Saturday, 4 June 2011

NHS - The Nation's Religion

If anyone has doubts about the need for groups such as Lewisham People Before Profit, then this weeks headlines should give a clear signal that private profit should not be at the core of public services.

Both the appalling treatment of vunerable patients in a private hospital, and the scandal of the failing private care home chain are examples of what happens in a culture where profits are seen as more important than standards of care.

We have always put a clear case that profit is acceptable in the context of business, but that public services such as schools, hospitals, prisons etc should not be run for profit.

In the case of the care homes, the owners had taken every penny they could out of the business. They had sold all the assets and then leased them back at unrealistic rents paid to a different holding company.

This is profiteering which puts huge numbers of elderly pensioners at real risk. As a civilized nation, should we not be doing more to improve our public services?

As a country we should be celebrating what is great about the NHS...instead, the papers are full of news stories about poor care. But when you sack nurses and make savage cuts, it means one nurse has to look after over three wards on their own. And when doctors are working 14 hour shifts, many on call, working with broken sleep, how can we expect the service to be safe, and to deliver the quality of service we all expect?

Any failings are due to Labour's targets and the financial mess they left the country in. We cannot pass the blame onto front line staff, and then use cases like these as a sound argument to privatise the NHS.

....We have far too many managers in the NHS already.

We are the ones who understand how to improve the health service. The three main political parties clearly have no idea.

I hope that after this week's news coverage, the idea that the private sector can run the public sector will be clearly proven to be false. The case for public services to be well run, with sound financial management and NOT for profit, is at the very core of People Before Profit aims, and it should be seen as the real and only alternative to present goverment proposals.
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