With reference to the letter from Linda Page (The Voice of Scarborough, September 14) that the government is privatising the Health Service by stealth, I could not agree more.
However it’s only a part of a long ongoing process started by the Labour government led by Tony Blair back in the 90s.
He began the process by privatising (outsourcing as I believe he called it) sections of the service not directly related to actual patient care. That process has continued under various schemes and governments such as PFI (Private Finance Iniative) where the buildings are sold off and then rented back by the NHS.
Successive administrations have simply continued that process, now we are into areas directly related to patient care: mental health together with its associated services. Under a Tory government we should expect nothing less, they cannot abide anything which is not run by private companies be it the schools, roads, railways, prisons and a multitude of other services which are at least part privatised, by which I mean part of the organisation or the running of it is ‘out to tender’ or is a self funding executive agency, DVLA for example, which means a private company provides some if not all of the work previously carried out by what was once a government department, sometimes there is no detriment in this arrangement.
In terms of formal privatisation of the NHS the problem for even this government is the high profile and esteem in which this particular service is held and people would notice. Whereas the other areas I have mentioned have gone largely unnoticed by the public.
This government is desperate to see the NHS in private hands, so what can they do? Keep nibbling away privatising bits of it, run it down, continue to demoralise the staff until it can’t possibly work, and believe me it can and will get worse, then when it’s not working at all perhaps the public will accept the only way is to privatise it. Linda is right about that. It’s a high risk strategy for a government but by that time people will perhaps accept it.
Politics is a dirty business and those in it are tainted by it, many have hidden agendas connected with money, power and business. In the case of the NHS don’t expect the best outcome for patients, they are way down the list.