Thursday 7 March 2013

NHS saved from privatisation?

Apparently the government has listened to public opinion and decided not, after all, to force "Clinical Commissioning Groups" to put all medical services out to tender and thus open the door for further privatisation of the NHS: "further" because the process was actually started under Labour.

Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats are said to be claiming credit for this, and Labour talks of a "humiliating U-turn"  and a government "climbdown." (Guardian 06/03/13).

If it is true that the privatisation process has been halted that is good news. There is no evidence that the private sector is any more efficient, however that is defined, than the public sector, and plenty of evidence that , given the chance, the private sector simply concentrates on the lucrative work and, when it fails, as it often does, leaves the public sector to fill the gap and the taxpayer to pick up the tab.

What is to be questioned is the language used by our politicians.  "Climbdown" and "U-turn" may score points in House of Commons knock-about, but, except for we political anoraks, do not impress the voting public.  It would be far better to acknowledge  that the government has responded to public opinion, including almost all the medical establishment, and nearly a quarter of a million (including me)  signatories of a petition, and express pleasure that this will lead to a more acceptable and effective health service.

In other words, the best democracy is "government by discussion" rather than a loutish slanging match.

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