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Author Archives: Jessica Ormerod

‘Back to the Thirties’ by Charles Webster (previously Director, Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Oxford).   First published in September 1984 in the public health journal Radical Community Medicine, this essay reflects many of the issues the NHS and public health face today, from the PR management of statistics and altering of history to the refusal of government to acknowledge the need to spend to alleviate poverty. We are grateful to Alex Scott-Samuel, editor and publisher of the journal, for his kind permission to re-print this essay.   A multiplicity of ways are being used to undermine public confidence in the National Health Service. Among other things history is being rewritten to […]
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This is a talk given by Public Matter’s Deborah Harrington at an NHS event held jointly by NEON (New Economics Organisers Network) and Health Campaigns Together for The World Transformed in October 2018 in Liverpool. The brief was to speak for no more than 7 minutes and ‘not to dwell on the history’ but on how to move forward. The talk began with a quote from the novelist Milan Kundera: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory over forgetting.” “We allow our futures and our present to be reshaped by others against our interest if we […]
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On 11 June 2018 the Common’s Health and Social Care Committee published the result of their inquiry into Integrated Care: organisations, partnerships and systems.   Anyone who observes Sarah Wollaston will notice that from time to time she confounds expectations and raises concerns about what her party is doing in government, notably on her strongly worded letters to the Home Office on the treatment of immigrants within the NHS. Although her voting record shows a reluctance to translate strong statements into protest in the division lobby. There was, therefore, a glimmer of hope over her chairing of the committee when she […]
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Privatisation has been the economic policy of successive governments since the 1970s. All the major infrastructure, utilities and manufacturing industries which had been brought into public ownership in the immediate post-war period have been sold off, as single share offers, wholesale private transfers, or partial staged transfers. Privatisation has been developed through the remaining public services, with local authorities increasingly turning into commissioning hubs rather than direct employers, education transferring its assets and management to the private sector through the Academy programme and courts, prisons and more being owned and run by the private sector.  That privatisation is government policy […]
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Recent months have seen three debates in parliament about NHS privatisation. The first in Westminster Hall (23 April) the second and third in the Commons, on Subsidiary Companies (20 March) and in an Opposition Day debate (23 May). None of them mentioned the role of the private sector in determining the direction of travel of the NHS. Commissioning, regulatory and property boards have opened a space for the revolving door to operate, embedding private sector influence – and profit – at the highest levels of decision-making. Consistent parliamentary committee scrutiny of the Big Four Accountancy firms has raised serious questions […]
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On 18 May, in its property section, the Guardian ran an article entitled ‘NHS privately planning to develop Royal Free nurses’ home into luxury flats.’    A week earlier the HSJ (paywalled) reported that University College London Hospital Foundation Trust boasted a £76m surplus after asset sales and a Sustainability and Transformation ‘bonus’.      Most of the focus on privatisation of the NHS has been on the outsourcing of clinical services to private health providers. More recently the creation of wholly-owned private Subsidiary Companies has attracted attention and they have been debated in parliament. But there is consistently less attention paid […]
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‘Where to find the money to pay for the NHS’ is a recurrent theme of successive governments. As if changes to our public services are simply a matter of practicality under adverse financial conditions rather than political choice.   Jeremy Hunt appears to have added his voice to the calls for tax increases, which apparently is now ‘general consensus’ in parliament and being ‘backed’ by the public. This blog looks at how those arguments are presented from different sources. Politicians and think tanks – yes, and campaigners too – limit the debate about funding to who will have to  pay the tax burden and which tax needs to be increased.  For some the answer […]
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