Monday, January 13, 2014

"The NHS - The Way Forward" by Jon Williams

 After taking legal advice, the NHS trust has now assigned the nurse to alternative duties (PA photo)
I think we've travelled over the tipping point of NHS privatisation - sadly it won't be the same ever again. So if Labour is elected in 2015 it will need to work with what is left of the NHS, to make it accountable to the Health Secretary, to repeal the H&SC Act 2012, to reinstate the original founding ethos in a constitution and to reduce the 49% "any provider" to a lower limit - possibly to 20% depending how many private companies are already running services in the NHS. What works is best, so there will be private companies that are better running some contracts and some in the public sector may be better than a private company. But the article below highlights how the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will negate all Labour's efforts to restore the NHS to public sector control with private sector help, where they provide a better service. Hence my suggestion that we should work with private companies, but with reduced access and better written contracts.

Another area where the UK Government is sadly lacking leadership skills is with our European colleagues. We could influence the outcome of the TTIP much more in our favour. It seems there is a small minority in Labour pushing for an in/out referendum this side of (or on the same day) as the 2015 election - again I believe this is poor politics opening the door to the possible exit from Europe, just to match Tory accusations that Labour won't give the British people a say in whether to continue in Europe.

There's an interesting article in this week's New Statesman by Robert Cooper "The best Europe we've ever had" see here , backing my thoughts on how dangerous a European referendum would be... I quote from it below.

"Cameron's position, though not noble, is understandable - it reflects weakness. It is less easy to understand why some in the Labour Party want to imitate it. Is it because they are afraid of the proposition that "the British people should have the right to choose"?

This leads to our kind of democracy, not just about voting but debating to understand complex issues.

"We invented representative democracy because debate is time consuming and is not practical in a modern state to assemble the whole population in market squares to debate issues. Under our system of government "by the people" the people choose the government and then hold it to account. And then hold it accountable if they don't like what it does"

It's a pity how little we understand of our UK and European democratic institutions in order to influence our futures.

"No doubt the launch of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in June was cause for much celebration in Brussels. The European Parliament is in the process of enabling a historic shift in world economics with countless, far-reaching consequences.

A key part of the TTIP is 'harmonisation' between EU and US regulation, especially for regulation in the process of being formulated. In Britain, the coalition government's Health and Social Care Act has been prepared in the same vein - to 'harmonise' the UK with the US health system.

This will open the floodgates for private healthcare providers that have made dizzying levels of profits from healthcare in the United States, while lobbying furiously against any attempts by President Obama to provide free care for people living in poverty. With the help of the Conservative government and soon the EU, these companies will soon be let loose, freed to do the same in Britain.

Linda Kaucher is a leading expert on trade agreements. She has written and spoken extensively on the topic, most recently in an article in Chartist."
(See ) " In it, she lays out a disturbing truth about what is going on behind the scenes in Brussels, arguing that while on the surface the EU is a bastion of protections and rights, its true agenda is far more tenebrous..." more in the article.

The above article is by Jon Williams. Link into the "National Health Service" Label below to find his other articles about the NHS. 

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