13000 people are believed to have died unnecessarily in a handful of NHS trusts. The Care Quality Commission, the organisation tasked with investigating this sort of thing, stands accused of covering up some of the worst excesses - including the use of superinjunctions, gagging orders and big money pay off's. Despite this, no one has lost their job, their pension or been publicly censured in any way even though manslaughter prosecutions may be appropriate. The service seems to be being run for the sole benefit of the bureaucracy (producer interest) and not for its patients.
Given that the state has comprehensively failed to manage our health care, is the time right to break up this monolith and privatise as much of it as possible (maintaining the free at the point of use premise) but having it organised and run along the same lines as the French healthcare system?
I totally understand your concerns Ttosca - many privatisations, especially some of the more recent ones - have been totally bollocksed up! As you know, I am an ardent free marketeer, so hopefully you'll give me some credit for saying that privatising the railways was an act of gross stupidity and, the way things are looking, privatising the mail is heading the same way too. However, if done properly, I believe that the 'customer facing' part of the NHS could be successfully privatised.
The major benefit to privatisation isn't changing the ownership structure, it's introducing a plurality of competition. Quite simply, the more the merrier. Opening up the NHS to literally hundreds of service providers reduces the profit available (and the benefits) to bung a corrupt politician. It also allows for a grand experiment where some providers will be plc's, some may be mutuals and some may be workers collectives. As I say, let the market decide.
As I've suggested up thread, the role of the NHS would be to become a procurement service. If the price of services is a) still set by the government and b)the same for all providers, the only method of competition between those providers is to raise standards for patients - whether that is in the relatively minor way of improving hospital food, or the major way of improving cleanliness or investing in better technology. Perhaps most importantly of all, it would de-politicise the NHS so that hospitals can once again concentrate on serving their communities without excessive governmental interference.
I don't really get why you are trying to convince people Mr P that we would benefit from competition and the free market in health. We already have this. The way is clear for more and more providers to tender for what they consider profitable services.
But what about person health budgets? are we in favour of those I wonder?
What is the purpose of running pilot schemes and might these budgets be eventually rolled out to all of us? Could these budgets become meagre as the cost of living rises and the economy flatlines again? is this the way in which the American Health Insurance companies get their greedy paws on our lives?
What is not widely reported in the news are the failing private hospitals, the out of hours fiasco run by private health care, I suggest anyone interested in the not reported news about what happens when we have privatised health care takes a look at the national health action partys website www.nationalhealthaction.org.uk/ , Sadly if the US free trade agreement does not excude health there will be no way to re nationalise our healthcare system which in my view is being bled dry by private companies but read for your self and make your own minds up ... but if you come to the conclusion that you are worried about this I would urge you to sign here: epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/47102