THE TORY Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) have been shrouded in secrecy right from the start as the Tory health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, did everything possible to hide from public view the 44 STP ‘reviews of service’ carried out around the country.
The massive blanket of silence thrown over these STP plans was only broken when news began to filter out that they meant the complete closure of at least 19 NHS hospitals, along with hundreds of hospital wards, including A&Es, in the drive to make the NHS ‘sustainable’. For the Tories, the only measure of ‘sustainability’ is, does it make a profit!
All parts of the NHS which are deemed unprofitable, and that is the whole of the service as far as the Tories are concerned, must be closed down and sold off to the privateers who are only too willing to make profit out of health.
No wonder the Tories wanted to ‘manage the narrative’ around STPs. It has now been revealed that the STPs didn’t originate from within the Tory government but were drawn up by the World Economic Forum (WEF), an international group of leading capitalists, politicians and economists, with the privatisation of the NHS as the great prize.
The WEF was described by a leading academic expert on global political economy, Kees Van Der Pijl, as being ‘the most comprehensive planning body of the transnational capitalist class’, where ‘concepts of control are debated, and if need be, adjusted on a world scale’, and whose aim is ‘enhancing competition to the full and eliminating whatever niches remain protected from the full discipline of capital’.
He is quoted in an article by health policy analyst, Stewart Player, in Labour’s health think-tank the Socialist Health Association (SHA) entitled: ‘The Truth about Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, published last Thursday. The article goes on to note that: ‘Public healthcare systems are evidently notable “niches” in this sense.’
The whole Tory plan being implemented by NHS England was ‘designed for transnational capitalism’ and imposed on it by its latest head, Simon Stevens. Stevens attended the meetings of the WEF in 2012 that came up with this plan and he was the head of the committee that came up with it.
At the time, Stevens was the head of the global division of the giant private US health company UnitedHealth where he was responsible for ‘leading UnitedHealth’s strategy for, and engagement with, national health reform, ensuring its businesses are positioned for changes in the market and regulatory environment.’
In 2014, Stevens was appointed by Hunt as head of NHS England precisely to implement the STP programme of bankrupting the NHS and bringing in the privatisation plan that he had been so instrumental in drawing up.
NHS England under Stevens is following this plan to ‘eliminate’ the NHS, the ‘niche’ barrier to making profit, and bringing in universal systems of private health insurance and private hospitals by claiming that the deliberately underfunded NHS cannot cope and privatisation is the only answer.
The SHA article makes it clear that this tactic of deliberately running the NHS into the ground was formulated by the WEF back in 2012 when it talked about overcoming ‘the public resistance that blocks radical change’.
They proposed to push the whole ‘sustainability’ argument, that the NHS is inefficient and would be more sustainable ‘by capacity reductions in higher-cost channels’. The higher-cost channels are hospitals and capacity reductions will mean ward and hospital closures on a massive scale. The chair of the SHA has described the news that Hunt and Stevens were implementing this secret plan as ‘cynical and horrific’ and noted that the Labour Party manifesto calls for a freeze and a review of STPs.
This is not enough. Only the five WRP candidates in this election stand for the immediate scrapping of the STPs. So vote WRP where it is standing and vote Labour everywhere else to kick out the Tories, to advance towards socialism by making Labour scrap the STPs to save the NHS from privatisation.