13 August 2009

What would happen if the government were to dismantle the NHS?

Dr Grumble thinks the government has been doing its best to try and make as much of the NHS as it can private or private-like. New Labour has felt its way forward with private providers and private finance initiatives (PFI). None of these innovations has been successful. The greatest of all the disasters has been PFI. Today's new hospitals will be paid for not by us but by our children and maybe even our children's children. It was a political sleight of hand. New hospitals today to buy tomorrow's votes and hang the cost which will fall to governments trying to bale us out long after New Labour is dead and buried. It is a very selfish policy from a government preoccupied with spin and newspaper headlines.

From time to time it has worried Dr Grumble that the public might be wooed into accepting privatisation of healthcare in the UK - especially from a party right of New Labour. What do you think would happen if a new government set about dismantling the NHS? Dr Grumble thinks he knows. Tony Benn thinks the same. You can listen to his views in the video clip.


Andy Cowper said...

The Telegraph link really just states that PFI is effectively working in the same way as a repayment mortgage: you pay off higher amounts of capital in the early years, making the interest repayments very commercially attractive to the lender in the first 60% of the loan period.

PFI may be a bad way to borrow because government can (in normal economic circumstances) always borrow the money cheaper; and the New Labour refusal to countenance anything else under a disastrous ideological error in terms of analysing comparative performance wuth public procurement.

But this line of attack is an economically illiterate criticism.

For a better critique of private-linked procurement, in the shape of LIFT, see the new report on LIFT from University of York, funded by the the NHS SDO.

Anonymous said...

PFI is bad news for the NHS.

Personally I have experienced the drag on my finances by paying interest to banks for several years on loans or credit cards that I could have spent on more worthwhile things. This year I am now debt free.

One of the problems with PFI, and indeed any loans taken out to pay for the NHS, is that the interest payments cuts into the yearly pot of money available to invest in health. Interest payments are a real killer on finances and future NHS investment.

In the good old days Government could pay for grand schemes through taxation and other means, but now it is credit, credit credit. The building of St Pauls Cathedral for instance was funded through taxation on coal imports into London.

PFI was not a smart move by Labour, and I hope this type of funding on the NHS is neither extended or repeated.