THE new Tory Secretary of State for Health Lansley was appointed on Wednesday and has immediately put on record that he will carry out more than the £20bn of NHS cuts by 2014 pledged by Labour.
Lansley told Radio Four yesterday morning that Labour’s pledge: ‘implied something like three to three-and-a-half per cent, probably about three per cent efficiency savings each year in the NHS.
‘Of course we may need to do that. And we may need to do more because we have increases in demand in the NHS and a need to improve the outcomes.’
This means that Lansley intends to go further than Labour. He will impose not just permanent pay freezing, and continue with Labour’s hospital closure programme, he will sack tens of thousands more NHS workers, while turning the NHS Foundation Trusts into privately owned ‘community run’ hospitals and handing over the NHS budget to the private sector.
He told radio four: ‘Just as Britain needs strong and stable government, so we intend to bring to the NHS the consistent, stable reform, which enables it to deliver improving quality of care to patients. . . .’
He added: ‘I am determined that we will have an NHS in which the patient shares in making decisions; where quality standards are evidence-based and form the basis of the design of services and their management. . . .’
Since Labour has been reforming (privatising) the NHS for the last 13 years, what does Lansley mean by ‘consistent stable reform’ with ‘patients sharing in making decisions’.
He means completely privatising the NHS and turning the Foundation Trust NHS hospitals into private community hospitals run by the local ‘community bankers and businessmen’, some of whom will have been patients at one time or another.
The Labour Secretary of State for Health from 1999 to 2003, Alan Milburn, was an ardent NHS privateer in favour of giving full freedom to NHS trusts and having the complete health ‘market’ that the Tories want.
He was forced out of office in 2003 by opponents of complete NHS privatisation in the Labour party, but continued to provide paid advice to a number of private medical companies.
Now Lansley intends to carry on from where Milburn, Blair and Brown with their Private Finance Initiative schemes left off.
Lansley intends to make more than £20bn in cuts over four years at the same time as publicly maintaining that he will keep the pledge the Tories were forced to make to the electors that the NHS budget would increase in line with the rate of inflation.
Speaking on Radio Four Lansley said: ‘Our mandate was that we would not let the sick pay for Labour’s funding crisis – that we wouldn’t cut the NHS,’ but he added: ‘We are not going to simply accommodate any level of inflation.
‘It will not protect the NHS from the need to secure efficiency savings and to control pay and prices in the NHS. In the past there has been a substantial increase in pay and prices in the NHS relative to the rest of the economy – I remember about five years ago year-by-year the NHS was seeing its inflation rising by 6% or 7%, while inflation in the private sector economy was rising at around 1% to 2%. That is not sustainable for the future.
‘What is sustainable is that we deliver efficiency savings in the NHS in the same way as the rest of the public sector, but because of the demands on the NHS we can reinvest them into the NHS to deliver improving outcomes for the public.’
Lansley said the Lib Dems had accepted Tory proposals on health spending.
Lansley’s £20bn plus of cuts will be obtained by wage freezing, wage cutting and by sacking up to a hundred thousand NHS workers, and having the sale of the century with the NHS resources that are left.
The NHS budget and any ‘increase’ in line with inflation will be handed over to the private medical companies and the private insurance companies who will be paid to come into the NHS and take it over.
Workers and the trade unions must get ready to defend the NHS from a massive Tory attack with occupations to stop closures and a general strike to bring down the Tory-Liberal coalition to go forward to a workers government and socialism.