Views & Reviews Book Review

How for-profit organisations got their hands on the NHS

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 20 July 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d4535
  1. John Lister, senior lecturer in health journalism, Coventry University,

This book reveals the tangled web connecting those in government and those in the private sector who seek to profit from greater involvement in the NHS, but John Lister doesn’t support any conspiracy theory

The first 10 years of the 21st century witnessed an extraordinary series of changes in the NHS, initially unleashed by Tony Blair’s government. The Plot Against the NHS is well researched and referenced, written by authors linked to the campaigning group Keep Our NHS Public. The book reveals the people behind the scenes of some of the most controversial policies, who they were working with and working for, and how they managed effectively to hijack and reshape a significant component of our most popular public service, with a view to hijacking more.

In 2000, after decades of underinvestment, New Labour committed itself to raising the level of resources for healthcare towards the average in the European Union. The catch was that the increased funding would also be tied to efforts (set out in 2000’s The NHS Plan) to remodel the NHS to work more like the social insurance funds in much of Europe, with greater involvement of the private …

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