earn, this will put them into a loss-making position.
- The government will then religiously observe the Bill’s prohibitions on protecting former NHS or any other providers from financial failure so that the private sector gets the pick of premises vacated by our former hospitals.The NHS trust and FT hospitals and their staff may still be there physically (though many won’t be) but the hospitals will be either private sector owned or private-sector operated (like Circle).  They will not function the same way, as they will have to put the interests of the bottom line first.
The point of the idea of “choice” in this context is to  be a lovely-sounding word so that the public and medical profession do not notice the above-explained looting.
This scenario would seem an idiotic idea if it were not true – this pitiful ruse is working a treat with the great British public.  The choice marked * in the above is the motor of privatisation – it will be patients not choosing the NHS hospital with the queue and the tatty lino which will usher in the new generation of for-profit, mainly foreign-owned hospitals and cause the loss of what we think of as the NHS. Later these same patients will find out that the latter type of hospital is quite selective about the patients it wants (none with complications or serious comorbidities, none which can’t come up with any top-ups required), but by then the public sector NHS will be almost gone, and the private sector hospitals will sue under the competition laws if the country tries to get rid of them and reinstitute a public sector-run system.
By the way, did you know that when the government assures us that “patients want choice” in their health care, the question did not ask them whether they wanted a choice of a private hospital as opposed to a public sector hospital?  It did not ask them whether they wanted another choice alongside their NHS provider.  It did not even ask if they wanted choice in healthcare provision.  It asked them only whether they were in favour of more choice – as opposed to less choice! And on this datum, the whole edifice of the “choice” rationale for privatising the NHS has been built.
We need to draw attention to this dishonesty as fast as possible – because it has nearly won the day.  This Bill is not amendable into innocuousness, or at least no amendment could make it innocuous that they will agree to.  The whole point is to destroy and replace our current system, and the only things they won’t be happy to amend will be the parts that will deliver this outcome.


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