Daily Left News

As we head into the final week of campaigning, candidates and their supporters are ramping up canvassing efforts in a final push for support. Pro-nationalisation campaigners We Own It have launched a poster campaign aimed at putting NHS privatisation in front of canvassers.

Posters reading “I support ending NHS privatisation” and “Before you knock on this door, do you back ending NHS privatisation?” are designed to send a message to candidates and their activists that the household supports a national health service that works for people and not profit.

We Own It describes how the NHS has lived through the “worst 14 years of underinvestment, understaffing and outsourcing in its entire history.”

“With waiting lists now at a record high and hundreds of thousands of people who can ill-afford it forced to pay to get care from the private sector, it is clear what the effects of these policy decisions have been,” it says.

The newly-launched poster campaign follows recent research by the campaign group that revealed the NHS is being converted from what the campaigners described as a “health service for all, to a wealth service for a few.”

The analysis found that since 2012, the NHS has lost £6.7 billion, equating to £10 million every week to private profits. The finding is based on analysis of NHS contracts supplied to the anti-privatisation organisation by public sector contracts specialists, Trussell. It found that £5.2bn, or 78 percent, of the £6.7bn total profits are from contracts for services, which according to the campaigners, can be provided in-house by the NHS.

The findings follow comments by Justin Ash, chief executive of Spire Healthcare, the UK’s biggest hospital company, that private hospitals are not the answer to the NHS crisis.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting has said that the health service should rely on private hospitals in the ‘short-term’ to cut NHS waiting times for surgery.

But Justin Ash said that Labour’s plan to turn around long NHS waiting times by using more private hospital capacity is unlikely to work.

“Nine of our hospitals are more than 80 per cent full. A lot of them are very busy. Solving a national problem like the pressure on the NHS requires a plan and it requires time. You can’t just flick a switch … You are talking years,” said the Spire chief executive.

Earlier this month, the Green Party became the first party standing candidates in the general election to officially back We Own Its pledge for the NHS. The Pledge for the NHS campaign is backed by 22 national, regional, and local organisations, and a number of celebrities, including Stephen Fry, Ken Loach, and Frankie Boyle.

253 candidates from almost all parties have already taken the Pledge for the NHS. The largest number – 176 – come from the Green Party.

A Green Party spokesperson told We Own It: “The Green Party is the only major party in this election that seems to understand the scale of the crisis the NHS is undergoing. We’re hearing about it on the doorsteps and you can see it in the huge waiting list stats. Taking on this crisis requires boldness and ambition. That is what the public is asking politicians to show right now.

“That is why we are backing We Own It’s Pledge for the NHS. The Green Party supports the need for significant investment in the NHS, to deliver a healthcare system as good as comparable European countries in order to catch up with comparable countries in Europe, ending NHS outsourcing and reinstating the health secretary’s legal duties to provide health services to all.”

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

The post Anti-privatisation campaigners launch campaign, asking canvassers: “Do you support ending NHS privatisation?” appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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