Brown’s new plans for the NHS:
Retrogression Must Not Prevail in the Health Service! Fight for an NHS Based on the Right to Health Care!
As the workers’ and people’s movement marches forward into 2008, Gordon Brown, as the present champion of privatisation and the monopolies, sets out his agenda on the NHS and has not changed course from gearing all the efforts of the NHS to paying the rich. Brown speaks of preventative measures, and announces a mass screening programme, but NHS staff have commented that rather than the investment that is promised, cuts to the services are happening in all areas of the NHS.
Brown talks of a voucher style system which he names “personal health budgets”, making the central issue one of finance, when the central issue should be that of the human being and providing the care and services needed.
Health care workers have voiced their findings on the Brown agenda. They do not understand the logic that, while Brown is proposing funding for screening, only a week previously he was announcing that funding should be taken away from patients with hardening of the arteries and kidney disease, the very same conditions that he is now proposing to screen for. This shows the complete incoherence in the empty promises of the Brown Labour government. The Prime Minister continues to paint a vision while underneath he is completely undermining the NHS.
Along with the Darzi report which is due later this month, and will culminate in a “new constitution”, the promises of the Brown government to provide a better NHS are not reflections of the reality that health care workers and patients are faced with. All over the NHS, there are redundancies, cutbacks and over 50 District General Hospital closures planned by NHS authorities. This is the New Labour reality, an NHS which is increasingly being farmed out to multinationals, with the creation of PFIs, polyclinics, etc. This attack on the NHS is part of the tearing up of the very fabric of society continuing the Thatcherite notion that society is no more. What sort of society treats the health of its members as a business venture designed to line the pockets of the rich? A society run by multinational corporations and the monopoly capitalist class is the answer, and it is something the working class and people are increasingly aware of. They understand that this is an anti social offensive, of which attacks on health care are just part.
So what sort of society and what sort of health care system do the working class and people see that can provide a future where all basic rights are fundamental? Increasingly, along with other public service workers, health workers are seeing that it is their own experience they can rely on. They understand that they have the knowledge to build a society which has health care as a fundamental core. They see that such a health care system can only be run on a democratic basis with the conscious participation of all. As well as defending their own interests, health care workers have the care and treatment of their patients at heart and the patients have the welfare of the staff at heart; this is social love, which is the only kind of love, and part of the basis for creating a society that has the human being at the centre. This social love extends to social responsibility, and that the fight for a different health care system goes hand in hand with the struggle for a different society in which all public services are under the control of the workers and people who make the decisions which will affect them and fellow human being. This concept of the working class and people being the decision makers is very important in the path to building a bright future for humanity; it is one that will lead to the empowerment of both the individual, the “I” who lives by his/her relationship to the world, and the empowerment of the collective, and society as a whole in which sovereignty and decision-making vests with the people.
This power of conscious participation is the way to build a health service that does not have to be subservient to the will of big business, but actually is run to provide the best health care and treatment for all the people, without discrimination. Only the working class can create such a health care system, and build a society that has its fabric sewn with conscious participation and social love, where the right of the people to participate in governance is fully realised.
Whose NHS? Our NHS! Who decides? We Decide!
Workers Weekly January 9, 2008http://www.rcpbml.org.uk/wdie-08/d08-001.htm