TONY Blair said something quite revealing to the “New Health Network” bosses’ forum at the end of April. He said that the Tories’ health “reforms” in the 80s and 90s — such as the internal market and GOP fundholding, both of which Blair was against — were right, but had failed because the Tories didn’t invest enough in the health service.
How so? Well, consider Patricia Hewitt’s latest planned privatisation, NHS Logistics. This organisation has won international awards for excellence, and is so efficient that it returned £3 million to the NHS last year as a rebate. Now Hewitt wants to sell it to a US firm, DHL/Novation, currently under criminal investigation in the US for fraudulently overcharging hospitals for medicines and equipment.
The answer is that more public investment is needed to privatise the NHS in order to provide a public subsidy for the private firms’ profits. None of the private rail companies is capable of running at a profit, however much they cut services, and they are subsidised by the public to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds a year. Only politicians ideologically committed to capitalism to the exclusion of any acknowledgement of reality would even dream of introducing private finance in the NHS. So that’s the government and the opposition, then!