Saturday, 6 April 2013

PRESS RELEASE - Andrew Cooper's speech at the 'Reclaim our NHS Demo' in York Saturday 6th April 2013

This is a day for unity in our opposition to the creeping privatisation of our NHS, but I will say this. It would have been more difficult for the Coalition Govt to introduce these changes if a previous government hadn’t opened the door to privatisation. By changing the NHS from a services provider to a commissioner of services it gave a far greater role to the private sector in the NHS. Hospital Trusts increasingly contracted out services to the private sector. Public money supported the extortionately expensive Private Finance Initiative used to build hospitals with no reasonable alternative funding source provided by govt. Unfortunately there are many other examples of the creeping privatisation of the NHS allowed under a previous govt.

The Coalition’s view of the Health service is very narrow and infact NHS to them stands for a Narrow Health Service. One where the Health Service delivered by the public sector narrows and one where the private, profiteering sector just keeps on growing.

The Green Party is 100% behind a publicly funded, publicly managed and publicly delivered National Health Service focused on prevention of illness, the promotion of good health and the treatment of those in need whatever their income or background. Such a National Health Service is the hallmark of a civilised society. One which invests taxation to the benefit of the public not one which uses peoples taxes to pay the profits of shareholders .

We know that when the private sector gets involved in the delivery of public services that there will always be a tension between the need to deliver good quality care and the need to provide a dividend to shareholders. Something will have to give be that staff wages, specialist equipment or even lifesaving drugs. Will we be faced with a situation where increasingly the cost of delivering vital health services will be the deciding factor to an even greater degree than it is at the moment.

We now need to broaden the Coalitions narrow vision of the NHS to one which inspires and fits with the expectations and values of our nation

The National Health Service is a whole and holistic service not one where the public sector picks up only the parts which the private sector finds too difficult, problematic or simply unprofitable

The National Health Service is a public service not one for private profit

The only ‘shareholders’ who should benefit from the National Health Service should be the public who fund it.

The initials ‘CCG’ should not stand for Clinical Commissioning Groups. In the NHS ‘CCG’ should mean Citizens Care Guaranteed.

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