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BMA’s Dr Kailash Chand OBE – “It is not scaremongering to say NHS at brink of extinction”

British Medical Association’s honorary vice-President, the eminent Dr Kailash Chand OBE, looks at an NHS teetering on the edge after decades of ideological attack

Dr Kailash Chand is an honorary vice-president of the British Medical Association and a Fellow of the Royal College of GPs. He has been named by Pulse magazine one of Britain’s fifty best doctors. Here he writes in a personal capacity for the SKWAWKBOX on the desperate state of the NHS under the Tories – and the status of the Labour Party as its only hope.

NHS: teetering on the edge

It is not scaremongering to say the NHS is at the brink of extinction. If we don’t do anything the NHS is going to go. We’ve got to stand up, be counted. I think the Labour party is the one who can do it and save it.

The NHS is being torn apart by political ideology and pressure from the commercial sector. It has been ‘degraded, demoralised, confused’. Its collapse started under Margaret Thatcher, who ended the political consensus on defending the public health service.

The Labour governments led by Blair and Brown are equally to blame, as they forced onward the use of a market-based NHS system, undermining healthcare by putting profit before patients – but under Jeremy Corbyn, there is a different prospect.

Dr Kailash Chand OBE

The 2012 Health and Social Care Act was, a Trojan horse to mask the implementation of total privatisation. Section 75 and prospective US trade deal are about giving the NHS ‘lock stock and barrel’ to the private sector.

Since 2010, Tories have handed £98bn of NHS cash to non-NHS providers:

•2009 £7.4bn
•2010 £8.4bn
•2011 £8.7bn
•2012 £9.2bn
•2013 £9.4bn
•2014 £10.3bn
•2015 £12.2bn
•2016 £12.7bn
•2017 £13.1bn
•2018 £13.7bn

The Tories’ ideological commitment to markets at all costs has delivered sub-standard services at inflated prices. A Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn will ban all private companies running services that deal with vulnerable people and their rights, under a far-reaching plan to restrict outsourcing.

I do not support higher taxes to increase NHS funding, because there was already enough money ‘floating around’. Funding should be raised by closing tax loopholes and clamping down on corporate tax avoidance.

The NHS is on the brink. If predictions of an autumn general election are correct, you have one chance to save it – by voting in a Labour government.

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  1. Whatever happened to our so called ,Cemtres of excellence that were all the rage a few years ago!Well that was just window dressing for down grading and eventually closing many hospitals under the Torys .Both the torys and the blairites were complicit in the closures of many much needed local hospitals!

    1. I don’t actually object in principle to what I’d call ‘specialist centres’ rather than ‘centres of excellence’.
      It occurred to me many years ago that one surgical consultant could, with the right technology, train and supervise easily half a dozen ‘surgery operatives’ – not completely medically trained but fully trained in the anatomy and required techniques of one single operation such as hip replacement.
      It has to be a better use of resources to have centres specialising in one operation – attached to a general hospital would make sense because patients can have multiple issues – but such a centre would be far more efficient in space, staff and reduced equipment inventory than the hospital it was attached to.

      1. Yes David but like I said the centres of excellence were used in blair speak to downgrade services rather than providing excellent medical services and what we ended up with was a downgrade and NHS provision having to be stretched to cope with a much wider patiant catchment area .The results chaos and increase in patiant deaths,especially elderly being discharged for homecare…….due to unmanageable targets with less resources?

  2. What tends to be overlooked also too is that the Tories took £20 billion out of the NHS in their first term of office, calling it efficiency savings, creating the impression that something was radically wrong with the NHS, then in the second term they announced a further £22 billion cut so say for the same reasons.

    That meant the Tories had reduced the NHS budget by about a third of its income, whilst imposing their reorganisation which would cost in their estimates a further £3 billion. I wonder how the average Tory would manage with a cut of a third in their income, and we wonder why the NHS is struggling.

    The other minor change came after their second announcement, Simon Stevens poked his head above the parapet and declared the NHS needed at least £10 billion to fund the changes he wanted to make, which the Tories valiantly produced, until experts pointed out their contribution did not amount to £10 billion at all and we had a ding dong session between Tory ministers the media and these experts.

    What was clear to any one observing at the time, was that was not investing in the NHS it was a recipe for its destruction.

    Simon Stevens has tranformed it so that Trump can just walk in and take it over.

    The only way to save the NHS is to vote Labour and re-nationalise it, The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn is the sole answer nothing else matters, unless we want to be the 51st of the US.

    1. Regards Simon Stevens:

      ‘In case all of that is insufficient, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has informed Parliament twice this year that the STPs will be used as the vehicle for the implementation of accountable care. Unsurprising as Stevens was one of the architects of privatisation in the Noughties before swishing thorough the revolving door to work for the best part of a decade as an executive at UnitedHealth – the largest healthcare insurance provider in the US and one of the biggest corporations in the world.’

  3. Brilliant piece.
    Kick the private sector out of the NHS.
    II would also like pharmaceuticals to be taken into democratic public ownership to meet the needs of citizens however the rarity of a condition not on its profitability!
    The Tory Neo-Liberal Barbarians know the price of everything and the value of nothing!

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