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September 2013

NHS SOS - How the NHS was betrayed - and how we can save it
Edited by Jacky Davis and Raymond Tallis. Foreword by Ken Loach
(£8.99 at http://www.oneworld-publications.com/nhs).  Proceeds from the profits of this book will go to Keep Our NHS Public (www.keepournhspublic.com). NHS SOS Cover C

Despite being the nation’s most cherished institution, England no longer has a NHS. Its return will mean ensuring a future Labour Government keeps to their public promises to reverse the current Government’s legislation.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 ended 65 years of universal health care in the form of equal access to comprehensive care irrespective of personal income.  Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has now only to promote rather than actually provide resources for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses.

Market forces and unaccountable organisations are taking over. Those who are set to profit include 70 MPs and 142 peers. They have connections with private health care firms aiming to capture services once provided by the NHS.

Treatment on the basis of need and not the ability to pay created the NHS on 5 July 1948. Before World War Two only 43% of the population were covered by the National Insurance Scheme. Over twenty-one million people, mainly women, children and the sick, were not covered at all. When Churchill’s government brought all hospitals under public control, the population got a taste of universal health care that ensured it remained once hostilities ended.

In NHS SOS, doctors, analysts and health campaigners uncover the lies, self-interest, democratic weaknesses and media failinNHS SOS Unite members protest Cgs that have led to the NHS’s betrayal. David Cameron went to great lengths before the 2010 election to promise the electorate the NHS was safe. Nick Clegg reaffirmed this commitment when he entered government.  

Soon after, Lansley was unveiling his plans for radical change to the public, who were informed it was about putting doctors in charge. When the latter demonstrated they were bitterly opposed then people were let down by the media. Journalists failed to explain that the GPs hostility was because they knew the NHS was going to be turned into a full-blooded, competitive market - open to ‘any qualified provider’ - that allowed up to 49% of NHS hospitals to be used for private patients.

The BBC, which provides 70% of TV news, failed to maintain an ongoing narrative on an emerging national disaster. That might have been avoided if the leadership of British Medical Association and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges had mounted campaigns that their members clearly wanted.

Labour too failed to offer effective opposition, the party that set up the NHS having helped pave the way for its destruction by favouring external over internal competition during the Blair/Brown years. Worse still was paying for capital development projects through the inefficient and expensive Private Finance Initiative. Unite wants more working class people elected as Labour MPs. This books shows why.

What you can do to the save the NHS is the book’s last chapter. Unite members can join established campaigning organisations such as Keep Our NHS Public. If there isn’t a local campaign set one up. Mobilise public opinion with events, petitions, marches and protests. Unite wants reports of cuts and closures. In the lead up to the next election pressurise candidates on their views about repealing the 2012 Act. 

The book priced £8.99 can be obtained from http://www.oneworld-publications.com/nhs
Proceeds from the profits of this book will go to Keep Our NHS Public (www.keepournhspublic.com).

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