Another pledge in the bin as Labour promises continued NHS privatisation

A busted looking Wes Streeting
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In 2020, then Labour leadership hopeful Keir Starmer vowed to “end outsourcing in our NHS”. In 2022, Starmer’s shadow health secretary didn’t just vow to carry on outsourcing, but praised the ‘effectiveness’ of such measures. To add insult to injury, he claimed private sector involvement was “popular with patients”.

Read on...

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Privatisation is “popular” when Labour does it. ‘POPULAR’.

Speaking to the BBC’s Nick Robinson, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said that former PMs Tony Blair and Gordon Brown:

showed using the private sector to bring down NHS waiting lists [in England] is effective [and] it’s popular with patients.

In late 2021, openDemocracy comissioned a poll. It found that both “Tory and Labour voters are worried about the impact of more NHS privatisation” – the specific figures being “81% of Conservative voters and 88% of Labour voters”. It further found that:

Three-quarters of those polled specifically fear that an increase in the use of private companies by the NHS would result in corners being cut (76%), the use of less-skilled staff (74%), and healthcare systems becoming more disjointed or fragmented (77%).

It additionally discovered:

approaching eight in ten (76%) UK adults were also concerned by the general principle of healthcare being run for profit in the UK, with half (50%) saying they were “very concerned” about this.

People commented on Streeting’s notion that this demonstrably unpopular position is popular with voters:

openDemocracy journalist Caroline Molloy registered her confusion on the matter:

The position may be popular with some, however – namely Nigel Farage:

Oh, and it’s also popular with Reform UK – a.k.a. the rebranded Brexit Party:

“No doubt” Labour will have to use privatisation. ‘NO DOUBT’.

In the interview with Robinson, Streeting added:

No doubt the government will turn to the private sector, no doubt the next Labour government may have to use private sector capacity to bring down NHS waiting lists, and I won’t shirk that for a minute to get people better health outcomes.

But I will be pretty furious at the costs involved, because it shouldn’t be the case that because Tory governments run down the NHS, we have to spend more taxpayers money than would be necessary in the private sector because we haven’t sorted out the public sector.

In this hypothetical scenario, future health secretary Streeting (heavens forbid) is “furious” the ousted Tory government is somehow forcing him to “spend more taxpayers money than would be necessary in the private sector because we haven’t sorted out the public sector”. The problem with this is that it suggests we’ve “sorted out” the private sector. That’s the same private sector that was responsible for more scandals than you could shake a sack of PPE at over the past two years.

Of particular note was the £37bn Test and Trace system that “failed to achieve [its objectives] despite the vast sums thrown at it”. That’s according to the committee that looked into the matter. This may be unfair, however, as everyone knows the true objective of privatisation is to make rich people even richer.

Others have questioned Streeting’s logic (or lack thereof):

A privatisation affair

Of course, just because Labour is promising to continue privatisation, that doesn’t mean it will deliver. Because Starmer does say a lot of things he later abandons – like his pledge to abolish the House of Lords, or his pledge to “work shoulder to shoulder with trade unions”, or his pledge to provide “effective opposition to the Tories”.

How can you call it “opposition” when the Tories and Labour both support privatisation in the NHS? You can’t, to put it simply. Not unless by ‘effectively oppose the Tories’ Starmer actually meant ‘effectively oppose public opinion’.

Featured image via BBC

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  • Show Comments
      1. Just like the US Left has been doing so marvellously, as they promised, to persuade the electorate to vote for capitalist Joe Biden. No, the Labour party is a party of and for capital, not for the people.

    1. The British public need to depose the Tory Lite Party (AKA Labour Party) leader (?) Kier Starmer ASAP.

      The NHS is one of the greatest aspects of British life. Tony B’Liar flogging bit’s of it off was ground for him to never get on the Honours List. The Disgrace List maybe.

      How can a supposedly intelligent man such as Starmer believe that privatisation will improve services while keeping costs low? The reality is that private medicine costs more than the NHS as it has to generate profits for the investors. The reason the NHS las waiting lists is because the Tories have underfunded the NHS at every opportunity. Private companies will ony buy into the most profitable parts so the NHS will become less and less successful as this imbecile Tory Lite ‘leader’ Stamer is allowing Boris Bunter to flog the NHS off piecemeal.

      The NHS has been the envy of the world. The US medicine for money, lots of money, has not and is not admired at all. How do I know this? I live in the USA and have quite expensive insurance but it is worse than I experienced when I lived in Britain.

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