US privateer in charge of NHS England

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There is massive support for a National Health Service that is free to everybody at the point of need – having a privateer in charge of NHS England will anger millions of workers
There is massive support for a National Health Service that is free to everybody at the point of need – having a privateer in charge of NHS England will anger millions of workers

THE GLOBAL president of US private health giant United Health, Simon Stevens, has been appointed to head NHS England.

Stevens will be employed by the NHS at a salary of £211,000 per year. He will take over from David Nicholson in April.

Barrie Brown, the National Officer for the Unite union’s health section, said: ‘We all know from his background that Simon Stevens was a special advisor to Dobson, then Milburn and then of course Tony Blair.

‘He then moved off to America to become the Global President of United Health, a big private health company.

‘He has been placed in this role to further the privatisation agenda.

‘During his time as a special advisor to the Health ministers of the time and the Prime Minister Blair, he helped formulate the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), the Foundation Hospital Trusts and the Independent Sector Treatment centre (ISTCs).

‘They were set up by private companies in order to look at key areas which needed more funding.

‘Those areas were then outsourced to private contractors and it was like a production line for private companies to make vast amounts of money out of the NHS.

‘With the 2012 health and Social Care Act, and the way in which it is being implemented, that privatisation process is now being accelerated.

‘Simon Stevens is coming in to ensure that the process of privatisation continues.’

commenting on the Stevens appointment, BMA member Anna Athow said: ‘This is a clear signal that the agenda is to completely privatise the NHS on the American model.

‘Simon Stevens was an advisor to Blair and one of the architects of the NHS plan 2000, which laid the basis for the privatisation of the NHS.

‘The fight to defend every NHS institution must be stepped up – every ambulance service, mental health bed, every district general hospital, every service must be defended.

‘The unions have to step up the actions to stop job losses and preserve what we have.

‘In today’s climate, that must mean aligning with the other public sector workers in struggle, like the firefighters, postal workers and teachers and insist that the TUC calls everyone out on strike together.’