NHS Plc: The Privatisation of Our Health Care
Universal,comprehensive health care, equally available to all and disconnectedfrom income and the ability to pay, was the goal of the founders of theNational Health Service. This book, by one of the NHS's most eloquentand passionate defenders, tells the story of how that ideal has beenprogressively eroded, and how the clock is being turned back to pre-NHSdays, when health care was a commodity, fully available only to thosewith money.
How this has come about—to the point whereeven the shrinking core of free NHS hospital services is being handedover to private providers at the taxpayers' expense—is still not widelyunderstood, hidden behind slogans like “care in the community,”“diversity” and “local ownership.” Allyson Pollock demystifies theseterms, and in doing so presents a clear and powerful analysis of thetransition from a comprehensive and universal service to New Labour's“mixed economy of health care,” in which hospitals with foundationstatus, loosely supervised by an independent regulator, will be run onlargely market principles.
The NHS remains popular, Pollock argues, precisely because it createdthe “freedom from fear” that its founders promised, and because itsintegrated, non-commercial character meant low costs and good medicalpractice. Restoring these values in today's health service has becomean urgent necessity, and this book will be a key resource for everyonewishing to to bring this about.