A panel of healthcare experts slammed the privatisation of the NHS, saying that it sacrifices peoples’ wellbeing and allows private companies to cherry-pick cheaper patients.
Over 50 local people attended a Labour Party ‘Keep the NHS Public’ meeting at the United Reformed Church on Tuesday evening, to find out how the privatisation of many NHS services will affect local people.
Allyson Pollock, Professor of Public Health Research and Policy at Queen Mary College, University of London, said that the NHS has become a free market: “In a marketplace you are moving away from a requirement to secure and provide healthcare for all, to a market which is based on winners and losers.
“The direction of travel under this government, but also under Labour, is very much towards breaking up the NHS,” she said.
This means that in the future patients with serious health problems might be left without the treatment that they need.
Prof Pollock said: “Because there is no duty any more to secure and provide for everybody in the area, it’s not going to be patient choice, the providers are able to choose patients, treatments and services and what they will and what they won’t provide and they have amazing discretion now into what they will provide.”
Prof Pollock pointed out that the current privatisation of the NHS is making the UK’s healthcare system more like the US, where “two thirds of all bankruptcies are produced by healthcare bills”.
She added that although the Labour Party has pledged to review the NHS structure if they are elected next year, people must start acting now before it’s too late.
Dr Onkar Sahota, Chair of the Health Committee in the Greater London Assembly, said: “Hospitals are set up to count numbers and figures. You are no longer a patient; you have become a number in the whole process.”
According to Dr Sahota, London is an area of concern. One in five children in London is overweight or obese and there is an increase in the amount of people who need healthcare due to mental and chronic illnesses.
“Unemployment has affected wellbeing, people who are unable to find work, their mental health is deteriorating, they become more stressed and need more services,” he said.
“I think what we should do is to link all these systems together in one same organisation, so you get the right care, at the right place, at the right time every time and for everyone.”
Image Courtesy of Kingston Courier