I hope people will forgive me if I don’t write about Brexit in this month’s article. It’s an important issue but one covered on the hour, every hour, whilst other important issues are being ignored. One of these is the state of our NHS
Let’s look at the NHS today. Six in ten GPs claim they do not have time to assess patients properly, 60% of medics feel rushed, and 60% of patients wait more than half-an-hour for initial assessments. 4.5 million people are waiting for treatment, and according to health charity Cardiac Risk, 600 healthy young people die needlessly every year due to lack of heart screenings. Furthermore, 15,000 NHS beds have been lost since the Tory and Lib Dem coalition came into swing in 2010, which resulted in 600,000 people languishing on trolleys in hospital corridors within the last year.
In the past, some parts of the Tory Party have used the rundown of the NHS in order to argue for privatisation of different kinds. More recently, the Office of the US Trade Representative published a summary of US-UK trade negotiations after Brexit. It included a section which outlined that US pharmaceutical corporations want “full market access” to the UK “for US products,” and even President Trump has said that the NHS is ‘on the table’.
For the NHS to be included in any trade deal is bad news. The US health service is unfair and inefficient. Compared to the NHS, the bulk of patient fees are made up of bureaucratic insurance administration processes. As a result, many Americans simply do not have access to any healthcare because they simply can’t afford it.
Parliament recently voted against a Labour amendment to the Queen’s Speech that sought to end NHS privatisation. The Conservatives voted against the amendment, while their Lib Dem partners abstained.
Is it any wonder that in a recent Survation poll, a mere 31% of the British public believe Prime Minister Johnson is telling the truth that the NHS is ‘off the table’ in a US trade deal?
This article was originally published in the Rochdale Observer on 2nd November 2019