Keep Profiteers Out Of NHS And Elderly Care

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HEALTHCARE as a business is now being exposed as a malicious and very nasty fraud.

First we had the Mid Staffs NHS hospital crisis with hundreds of unnecessary deaths caused by the ‘dash’ to achieve Foundation Trust status.

Healthcare was to be run as a business. This involved making £10 million in cuts and also making hundreds of nurses redundant. The end product was a major hospital that was unable to care for the sick and instead killed them through neglect and cuts of one kind or another.

Now we have had exposed the ‘torture’ of patients at the privately-run and privately-owned Winterbourne View. Disabled patients were abused as a rule, with complaints ignored, while taxpayers handed over £3,500 a week, per patient, to its owners.

After numerous complaints were ignored, the news that the Care Services Minister Paul Burstow has asked the government regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), to conduct an urgent investigation constitutes sheer cynicism.

A former senior nurse at the hospital who had attempted to alert the CQC was ignored by that body, and the torture at £3,500 a head was allowed to continue.

The hospital is a privately-owned ‘gold mine’. A purpose-built, 24-bed facility with its profits provided by the taxpayer.

Clearly the drive for profits and health care are irreconcilable opposites.

Also yesterday, Mind strongly criticised the government’s work capability assessment (WCA), which is being used to get disabled people off of incapacity benefit.

This assessment is causing huge distress and suicides, but it is necessary to satisfy the savage cuts requirements of the government.

All the 2.6 million on incapacity benefit are being reassessed. That means oceans of distress and more suicides all to cut government expenditure, while the bankers, who caused the crisis, resume their former role, and mock the working class and the poor.

Also, there was confirmation that the privately-owned Southern Cross, the UK’s biggest ‘care company’, is going bust, which could leave 31,000 elderly people without a home and without any kind of care.

Southern Cross runs 750 homes. It is trying to stave off bankruptcy by negotiating paying lower rents to landlords. However, when the company goes under the homes will close and thousands of very elderly people will be shunted off to strange accommodation of all kinds, the inevitable results being earlier deaths. This is what health care as a commodity leads to!

Southern Cross must be immediately nationalised to defend the health and the lives of the elderly. Profits and health and welfare for the elderly do not mix.

Finally the King’s Fund has warned the government that its planned Health Bill will do untold damage to the NHS, when it hands over commissioning to big business to bring in private providers and competition for ‘health business contracts’.

The fund report finds that the new health and well being boards – tasked with ‘joining up’ the efforts of GPs, local authorities and other local services – have ‘very limited powers’ to hold GP consortia to account. In other words it is planned that the privateers are to be allowed to run riot.

The Fund says that reducing the role of Monitor in looking after foundation trusts will also mean hospitals are less accountable.

Health care and profits and profiteers do not mix.

We have been warned by the ‘torture’ and ‘torturers’ of Winterbourn View, and by all of the health and welfare cuts. NHS privatisation must be stopped and elderly care welfare must be taken out of private hands at once.