Wes Streeting’s NHS Cure: Is to Steal the Emperor’s New Clothes from the Tories

Wes Streeting

Wes Streeting’s NHS Approach: Borrowing from the Tories’ Failed Playbook

What an utter charade! The Labour Party, in their desperation to appear “credible” to the establishment, are peddling the same threadbare myths as the Tories about the private sector riding to the rescue of our embattled NHS.

Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, prances about pontificating on his “ruthlessly pragmatic” agenda and championing private “partnerships”. His fluffy rhetoric about “reducing reliance” while exploiting “spare capacity” is nothing but a smokescreen for the same old privatisation agenda that has bled the NHS dry.

The sophistry that the private hospital sector possesses some miraculous “capacity” to clear NHS backlogs is a lie so brazen it defies belief. These profit-driven entities have no doctors, no surgeons, no clinical staff of their own. They are entirely dependent on poaching overworked NHS personnel to line their avaricious pockets.

Let us be clear – when Streeting speaks of “using” private hospitals, he means pillaging NHS professionals, stretching them to the brink while lush corporate cabals squeeze every last drop of profit from our ailing public services. It is institutionalised profiteering, sold as pragmatism.

nhs not for sale

When it’s claimed that the private hospital sector is assisting the NHS by providing additional healthcare services, the reality is quite the opposite: it’s the NHS that’s aiding private hospitals. Essentially, the NHS pays private hospitals for the use of vacant beds by NHS patients and compensates NHS doctors for treating them, rather than utilizing the same doctors within NHS facilities.

The fallacy of the narrative portraying private hospitals as helpers of the NHS becomes evident when examining the Tory’s covid agreement with the private sector. In that deal, the NHS paid £400 million monthly for the entire capacity of the private sector, covering not just operational costs but also debt interest payments. This arrangement rescued some companies from potential failure after the decline in demand from private patients due to Covid-19.

However, despite this substantial investment, two-thirds of private hospitals’ capacity remained unused. One significant factor was the redeployment of consultants and other NHS staff to manage Covid-19 patients, rendering them unavailable to work in private hospitals. Thus, the crucial resource is not the hospitals themselves but rather the consultants, of which the private sector lacks.

The sums squandered on bribing these parasitic contractors could be invested in expanding NHS capacity, recruiting and training new staff, alleviating the workforce crisis. Instead, Streeting would fritter it away buying back scraps of healthcare from the very vultures circling the carcass of our National Health Service.

Streeting avoided discussing the financial details of Labour’s proposed interventions, particularly after the Conservative Party appropriated their flagship policy of closing tax loopholes for non-domiciled workers. This move by the Tories has left Labour with a significant budget shortfall of approximately £2.6 billion to fulfil their spending commitments.

When pressed on how Labour plans to fund this sordid privatization agenda, Streeting offers mealy-mouthed hints that his shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has some furtive “options” up her sleeve. Yet he demurs from revealing them, lest the Tories opportunistically pilfer their threadbare proposals like “magpies” snatching shiny trinkets.

The irony of this pathetic evasion is as glaring as it is damning. For Streeting’s own placebo “cure” for the NHS crisis aligns precisely with the Conservatives‘ policy announced last August – expanding private sector entanglement by gifting them diagnostic centres and easing rules for awarding lucrative contracts without tender.

Since October last year, patients who have languished over 40 weeks on waiting lists now can be seen by private facilities – a “choice” as hollow as an ancient mariner’s purse. It seems the entire Westminster duopoly is parading in the same transparent “Emperor’s New Clothes”, blind to all who cry that their policies leave our NHS obscenely exposed.

Again, Streeting’s pitiful justifications about winning over “grassroots” members expose his myopic disregard for genuine public interests. Since when did effortlessly regurgitating Tory policy constitute ideological victory? This is not nuance, but naked capitulation to the privatising dogma that has perpetuated this crisis.

The EveryDoctor website states: “We will oppose any politician, whatever their political allegiance, if they do not support our vision of, and for, the NHS.”

Doctors working in and committed to the NHS know that the private healthcare genie will deliver a poor (often unsafe) service, will disappear when things go wrong (or when there is simply no profit to be made – because that is the DNA of these corporations) and be found counting your taxpayer pounds in a tax haven when the NHS is picking up the pieces of the disaster that it has left behind (as happens more often than you can possibly imagine).

We cannot agree more…

Confronted with the reality that his private sector panacea simply cannibalises the same overstretched NHS staff, his response is a masterclass in obfuscating ambiguity. He feigns acknowledgement that employing them privately may “deplete” NHS resources, before inexplicably suggesting campaigners should rebuke those “professional colleagues who spend so much time in private practice.”

Yes, quite – we must harangue the very doctors and nurses he has tasked with working two shifts one NHS and one private, in order to uphold…Streeting’s incoherent prescriptions for the crisis he has no cogent strategy to solve. The mind boggles at such arrant sophistry from one deluded enough to peddle it as “pragmatism.”

No, what is required is a root-and-branch rejection of the profit motive’s parasitism upon our cherished public realms.

At this point, some ask what’s the point of Labour some may even ask what motivates Streeting and the Labour Party to stray so far from their forming ideology.

The answer stinks as much as the question…

Playing to The Pipers’ Tune…

In 1948, Bevan famously declared his achievement for the NHS came about, “by stuffing the doctors’ mouths with gold.” His remark alluded to the strategy of permitting British doctors, or consultants as they were known, to maintain private practices alongside their NHS duties, provided they also treated NHS patients. It appears that to maintain this flow of wealth, the private sector is now generously filling the mouths of politicians with the very same gold.

It seems too many in the upper echelons of the Labour Party have a repugnant vested interest in private healthcare’s piratical designs on the NHS.

The figures beggar belief – Sir Keir Starmer himself, the prospective Prime Minister, has been enriched to the obscene tune of £157,500 by donors embedded in these mercenary healthcare cartels. His Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, boasts a truly staggering £295,205 in such tainted largesse.

Even Dan Jarvis, straddling his roles as South Yorkshire mayor and frontbencher, has pocketed £137,500 from these insidious profiteers. As for Wes Streeting, the man who would be Health Secretary overseeing our national sickbeds, his personal share of private healthcare’s blood money totals an unconscionable £193,725.

In total, these few members of Labour’s squalid Shadow Cabinet have been bought for a staggering £783,930 by vested interests ravenous to sink their fangs into the enfeebled corpse of our National Health Service. Let’s be clear – for every pound transferred, influence and policy fealty is the expected quotidian return on investment. It is naked corruption by another name.

Donations to MPs by privet health care companies
Donations to MPs by private healthcare companies

You only need to observe the Tory grift factory to recognise these transactional “donations” for what they are – bribes issued by casino capitalists wagering their wealth to ensure politicians remain faithful to the doctrines of privatization that enrich them. It is greed institutionalised, self-interest elevated to dogma.

The answer lies not in such lucrative “partnerships”, but in reinvesting comprehensively in a revitalised, fully publicly-owned and run NHS – free from the inefficiencies and conflicts wrought by private parasitism. Yet Streeting and his bloated cohort remain too captive to establishment orthodoxies to pursue this eminently pragmatic solution.

Until a genuine workers’ party emerges to shatter these cosy bicameral illusions peddled by rent-seekers, our NHS will remain trapped in Thatcherite purgatory – endlessly asset-stripped and exploited by those who seek only to profit from its demise. The battle continues.

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