Monday, 20 July 2015

Don't allow the NHS go the same way as British Rail

This government’s drip-feeding of bad news days in the NHS is the same game played by Thatcher and Major throughout the 80s and 90s with British Rail. Years of disinvestment to BR in conjunction with a negative press and media campaign of the service soon portrayed it as the sick man of British industry.

Eventually it became a laughing stock; synonymous with all that was considered wrong with public ownership of industry. In the view of the Tories only the private sector could efficiently run a national rail service.   

So by the mid-1990s BR had been set-up to fail through a combination of disinvestment and propaganda. This allowed Major to break up the service into hundreds of pieces and sell it off. A whole bunch of millionaires were created overnight as senior BR managers scooped up shares in the newly privatised industry.  

Today commuters pay three times more of their salary just to get to work and back compared to Germans, French and Spaniards making comparable commutes. Plus the tax payer is paying out more in subsidy to the private companies who own the railways than when the system was in the public domain.

Imagine an NHS alternative. A privately run health service paid for at the point of need yet still receiving a subsidy from the taxpayer. Such a service would disenfranchise millions of low paid workers as well as disabled and elderly people who could not afford to pay per GP visit, let alone for medical procedures in hospitals.  

The Tories and their predecessor coalition have and are doing exactly the same thing to the NHS as their counterparts in the 80s and 90s did with BR. That's why it is so important for us to support our NHS and propagate good news stories and successes that this service accomplishes every day.

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