KEEP Our NHS Public (KONP) is demanding that Labour oppose the setting up of a Royal Commission to look at the NHS and social care as announced in parliament.
KONP believes that if the current proposals for a Royal Commission are allowed to continue:
• There are real dangers of endorsement for a Commission on the NHS and social care from the very people who supported the disastrous Health & Social Care Act. It is being promoted as the brainchild of three former health secretaries from the three main parties: Norman Lamb, Stephen Dorrell, and Alan Milburn. All have played a significant role in introducing internal and external market forces into the NHS. Milburn and Dorrell fell in with the private sector after leaving their NHS posts.
• The Commission will be filled with, and headed by, government supporters appointed to ensure that the current political direction of travel is underwritten and maintained and would be predisposed to ensure this continued. It will be far from disinterested or even-handed.
• The Commission would encourage further the ‘softening up’ of NHS management, workforce and the wider public to accept the spread of a new, uncaring ethics, typical of US health insurance corporations: completely at odds with the principles of universal healthcare on which the NHS was founded and stands for.
• The Commission would appear as a respectable route for introducing charges. This is something all three main English political parties have toyed with then backed away from as too politically toxic. However if the recommendation came from an ‘independent’ Royal Commission then it would make it much more respectable.’
KONP added: ‘Unless any commission took as its starting point comprehensive and universal healthcare, publicly funded, then it is effectively going to support the current direction of abandonment of those principles. Under the disguise of “sorting out the social care mess” and donning the cloak of “independence” it will speed up the dismantling of the NHS.’