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No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of a lack of means. Nye Bevan
The wartime mood of shared suffering, of making do, inspired radical notion of a welfare state – where every citizen would be looked after from cradle to grave. At the very height of the Blitz the economist William Beveridge was asked to work out how this might be delivered. The famous Beveridge Report of 1942 came up with a whole host of ideas about how Britain might emerge from the war into the sunlit uplands of a better society. Among the many recommendations it made was a key one – that there should be free medical support for everyone. One of the jewels in the crown. The National Health Service. David Dimbleby, Seven Ages Of Britain: Age of Ambition, BBC 2010
For the first time everyone is guaranteed free healthcare from cradle to grave. The British VII: War and Peace, Sky Atlantic 2012
The NHS was a magnet for people of all nationalities. (England & Great Britain & Race & National Health Service) George Alagiah, Mixed Britannia 2/3: 1940-1965, BBC 2011
But at the moment I’d like to talk about another way because this threat is with us and at the moment is more imminent. One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine. The doctor begins to lose freedoms. It’s like telling a lie, and one leads to another. The doctor wants to practise in one town, and the government says to him, You can’t live in that town; they already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. All of us can see what happens once you establish the precedent … It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project ... Now, the American people, if you put it to them about socialized medicine and gave them a chance to choose, would unhesitatingly vote against it. We have an example of this. Under the Truman administration it was proposed that we have a compulsory health insurance program for all people in the United States, and, of course, the American people unhesitatingly rejected this. Ronald Reagan, 1961 recording Speaks out against Socialised Medicine
I mean we hear an awful lot of lefty whingeing about the NHS waiting lists. Well the answer’s simple. Shut down the Health Service. Result? No more waiting lists. You see, in the good old days you were poor, you got ill, and you died. And yet these days people seem to think they have some God-give right to be cured! And what is the result of this sloppy Socialist thinking, hmm? More poor people! In contrast my policies would eradicate poor people! Thereby eliminating poverty! And they say we Conservatives have no heart! Thank you very much! The New Statesman s1e5: Friends of St James, ITV 1987
But now he’s in government David Cameron has in the last few weeks approved the closure of A&E and maternity units not just at King George’s but at another London hospital. Nick Robinson, Your Money and How They Spend It I, BBC 2011
We look at the businesses and businessmen looking to take over our public services ... A handful of companies are set to make a fortune out of the spending cuts. Dispatches: Britain’s Secret Fat Cats, Channel 4 2011
Ordinary people are feeling the squeeze, but not the men whose companies are taking over the public sector. ibid.
We’re handing over significant chunks of our public services to private companies. And we the taxpayer are paying for those services. But we have absolutely no say in what those companies pay to their chief executives. ibid.
The truth is shareholders have shown little appetite in holding companies to account over the amounts they pay their chief executives. ibid.
Questions have been raised about the process by which some outsourcing companies are awarded contracts. They often hire former government employees to work for them. ibid.
Power is shifting – not to individuals, but to big business. ibid.
We discover that patients are suffering as nurses tell us they are struggling with targets, understaffing and ward closures. Dispatches: Undercover Hospital, Channel 4 2011
The National Health Service has to make cuts of £20 billion by 2015. ibid.
Sometimes the managers exerting what they think is pressure is verging on bullying. ibid. MAU sister
We’ve had a lot of people arrest and die the second they get on the unit when they’ve been, you know, moved too quickly. ibid. nurse
It's estimated around 90,000 die every year after being placed on the LCP [Liverpool Care Pathway] on the NHS. It was designed for cancer patients. Dispatches: Death on the Wards, Channel 4 2013
And even food and drink can be stopped. ibid.
The LCP is close to legalised euthanasia. ibid.
Can doctors accurately tell when someone is dying? ibid.
Marion died after twelve days on the Liverpool Care Pathway. ibid.
The Liverpool Care Pathway is accepted practice in most hospitals. ibid.
In opposition David Cameron had promised that the health service would be spared from spending cuts. Andrew Rawnsley, Dispatches: A Year Inside No.10, Channel 4 2011
Humira: Made by an American drug company. Humira isn’t cheap: last year it cost the NHS more than £450 million, more than any other drug. Dispatches: Trump’s Plan for the NHS, Antony Barnett reporting, Channel 4 2019
The NHS drug bill could be a lot more if it lost the power to drive down the price of the medicine supplies. ibid.
Could a trade deal with America affect the price we pay for our medicines? ibid.
Then the IMF, in the shape of brilliant young men from investment banks in Massachusetts, made their final demand. They wanted prescription charges imposed on medicines. Wilson’s ministers begged, wheedled, and offered all sorts of other cuts in exchange. Free medicine, they whined, was the sacred cow of the Labour Party. Of all the policies they bad introduced when they first came into office four years previously, they were proudest of their removal of the health charges. The great Aneurin Bevan, along with Harold Wilson, had resigned from a former government on the issue. Could they please, they implored, be spared the health charges?
The IMF, sensing its certain victory, and knowing well how important it was to humiliate the government in the eyes of its socialist supporters, stuck firm. Though the health charges were only peanuts in the context of total government spending – some £8 million-plus – it insisted on them. The Labour ministers surrendered. A great portrait of them with their hands in the air should be unveiled at Labour Party headquarters and dedicated to all those who suppress their socialist opinions so that the next Labour government can do the ‘little things’. Paul Foot, The Case for Socialism ch6
Unfortunately, while the NHS may indeed be the envy of the world, the market system in the US and other countries is the envy of lots of top people in Britain who work in health. They can’t help admiring the basic efficiency and fairness of the NHS – but most of them can’t help salivating at the huge sums of money which disappear into the pockets of so many physicians, drug pedlars, private health providers, quacks and charlatans that prey on rich people’s legendary hypochondria ...
The attack on the NHS today takes two forms. The first is the outright demand for privatisation of the entire health service and a return to market barbarism where people who can’t afford medical fees don’t get treated. This propaganda is peddled by the Thatcherite think tanks, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Institute of Economic Affairs, but it cuts little ice. The NHS is so popular and works so well that outright privatisation is not a credible political option. More insidious and effective is the apparently equivocal propaganda which pretends to favour the principles of the NHS and then argues for the gradual erosion of those principles. This has been the line of successive Tory secretaries of state, of whom Kenneth Clarke was the most energetic and the most destructive. Paul Foot, Treated for Health or for Wealth?