Richard Godwin: Striking doctors are the miners of the modern era

Andrew Lansley can’t see what the problem is. Soon after pushing through the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, Lansley stepped down as an MP, accepted a life peerage and strolled into a number of new positions.

He is now an adviser for Roche, a Swiss pharmaceuticals firm that has made a killing from the Cancer Drugs Fund set up by one Andrew Lansley. He plays a similar role for Bain & Company, a US management consultancy competing for NHS contracts freed up by a certain Andrew Lansley. He is also a consultant for Blackstone, a private equity firm that has been criticised for asset-stripping British care homes.

Clearly, when David Cameron announced he would end the “revolving door” between government and corporate interests, he was either lying through his teeth or his rear end. And once you grasp how many similar arrangements there are at the heart of his Government, the battle lines in the junior doctors’ strike become clearer.

There are clearly areas where the NHS could modernise, particularly with regard to technology (Hunt would find that the doctors have informed opinions about this, if he bothered to listen to them). Nor are doctors intrinsically opposed to a “seven-day NHS” as the Health Secretary claims. They’re certainly frustrated, as they believe the contract changes imposed on them are unfair and will endanger patients.

But what’s made them incensed is their grasp of where the Conservative reforms are leading. The expansion of the internal market, the introduction of personal healthcare budgets under the auspices of “choice”, the calls to increase the role of private insurance — these don’t point to a seven-day NHS but to a zero-day NHS.

The Conservatives have a more fundamental problem with fully public healthcare. Quite simply, they cannot conceive of the worth of any activity unless someone is making a profit from it. Typically, this will be one of their associates. In the most flagrant cases, it’s themselves. Some 70 MPs (Cameron and Hunt included) have links to private healthcare firms. Cameron’s own health adviser, Nick Seddon, is a former lobbyist who has proposed drastic NHS staff cuts and GP charges.”
http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/richard-godwin-striking-doctors-are-the-miners-of-the-modern-era-a3155391.html

ESR Comment: ”As a junior doctor in London your article (and the result of the Ipso Mori poll) on doctor’s strike make the fact that we had to resort to such drastic action easier to bear.”

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