The Chancellor to the Exchequer, George Osborne, this week announced the Budget, in the build-up to the General Election in May 2015. But in the 59-minute announcement in the Houses of Parliament, not once was the NHS mentioned. In fact, the BBC noticed that the Battle of Agincourt was mentioned more times; an event that Osborne linked to the successes of the Coalition.
The Budget came just days after the NHS announced the largest privatisation in its recently chequered history in order to ‘deal with the backlog’ of patients and lack of beds. The Guardian, covering the announcement, made clear that 11 companies would be paid £780m in a new way to diagnose and treat patients. The question being asked by fringe parties is how public the affair will be – the ‘winners’ of the governmental contracts were released this week.
The announcement of the new 5 contracts, worth a total of £780m, has eclipsed the 2012 Virgin Care contract – worth £500m – and shows a now very public vision for the Coalition to fragment and split up the National Health Service, founded in 1948 following the end of World War 2.
Andy Burnham, the Shadow Health Secretary – and a Labour MP – is a vociferous supporter of the NHS, has criticised the plans of the Coalition since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat alliance moved into 10 Downing Street. Burnham said: “It is outrageous that large chunks of the NHS are being parcelled up and sold off without the permission of a single person in this country.”
The state of the NHS has reached such a point that news of A&E departments around the UK being forced to keep non-critical patients waiting for hours, or hospitals running out of beds due to healthcare cuts has become commonplace. With just over 8 weeks until the General Election, the politics of the next 5 years will make or break the NHS.
News that the Coalition has plans to create a Manchester NHS – under the cloak of ‘devolution of powers’ – with a £6bn budget, were announced this month to huge outcry across the board. The NHS has become such a hot button issue that the usually reserved British Medical Association has weighed in with a fully fledged political campaign under the umbrella of #NoMoreGames. The campaign identifies that the NHS should be free of political game-playing and point-scoring and remain what it was created for; free healthcare at point-of-use.
To find out more about the NHS privatisation, please visit the following websites;