Will the NHS be on Trump’s trade table?BMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4168 (Published 12 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l4168
All rapid responses
15 June issue page 391, see article "Is the NHS on Trump's table?"
8 June issue, see advertisement opposite page 356 for Yale NewHaven Health: "treatment from faculty at . . . Yale School of Medicine".
Well, you're at least a week behind your own news already it seems . . .
Competing interests: No competing interests
It is true that some NHS services are already privatised and there is no law against such services being bought out by the Americans or the Chinese or the man in the moon.
All the political parties in the UK will knuckle under our Saviour across the Atlantic.
At present there is no general election planned. Therefore we - doctors and patients are at liberty to ask the Current MPs a simple question:
Will you the MPs pass a binding motion reading as follows:
This house resolves that it will oppose any moves to remove from the Secretary of State his statutory responsibility to the Parliament for every function of the National Health Service.
Dr JK Anand
Competing interests: Elderly patient
I’m pleased if UK doctors are ‘…sending a clear message that the NHS is not for sale’ but maintaining vigilance is crucial.
I would like to see the BMJ continuing to devote as much space for the threats to the NHS as for doctors warning about climate change. That involvement is gratifying but the threat to the survival of the NHS is an equally real and immediate concern for clinicians and the public .
Worryingly, the NHS Confederation seems to be less concerned, at least if we believe the views of its Chief Executive. Interviewed by John Humphrys recently, Niall Dickson (previously Chief Executive of the General Medical Council) stated that “the Conservative party has not sought to privatise the NHS”. He also agreed with the view that the risk of American Companies running the NHS is “a fuss about nothing.”1 The Confederation describes itself as ‘the authentic voice of NHS leadership’ but I wonder it that needs re-evaluation.
Two things require clarification: first, that the Labour Party, when last in Government, were also guilty in opening up the NHS services to private companies. The solution should now be for the NHS top management to be taken out of the hands of single political parties as no one party has the integrity and skill for this complex task. Alternative models are, albeit too slowly, being explored by a few enlightened politicians. Second, that, of course, we continue to rely on the private sector for such requirements as pharmaceuticals and equipment but the provision of patients’ diagnostic and care services must remain with the NHS.
We must not be fooled by claims that being ‘free’ at the point of delivery and being funded from taxation are sufficient reassurance that privatisation is not occurring or that the NHS logo is evidence of that. The criteria must include publicly owned and publicly provided. Anything else causes fragmentation as well as risking standards of care, training and education. We might have to accept that some ‘leaders’ simply don’t understand the way that fragmentation destroys a complex system; what we cannot accept is ignorance and greed destroying the NHS. The Health Service must never stagnate; it has to evolve and adapt continuously but this can still be achieved as a genuine public service given political skill and integrity.
1) Radio 4 Today Programme, 4th June 2019, 0850 hrs. (Available on the BBC iplayer)
Competing interests: Member of the Cornwall group 'Save our NHS'.