This evening I attended the Save Our NHS Rally at the Central Westminster Hall. It was very well attended with several thousand people inside the hall and a number unfortunately ending up shut outside.
The bulk of those present were clearly health care workers, they are calling for the scrapping of the Government's Health and Social Care Bill and quite rightly. The privitisation of more and more of our health service is being done for purely ideological reasons, there is no evidence that the private sector will do it better, in fact there is quite a lot of evidence it will do things worse and, of course, a profit will always need to be made. I'm amazed there isn't more of a scandal about the many politicians (Tory, LD and Lab) who have links to private health care providers. And let us not forget this is not a new thing, Labour gave them a head start with their changes to GP practices and other bodies.
As a vet I work in what is essentially a version of a privitised health care service. I'm lucky that my practice prioritises patient care and believes that if we get that right everything else will follow, we don't have targets or performance bonuses, but I know that isn't the case everywhere. We've seen on TV how some practices ended up carrying out tests that weren't necessary and charging for things they didn't use. This accusation is one you are always very conscious of as a vet and I always make sure I can justify every test and treatment. But health care is expensive and unfortunately, with no NHS for pets, some animals simply do not get the same level of care as others, and this is somethingI believe the vast majority of vets regret and struggle with. I know I do.
So its no wonder that so many doctors are against this bill. They are privileged to be able to treat all people the same regardless of their financial situation and in most cases to make choices of tests and treatment based on clinical need, not targets or profitability. I believe these are fundamental principles at the heart of our NHS, we give these up at our peril.