This is a guest post from David, a nurse working at hospital in the south of England.
I’m a nurse currently working at a large general hospital in England, and I’d like to tell you about what the overwhelming majority of my colleagues and I think about Andrew Lansley’s proposed health reforms. Like most people, I got into nursing as I enjoy caring for people. Not people from anyone background or social class, but anyone who requires our help, support and expertise. The proposed introduction of competition from private companies, (aided by EU Competition Laws) will allow health care companies from around the world to cherry pick the profitable procedures. Lansley’s white paper will remove the 2% limit hospitals have on treating private patients. With hospitals currently having to deal with 7-10% savings target each year, they will come under increasing pressure to take on more private patients to balance the books. Failure to do so will leave hospitals open to a full private takeover. This means that those with most complicated and expensive health problems (usually the poorest and most vulnerable) face being denied the expert care they require. This goes against everything the NHS was introduced for.
All advancements in medicine and nursing are evidence based. Whether this is new treatments or nursing procedures, we are always taught the importance of evidence based practice. This was the approach first pioneered by Florence Nightingale who also wrote about the need for quality and socialised medicine for every member of society. There is absolutely no evidence that what Lansley is proposing will mean an improvement in health care in this country. In fact, the opening up of parts of the NHS to private firms by Tony Blair has been a spectacular failure (PFI and the privatising of hospital cleaning being the most obvious). Wouldn’t a better proposal be to make Philip Green pay income tax? Or for Boots to admit their head office isn’t really a post office box in Switzerland? Would people rather have cuts to health care or a removal of the £30 BILLION (or more) subsidy still being paid to the banks each year, on top of the massive taxpayer funded bail-out? The removal of Non Dom status for billionaires living in Britain? I could go on. This is why myself and countless other colleagues will be on the UK Uncut Emergency Operation protests on 28th May. I urge you to do the same for the sake of the NHS.
Read the Emergency Operation callout and find an action near you at www.ukuncut.org/emergency