What I learned last night

Did you know that Primary Care Trusts get credit for branding? Did you know that GPs are being squeezed so hard financially that they are having to send their patients to private companies, not local hospitals, for ultrasounds, scans and a whole range of other medical tests? Did you know that Google and Microsoft are offering to ‘look after’ our medical records? Perhaps you know that private companies are allowed to use the NHS logo and are doing so right now! And that private companies are allowed to use NHS staff but don’t have to pay their NHS pensions!

It’s all true. But I’m ashamed to say I didn’t know anything about it, desite a few vague suspicions. I also didn’t know that among the private companies scrambling to get their grimy little hands on our NHS is InHealth, a company from the United States that has visions and cultures and uses the word ‘Welcome’ randomly throughout its website, which certainly gave me a tingly feeling whilst gazing at the roughly bristling male in a white coat being followed by two gleaming steaming females. InHealth is already running some GP centres in this country. Other companies are coming in from South Africa which, like the USA, has a fabulous record in democratic healthcare for everyone who needs it. I can vouch for that personally: when I lived in South Africa on remarkably good financial terms compared to most locals I couldn’t afford to take out health insurance.

I think a lot of people in this country don’t believe that the NHS could really vanish. But it could and indeed, it already is.

None of this should be of any surprise. Remember Patricia Hewitt? Did you know she went on to do this and is now considering doing this? Oh, and did you notice that another fan of Boots is one from that wunch of bankers?

If you want to know more you can go here or if you’re a facebook fan you can also go here. If you live in Hackney, keep your eyes and ears peeled for a meeting on Thursday 30th July venue t.b.a. And if you live elsewhere, you could organise your own. Or start asking your GP a lot of questions. Or write to your MP (personally, I’ve always thought that’s a complete waste of time because if it worked we wouldn’t be where we are today). Or you could just get really angry and shout and scream and threaten the health minister. Or get pregnant, go to the USA and find out first hand what it’s like to pay $6000 to give birth when you’ve only got $600 for the whole trip.