Time is running out for the NHS, after the government’s reform bill passed the House of Lords first reading in October. The plans are strongly opposed by NHS workers, including doctors and nurses. The proposed law will replace Primary Care Trusts with commissioning bodies, opening the way for wholesale privatisation.
The NHS brand will remain, but healthcare will become the preserve of private companies. While the government insist healthcare will remain free at the point of use, GPs in York have already stopped offering minor operations on the NHS but will instead provide them for a fee.
Campaigners have focussed on lobbying politicians to reverse the proposals, with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) spearheading an ‘adopt a peer’ campaign. Others have taken a more direct route, with the UK Uncut group blocking Westminster Bridge on the day of the vote, and vowing a campaign of direct action.
Prime Minister David Cameron ran for election on a high profile promise to “cut the deficit, not the NHS”. The budget deficit has risen since he took office, and is projected to continue to rise, while the NHS is being transformed from a public service into a commercial one.