Image taken from: http://wstegcommonsense.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/whats-to-be-done-over-last-ten-days.html
As much as we like to complain about the service standards of the NHS, would we be willing to pay for our cherished healthcare service? Well that’s exactly what the right wing think tank Reform has recently proposed. Reform has described the NHS as “an outdated, cosseted and unaffordable healthcare system” and have proposed that we should all have to pay a monthly fee of £10 in order to facilitate the improvement of the health service. First Blair pressure NHS hospitals to become independent trusts, “self-standing suppliers within a competitive market” and then Cameron opened up the NHS to private companies, now they want us to pay a monthly bill for healthcare. This is starting to appear as though the neoliberal agenda is about to switch to the fourth gear; what’s next, a fully fledged US style private health service?
Reform describes the NHS as ‘unaffordable’ but when one applies statistical data, it becomes very clear that our universal health service is the most cost efficient in the world; costing only 8% of the UK’s GDP, that’s have the cost of the American healthcare system. Furthermore, calling this think tank ‘independent’ is very misleading for the following reasons. Firstly, a Tory MP founded Reform. Secondly, let us take a look at who makes up the think tanks advisory board. The board membership comprises of chief executives, chairmen and directors of pharmaceutical companies and global investment banks. Thirdly, when we take a look at who funds ‘independent’ think tank, its neoliberal ideological agenda becomes abundantly clear. In 2012, some its top funders included, major insurance companies, a pharmaceutical distributor and BMI who run 66 hospitals and treatment centres in the UK. It is absolutely clear that Reform has a vested interest in the privatisation of the NHS.
The winners and losers in this instance are clear. The private healthcare providers and insurance companies will make billions while ordinary people especially those who are from low-income families will have to suffer. In a sense, we will be the losers if the neoliberals reach their goal of privatisation of the NHS, a healthcare service that is envied upon across the world.