Stop privatisation creeping into NHS

Ronnie Campbell MP'Picture by Jane Coltman

Our world-beating, comprehensive health service must continue to be provided free at the point of use – but tell that to the Tories.

They seem hell-bent on slowly killing the NHS through back-door privatisation and to make way for private health companies.

Theresa May was, the other day, told that one of the key objectives of American trade negotiators in any future deal after Brexit is to secure access for US companies to do business in the NHS.

She was asked to give an absolute guarantee that the NHS will be excluded from the scope of those negotiations, and to make it absolutely clear to President Trump that the NHS is not for sale.

The prime minister dodged both points, but I know that at least 14 American health companies already have set up offices in the UK.

A prime example of creeping privatisation can be seen in Wansbeck, where a private hospital, costing £30m, has a new £1m proton machine for cancer patents.

The NHS will pay for patient care, but what happens when the funding for the NHS is no longer available?

Will patients have to pay a little bit more for treatment and, eventually, be forced to take out private insurance?

Another regional example of creeping privatisation being about massive profits can be seen with Northumbrian Water, which paid £108m to shareholders last year.

It paid out more in dividends than it made in profit.

My comrade and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell was right to say: “These figures reveal that our water system is broken.”

Under the last Labour government, service was put before profits, and in the NHS there was a golden period when funding increased from £33bn in 1997 to £100bn in 2010.

Encroaching privatisation of the NHS must be halted and there needs to be more investment to provide the NHS and social care with the funding it so desperately needs.

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