JEREMY HUNT, who did a stint as a very pro-Murdoch Culture Secretary, was reshuffled out of that job and became Health Secretary as a result of the Leveson inquiry making public his extremely cosy relationship with the Murdoch Empire.
He took the place of Andrew Lansley, another discredited minister, who had lost any support that he had from the entire medical profession because of his efforts to force into law the Health and Social Care Bill.
He went, and Hunt was brought in to implement the Health and Social Care Act, that is, to redeem his career through privatising the NHS and handing it over to the private medical industry.
This he is doing with some enthusiasm, displaying his hatred for the NHS in the process. After all, it is the greatest gain of the working class in the UK, wrested from capitalism and maintained despite the ceaseless hostility of the ruling class.
What has put an end to the over-60 years of class compromise, when the NHS was hated but tolerated as a necessary evil, is of course the worldwide capitalist crisis, the greatest in the history of capitalism, which can only be resolved in favour of the ruling class if all of the gains of the working class are smashed.
Now, it is no holds barred against the NHS, as ruling class political puppets seek to win the patronage of the big bourgeoisie. On Saturday, Hunt called for a police inquiry into the NHS and the Mid-Staffordshire deaths.
He said, already prejudicing any such inquiry, and turning it immediately into a kangaroo court, that it is ‘absolutely disgraceful’ that no doctors, nurses or managers have been held to account for the deaths of patients.
He points to the ‘failure’ of professional bodies, no doubt trade unions, to uncover ‘abuse on such a wide scale’.
He added for good measure that the NHS as an institution was ‘crushing compassion’ out of doctors and nurses, and said that hospitals should be inspected like schools – failed schools are privatised or closed.
In fact, it is governments that must be put into the dock, to account for how their policies have bankrupted hospitals and killed people.
It was Blair and Brown who brought the PFI into the NHS, where hospitals were built by private capital and the NHS will be providing fabulous profits for the banks over the next 30 years. Hospitals are being cut back and closed because of the PFI privatisation, and patients are suffering for a policy that Labour brought in and the Tories uphold.
In Mid-Staffordshire, Nicholson and other managers, sought to get Foundation Trust status and a measure of independence by wiping out its debt.
This was done by slashing staff, making savage cuts, and neglecting patient care in the extreme.
Labour brought in Foundation Trusts and the Coalition is continuing with them.
Nicholson was promoted to be head of the NHS and has brought in a regime of £20bn cuts. Hunt and the present government stand by all of these cuts.
Hunt supports the closure of scores of District General Hospitals, the consequences of these closures can only be the deaths of more patients.
The Tories want a health business. They intend to hand the NHS over to big business and to make use of the collapses that their policies are causing to blackguard the NHS as a failed, compassionless institution.
This attempt is not going to fool anybody. Trade unions must reject Hunt’s bid to assassinate the NHS and his outrageous attacks on doctors, nurses and of course all those who require and will require medical care.
The TUC must be made to call a general strike to bring down the Coalition and bring in a workers’ government.
This will put those who are seeking to smash the NHS into the dock, and sustain and develop the NHS for the benefit of the working people of the world.