Save the NHS!

The NHS is ours, and needs our support.

The NHS is ours, and needs our support.

On Saturday 4th March an estimated 250,000 people marched through London in support of the NHS. I, like millions of others, couldn’t be there in person but was with them in spirit, tweeted my support and felt impelled to write this blog. The NHS is one of the things Britain should feel proud of. This current government has a campaign to slash its funding, trash it in the media so as to weaken public support thus allowing them to accelerate their piecemeal privatisation. Many on the right wing of the Tory party want to make it more like the American system. This to me seems insane.

The American system may provide luxurious levels of care for the richest and most expensively insured people and huge profits for private companies running health care and pharmaceuticals, but for the majority it is a very bad system of health care. Many people live in fear of becoming ill and the crippling financial impacts this can have on them at a time when they are anyway most vulnerable. For those with chronic health conditions insurance may be difficult or impossible to obtain. Life expectancy is lower in USA than in any Western European country due to the abysmal access to health care of the poorest people. This is a system we have very little to learn from.

If the UK want to learn from other countries it should be to Scandinavian or other Western European countries that all organise their systems somewhat differently, but all basically offer very much better and fairer systems than the Americans. In Britain we have fewer doctors, less hospital beds and less overall funding per head than in most of Europe. We should increase taxes on all forms of pollution, close tax loopholes and increase top rates of income tax and double expenditure on the NHS. The founding of the NHS was one of the crowning achievements of the post war Atlee government and perhaps the single greatest thing that Britain achieved in the entire Twentieth Century. It should not be slashed, trashed and privatized by this reckless and short sighted government. It will remain a focus of political struggle until this government is thrown out.

2 thoughts on “Save the NHS!

  1. Jacky Ivimy

    I was on the march with its amazing atmosphere – people from every part of the country all full in equal measure of enthusiasm for what we might accomplish together through the demo and fury at this cynical and ruthless destruction of our finest community achievement. But of course the march hardly got a mention, the figure of 250,000 participants got lost in most reports and the government will take absolutely no notice.

    I can’t think how anyone could believe for a moment that going down the US route of privatisation could be anything but the worst option. The Tories aren’t fools, so the only explanation I can imagine is that it’s a mix of blind ideology – public bad private good – and some form of corruption or networking in the background, links with US health providers perhaps…

    1. Richard Post author

      Yes Jacky, so good to see the passion of the demonstrators, so infuriating to see the actions of this blinkered government. Yes I think ideology plays a big part, and the fact that with a US style system the richest and healthiest few might benefit, and the interests of that tiny minority seem to be all this government cares about. Also I’m sure corruption is also a factor. There’s money to be made out of privatization. Sod the health and wellbeing of the majority!


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