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July 19, 2013 / politicsbitesize

The demonisation of the NHS

All week negative reports about the standard of health care provided by the NHS have been headline news.  This has been compounded by Sir Bruce Keogh’s review into death rates at fourteen NHS Trusts in England.  The inquiry, carried out by England’s NHS medical director, was called for following the Mid-Staffordshire Hospital scandal.

Save Our NHSAn examination of the issues highlighted by the substandard care provided by the two hospitals in Mid-Staffordshire was undoubtedly needed.  Any recommendations for improvement by Sir Bruce in his review must be taken on board if the standard of care being received in hospitals is to be raised.  However, the demonisation of the health care provided by NHS hospitals in the press ought to be balanced with positive stories from patients who have received outstanding care.  Owen Jones called for such an appraisal via Facebook this week in order to prevent the negative reporting being used as a propaganda tool, which can only lead to public backing of the privatisation of our NHS.

Mike Marqusee, in his detailed examination of the difficulties faced by St Bartholomew’s hospital in London, makes the point that a reason for the decline in patient care can be laid squarely at the feet of politicians calling for cuts to the NHS budget.  He states, ‘Patient needs are non-negotiable; the demand does not fluctuate according to the economic cycle and therefore the supply has to be consistent and continuous. This cannot be done within the “business” model embraced by the Barts bosses.’

In his article he laments the implementation of the £20bn cuts to NHS funding and claims that, ‘The general crisis in the NHS [is] a crisis brought about by cuts, fragmentation and privatisation, and one that can only be addressed through a mass movement that forces a radical redirection in government policy’.  The public needs to read between the lines on media reports about care within the NHS and they need to be reminded of the good work done by nurses, doctors and consultants on a daily basis.  We must fight to keep it free at the point of use for ALL and to prevent the further privatisation of the NHS.


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