|The News Line: Editorial
Tuesday, 9 January 2018
A Royal Commission to privatise the NHS!
THE right-wing think tank the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), which promotes free-market capitalism, has just produced a report entitled ‘An NHS Royal Commission – from fighting fires to lasting settlement.’
This report, written by Tory peer Maurice Saatchi, famous as Margaret Thatcher’s favourite PR man, calls for the Tories to set up a Royal Commission to investigate and make recommendations on the future on the NHS.
This call for Theresa May to set up a Royal Commission to ‘save’ the NHS comes after she admitted on the Andrew Marr programme at the weekend that cancelling 55,000 operations was ‘all part of the plan’ by the Tories for the NHS this winter.
So we have it from the horse’s mouth, 55,000 cancelled operations along with patients left in ambulances outside hospitals for hours on end, staff so overworked that they can’t attend to emergency calls for hours was not some unforeseen event, but was a carefully thought out Tory plan.
Along with the deliberate starving of the NHS of the funds it needs to ensure the health of the population and the wholesale closure of hospitals and beds, this strategy is designed to prove that the NHS is not working and that a radical re-think of the entire health service is required.
A re-think that will involve the complete destruction of the NHS as a vital national service paid for out of general taxation and free at the point of delivery and provide the justification for the privateers in the giant health corporations, insurance and pharmaceutical industry to take over.
This is what is behind the CPS proposal for a Royal Commission, which states: ‘Only a Royal Commission can secure the bipartisan support needed to establish the lasting reforms required to ensure the world-class 21st century health system that we all want to see.’
It stresses ‘bipartisan support’. It wants to remove the Tories from having to make the politically explosive decision to privatise the NHS out of existence by handing it over to a supposedly independent Royal Commission.
The CPS report states that ‘A Royal Commission must rise above the political fray and, once established, must steadfastly defend its independence.’ At the same time the CPS makes it clear that one option not open to any commission is to demand that the government provide the money actually required by the NHS.
It states that general taxation will not be enough to fund the public demand for a free health service and that a Royal Commission must investigate ‘alternative, additional sources of revenue for the NHS.’
The only alternative to public funding of course is to open the door to private money through privatisation. While calling effectively for the NHS to be completely privatised, Saatchi has some ideas about how the NHS at present could save £5.6 billion through ‘efficiencies’ and improvements in productivity.
These efficiencies include the suggestions that people should make plans for end of life care, presumably this means the elderly deciding in advance which room of an unheated house they wish to spend the last hours of their life.
He also wants the sick to stop going to doctors or hospitals but roll up at their local pharmacy instead. Doctors and nurses don’t escape Saatchi’s productivity drive with his call for them to be on performance related pay instead of nationally agreed wages.
The Tories and the capitalist class have always hated the NHS. They view taxes spent on health as a drain on capitalism, money that should be spent in propping up a bankrupt banking system and providing profits for the privateers. This is why the demand by trade union and Labour party leaders to sack just one Tory health minister over the NHS crisis is a criminal evasion of their responsibilities.
The only way to keep the NHS as a free health service at the point of delivery is for the unions to call a general strike to kick out the entire Tory government and advance to a workers government that will throw out the privateers and nationalise the banks and pharmaceutical companies as part of a planned socialist economy.
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