Letters

The NHS plan

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7267.1015 (Published 21 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1015

Plan represents considerable privatisation

  1. Kambiz Boomla, general practitioner (k.boomla@qmw.ac.uk)
  1. Chrisp Street Health Centre, London E14 6PG
  2. 4 Eaton Gate, Northwood, Middlesex HA6 2NN
  3. Barnsley District General Hospital, Barnsley S75 2EP

    EDITOR—Dixon and Dewar's editorial welcomes the considerable injection of money promised in the NHS plan and claims that the plan is true to the NHS's founding principles.1 Yet Aneurin Bevan's greatest achievement, and not one demanded of him by the Beveridge report, was the nationalisation of hospitals. He recognised that ownership was important, because with ownership comes control.

    The NHS plan promises 100 new hospitals by 2010 (69 of which are already in the pipeline). This will involve £7bn of new investment under the private finance initiative. Together with the new plans for some NHS operating to be carried out in the private sector, the NHS plan represents a larger privatisation than even the Tories planned.

    Curiously, the plan also recognises the failure of past privatisations. I remember unsuccessfully voting against the privatisation of cleaning at the London Hospital when I was a board member of the old Tower Hamlets Health Authority. Squalid wards followed, and they remain with us now. The plan recognises that this policy was a disaster. Altogether £30m of cash is to be injected into hospital trusts before the next election to pay for the consequences of this mistaken minor privatisation. How much money will we have …

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