[Marxism] British health care system is sicko

jk68 jkayo68 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 22 12:29:18 MDT 2007

Just wanted to thank Darren and Jscotlive for their very helpful
responses to my query (Jscotlive-- very sorry to hear about your
father). It seems that what has been occurring in Britain is part of
the broader trend towards privatization of public services (i.e.,
wealth transfer to the ruling class) going on everywhere. Similarly,
the role of the LP is similar to the Democrats in the US, who serve as
a more enlightened and palatable wing of this offensive against the
working class. I plan to read up more on the British healthcare
crisis-- thanks.

On 10/20/07, Darren Williams <dazza1970 at tiscali.co.uk> wrote:
> "jk68" asked: It's not clear to me what the roots of this crisis in the
> British health care system are. Is there anyone on this list who can briefly
> explain? Thanks.
> Response:
> Most of the problems in the National Health Service (NHS) are the result of
> the creeping privatisation and marketisation of the service, which was begun
> under Thatcher and has been accelerated by New Labour. The Tories began the
> contracting-out of ancillary services like catering, laundry and cleaning
> (and there seems to be a link between the latter and the rise in
> hospital-acquired infections). More significantly, however, they began the
> process of turning the NHS from a cohesive, integrated body - in which
> service provision was planned to meet the health needs of local
> populations - into a loose assemblage of competing 'businesses', linked by
> market or quasi-market transactions. They did this, in the first instance,
> by making hospitals and local doctors' surgeries independent of direct
> control by local health authorities, introducing an 'internal market', in
> which 'purchasers' (health authorities) had to 'commission' local services
> from 'providers' (usually, NHS trusts). To begin with, all the participants
> in this market were public sector bodies, but they were forced to behave
> like commercial businesses. Increasingly, the costs of all the transactions
> between different NHS bodies made up a significant proportion of expenditure
> within the service and the number of bureaucrats, accountants, lawyers, etc.
> mushroomed at the expense of the number of clinical staff. Also, part of the
> aim was that, in due course, private health companies would be able to
> compete with NHS trusts to sell services to commissioning bodies.

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