Camden News
Publications by New Journal Enterprises
  Home Archive Competition Jobs Tickets Accommodation Dating Contact us
Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 17 July 2008
Why we’re scared of firms muscling in on NHS

• YES, you bet we’re scared, Dr Richard Smith (What are you scared of? July 10).
We’re scared of having a health service that offers only the most basic treatment to half of its population – about 49 million Americans have no health insurance cover. Pensioners have to pay higher contributions, based on the insurance principle that they are higher-risk patients. If you lose your job, you lose your health insurance perk, and we are living through a global financial crisis resulting in thousands of redundancies. America prefers to put huge amounts of money into TV hospital soaps, which bear little relation to reality, and which glamorise its health service.
You quote the board of Virgin Healthcare, which spells out what ordinary patients have to fear: “[The PCT] want to close doors of accident and emergency to all except ambulance admissions and GP referrals... This is an opportunity for us” (The secret NHS talks with Virgin, July 10).
What do Virgin directors mean by “opportunity”? Why, to make money, of course.
Far away, American shareholders cannot possibly understand what the NHS means to British people. The difficulty with managing and planning for healthcare is that no one person can feel another’s pain. I wonder how many of these managers and politicians have private healthcare plans? Or do they just rely on their “old boy” networks to get them quick and high-level care when needed?
Is it commonly known that the Department of Health has a special section, staffed by about 60 people, advising on involving private companies in healthcare? So when Alan Johnson, our health minister, says Nye Bevan wanted health centres all over the country, and equates them with polyclinics, he is deceiving us (Polyclinics were ‘Bevan dream’, July 10).
The NHS is the antithesis of private health businesses. It was set up because the national insurance system which pre-dated it had failed.
Dr Smith had the effrontery to say: “What does it matter if the surplus goes into the Whittington mess fund, or into New York Stock Exchange?”
How little he understands our system and our support for it.
I suggest he asks some of the British mothers, children, disabled, elderly and chronically sick people whom he so contemptuously disregards, why it matters to them.

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

Comment on this article.
(You must supply your full name and email address for your comment to be published)







Theatre Music
Arts & Events Attractions