Thursday, 24 October 2013
New man at the helm
The agenda has been much the same within the Department of Health since 1990, and has been followed by successive Governments in order, ultimately, to get rid of their responsibility for healthcare in the UK by a slow process of privatisation.
Margaret Thatcher started it, John Major and Tony Blair continued it, and we are now approaching the final denouement.
The return of Simon Stevens, former senior executive of UnitedHealth Europe and special adviser to Tony Blair is the latest example of how an obvious appointment has been given the spin treatment, and the media and many commentators have fallen for it.
The NHS is turning into a mighty mess. Much of the additional funds that could have modernised and made the service fit for purpose in a first world country have been squandered on reorganisations, institutional paralysis and transaction costs of a market model for health care which simply does not work. Does anyone feel that the market model for energy, water and railways has worked to the advantage of the ordinary member of the public or the average worker in these industries? If so take a long hard look at your utility and travel bills.
Simon Stevens is a clever man. He does, however, work for the private health care industry. He will now be at the helm when the NHS is starting to be parcelled out to the private sector, and I cannot accept that he won't see the whole process continue to support the private health industry.
It is a bad day for the ordinary man. Neil Kinnock said famously that he warned people not to get ill or old. We all thought that was typical welsh oratory: it turns out to be scarily true.