Dr Bob Gill explains how privatisation is destroying the NHS as Starmer & Streeting support its takeover by vulture capital
If you want to understand why it is that the NHS was so unprepared for the COVID pandemic and why it is that we have unprecedented waiting lists, then watch this 20 minute video of Dr Bob Gill who explains it all quite succinctly.
The NHS was the greatest achievement of the post-war Attlee government. Gone were the days when if you couldn’t afford to see a doctor or pay for drugs you simply had to suffer in silence or hope that a charity cottage hospital would treat you.
We live in the age of neo-liberalism, which is another way of saying that everything public is bad (except the Police/Army and Monarchy of course) and everything private is good.
Yet we cannot rely on the Labour Party under Starmer to oppose privatisation. His shadow Health Secretary West Streeting openly supports the involvement of private companies on the pretext that it will help cut waiting lists.
Yet this is a lie. The way to cut waiting lists is to train more doctors and nurses, build more hospitals and transfer the money from our increasing ‘defence’ (i.e. war) budget to health care. Private firms are interested in one thing only – profit. And where does that come from? Money that would otherwise go into the NHS (and also further exploitation of NHS workers).
Streeting is a brazen liar. Why else would John Armitage, a hedge fund founder and manager, who has given over £3 million to the Tories, give £15,000 to Streeting? The Electoral Commission’s register of donations shows that Streeting reported receiving this donation in January 2022.
Armitage, number 138 on the 2021 Times ‘rich list’, is co-founder and director of the Egerton Capital hedge fund. Among its almost £19bn of investments, Armitage’s fund owns shares worth almost £834m in UnitedHealth (UH), a vast US private health corporation that has spent millions lobbying US politicians for its interests.
UH has played a key role in the ‘americanisation’ of the NHS that began under New Labour and continued apace under the Tories. See Shadow Health Sec Streeting takes large sum from Tory donor with huge private health interests.
Not only Streeting but Starmer himself has received £12,500 from Armitage. Now why would this be? The answer is clear. Starmer intends to continue from where the Tories left off. Nothing could better illustrate the political bankruptcy of the Labour Party today and yet the ‘Socialist’ Campaign Group says next to nothing. It refuses to call for Starmer to stand down whereas the Labour Right had no such problems when Corbyn was the leader.
But the NHS trade unions have also been pathetic. UNISON and GMB have stayed silent. Indeed it is difficult to know whether or not the GMB is even concerned about the effect of privatisation on its members. UNITE has called out Streeting over his receipt of Armitage’s donations but it has not done much else.
If anyone is in any doubt about what a catastrophe a private insurance health system is they should look to the United States where some 46 million adults don’t have private health care insurance.That is almost 1 in 5 adults. What that means is that if you are seriously ill you cannot get treated until it is classified as an emergency and then you can be admitted via an A&E.
Yet even if you do have private health insurance you often end up having to pay for extras, things like drugs and other extra charges. The insurance companies, mindful of their own profits, haggle over the nature of the treatment and sometimes simply refuse to pay out if, for example you don’t get their permission for treatment in advance or if you go to a hospital that isn’t on their list. These are the benefits of privatisation.
Contrast this with Cuba, 50+ years under a blockade from the United States. Despite its lack of resources child mortality rates (under 5 years, infant and neonatal) in Cuba have been lower than in the USA for many years. WHO figures for 2016 for under 5 child mortality (U5M) show that Cuba has a U5M rate of 5.5 per 1000 live births, whereas the USA has a U5M rate of 6.5 and Costa Rica has a rate of 9.7.1 Cuba has the second-lowest U5M in the Americas behind Canada with a rate of 4.9.
Despite the fact that one-fifth of its population are excluded from coverage, the USA spends more per capita on health care than any other country. Why? Because each stage of the insurance process sucks up money, the process of billing, accountants etc. add to the cost plus of course the mega profits at each stage.
So privatisation not only costs more but it is less efficient all round yet Starmer and Streeting want to increase the privatisation of the NHS and the trade unions that NHS workers belong say and do next to nothing.
That the GMB says nothing is not surprising. They have been found by the Report they themselves commissioned to be institutionally sexist (and it implied institutionally racist too). A corrupt, right-wing union, the main concern of Gary Smith, its General Secretary and those around him is their own perks and privileges. And defending the apartheid State of Israel.
We can already see what the future holds for the NHS from the crisis in dentistry. 9/10 dentists cannot offer appointments to adults on the NHS and 8/10 can’t do the same for children. The BBC has revealed that we are at tipping point. The British Dental Association has said that the BBC’s research is ‘the most comprehensive and granular assessment of patient access in the history of the service’.
People are resorting to pulling out their own teeth without anaesthesia yet our so-called Opposition says nothing about this because it’s more concerned with rooting out a non-existent anti-Semitism.
I recommend watching Bob Gill’s video because what it shows is frightening.