Profit at expense of care

TWO Sussex MP’s, a Liberal Democrat (Norman Baker) and a Conservative (Charles Hendry), say that they support Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill.

Having spent all my working life with health services in this country and abroad, I have been utterly opposed to the Lansley Bill from the start. Let there be no mistake about it: this is not just another re-shaping of the management structure of the NHS as on previous occasions.

It is a fundamental challenge to its essential nature, and indeed a betrayal of the whole concept, that of public service, on which it was formed. That would be replaced by the ethos of the market-place.

Private medicine would be regarded not as something quite separate, but as an integral part of the structure.

The spirit of co-operation would give way to that of competition, and all involved would be constantly hindered by the pressures of market forces. Norman Baker has said that amendments have made the Bill acceptable. These will make absolutely no difference whatsoever to all that.

In the party political horse-trading within the coalition, David Cameron has granted Nick Clegg concessions on other issues. In return, he has Clegg’s support to a Bill which they must both realise is a dangerous shambles, and which Cameron should never have let himself be landed with in the first place.

Cameron is determined to go ahead, despite the overwhelming opposition of informed opinion, rather than admit that he has let Lansley sell him a pup. Somehow he must be stopped, otherwise we would no longer have an NHS. It would become the NHM, the National Health Market. It would be profit at the expense of care.

Irfon Roberts, Lewes.