YESTERDAY the Secretary of State for Health told the House of Commons that the government will be taking a step back from the day-to-day running of the NHS and will be leaving it in the capable hands of the just established NHS Commissioning Board.
What the real job of the Board is, was made crystal clear by shadow Health Secretary Burnham who told the House of Commons that on the Board will sit the Vice Chair of Barclays Bank, which has just had to pay a £290 million fine for rigging the Libor rate.
Burnham also revealed that the gentleman in question had also made a £106,000 donation to the Tory Party.
Such a gentleman is therefore ideally equipped to cut, close and privatise the NHS, with the government able to claim that the horrific results of its day-to-day running of the NHS by this board of privateers is nothing to do with it.
On the same day that Lansley was speaking to the House of Commons the Nuffield Centre published its commissioned report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) which states that ‘the coming years will be the toughest since the early 1950s’ when dental and prescription fees were introduced.
The IFS suggested that the NHS would get settlements from 2015 until 2022 of somewhere between 0% and 2.4% a year and that this would not be enough to keep pace with the demands being placed on the service.
It added that efficiency savings were essential and suggested that ministers need to consider more radical steps including charging for services in the way it is done for dentistry and prescriptions, and stopping doing some care considered less of a priority and too expensive to carry out.
Anybody that has paid a visit to the dentist recently will vouch that it is a very expensive business indeed.
Extending the prices currently being paid for dentistry to the NHS would put most treatments out of the reach of the majority of the population, and make the NHS very profitable indeed for big business.
The man from Barclays and his co-helpers will no doubt be jumping for joy at the idea of making the NHS a huge source of profit for their chums.
The review did not go into detail about how these measures could be implemented.
Another enthusiast, Nick Seddon, of the think tank Reform, has said that imposing charges for services, such as seeing a GP, could be extremely effective. And of course very profitable.
The recent BMA conference called for Health Secretary Lansley to resign. It was made clear to delegates that 20-50 NHS Trusts were to be closed.
Conference unanimously voted for Emergency Motions calling to halt the closure of South London and Essex hospitals and for a campaign to ensure that all hospitals struggling for survival due to PFI debts remain owned and run by the NHS.
Health Secretary Lansley told the South London Healthcare NHS Trust that an administrator could be brought in within weeks, which could see the trust dissolved and some services closed.
The Trust amalgamated the Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington, Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich in 2009.
The three hospitals inherited a large Private Finance Initiative (PFI) debt and the trust finished last year £69m in deficit on a turnover of £424m. This means they are to be closed.
There is no doubt that the privateers on the NHS Commissioning Board – enthusiasts of the PFI schemes – are being put in place to push through cuts closures and NHS charges for the benefit of the banks and the bosses.
The trade unions must rise up. They must defend the NHS by bringing down the coalition and bringing in a workers government that will nationalise the banks and end the PFI, as part of a range of socialist policies designed to replace capitalism with socialism.