A health and care system under attack We hear it that often that there is a real danger than people will start believing it:
“…we can’t afford the NHS anymore”, ” …there are too many old people”, “…the system is being abused by ‘health tourists'” , “…obese people shouldn’t get treatment”, “…people with addictions only have themselves to blame” and. of course,“…it would be better off being run privately because people would value it more”!
Newspapers, media. commentators, government and of course local political parties all repeat the same false message – “We can’t afford the NHS”
Bought and sold But driving that camapign are the multinational healthcare companies, the pharmaceutical industry, the private consultants, the care-home owners, the venture capitalists, the get rich quick investment companies and, of course, the right wing supporters of the free-market economy.
To them, health and care is just another commodity to be bought. sold and profited from – exactly the same as any other resource or service they can get their hands on.
The NHS is not safe in private hands A properly funded health and social care service designed to deliver quality outcomes is central to a humane and decent society: but those principles are far from safe and secure.
There must be an end to ‘creeping privatisation’, to the outsourcing of health and care services and jobs to the private sector. Vested interests, including the vested interests of private healthcare, must be confronted and challenged.
Austerity and privatisation Report after report shows that health inequalities in Northern Ireland have been persisting at the same level or worse for the past ten years.
Health inequalities have a number of root causes, but poverty, unemployment, low pay, educational under- achievement and the lack of decent public housing all feature as key factors. All of these factors are compounded by a political programme of austerity and privatisation
Reclaiming health and social care We can continue to ignore our health needs and watch hospital admissions grow out of control, patients die on trolleys and be abused in private care homes and the system go into melt down, or we can address the problem by reclaiming our health and social care services and bringing them back into full, publicly funded, public ownership.
If we can afford nuclear submarines, rocket attacks on Syria, and waging war on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya then we can afford a first class, publicly funded health and social care service, free at the point of delivery – and we can afford to value those who deliver it.