carried on the Tory policy of the Private Finance Initiative
which produced a privately owned hospital in Swindon with too
few beds. The full-up signs were put up within weeks of the
opening of the hospital. PFI is a disaster, being far more
expensive than publicly funded hospitals in order that private
contractors can make their profits.
number of local people knew, and expressed the view in the local
media, that the hospital was too small for a growing local
population. But PFI hospitals have to be paid for by a reduced
number of beds. Since the opening of GWH there have had to be
more beds provided, but at extra cost. No we will have a
Treatment Centre which will be privately owned at what cost we
do not know; this is a ‘commercial secret’.
The Swindon MPs,
in defending PFI assured us that medical services would remain
within the NHS. This has proved not to be the case. More and
more of the NHS is being opened up to private contractors whose
motivation is profit. The government has introduced a market in
which hospitals will compete for patients. The introduction of
‘choice’ treats ill people as if they were consumers buying
different types of domestic goods. A sick patient does not want
‘choice’; they want to be treated as quickly as possible,
preferably in their local hospital.
between hospitals will inevitably lead to a worsening of the
service for some patients. It will create the same effect as
‘choice’ for parents in schools; producing ‘sink’ hospitals.
Because of the increased financial pressures of New Labour’s
market in health care hospitals will tend to cut the more
expensive services. If one hospital ‘attracts’ patients away
from another hospital then this will lead to a financial crisis
in that hospital. Minister John Read has said he will not shirk
from closing down ‘failing’ hospitals. How will this increase
New Labour is
undermining the NHS which the post war Labour government
introduced. The cost of their disastrous market policies will be
bourne by future generations. We believe that it is necessary to
campaign for a turn away from PFI and New Labour’s market driven
‘reforms’. When the NHS was set up in 1948 it gave us a glimpse
of a different society; one in which people’s wealth would not
impact on their health care, where they would be treated when
ill regardless of their financial circumstances.
Visit the UCL
Public Health Policy Unit to read about the consequences of New
Labour’s privatising health policy.
Visit the Health
Emergency web site; an organisation campaigning against