Britain's doctors link underfunding to privatization

“The vote by British doctors linking the crisis in health care to privatization should be a wake-up call for those who believe privatization will solve the problems of underfunding.” — Elisabeth Ballermann, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer

Ottawa (29 June 2017) — At its annual meeting, the British Medical Association (BMA) adopted a motion accusing the British government of underfunding health care to make it easier to privatize the National Health Service. The motion also attacked the government's attempt to blame workers for problems caused by underfunding.

The link between cuts to funding for public services and privatization is one that the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has been making for some time. As NUPGE's Privatization Playbook points out, the privatization industry and its political allies know they can’t attack public services directly, so they starve services of funding in the hope that people relying on those services will become desperate enough to accept privatization.

“What’s ironic about the use of underfunding to force privatization on people is that most privatization schemes push up the cost of services and make the funding crisis even worse,” said Elisabeth Ballermann, NUPGE Secretary-Treasurer.

British privatization schemes copied by Canadian governments

What should make Canadians nervous about health care privatization in Britain is that federal, provincial and municipal governments in Canada have a long history of copying British privatization schemes. From P3s to social impact bonds, many of the privatization schemes that are being used to undermine our public services originated in Britain.

Serious problems with privatization in Britain are as easy to find as mosquitoes in a swamp. They range from hospitals facing bankruptcy because of P3 privatization scheme debts to the government being overcharged by more than $200 million for contracted out correctional services.

But instead of learning from mistakes made by British governments, too many Canadian politicians seem determined to copy them.

Vote by British doctors a warning to those who think doctors will benefit from privatization

While many Canadian doctors are fighting hard against attempts to privatize Medicare, some doctors in Canada still don’t realize the damage privatization will do to our health care system. Recently, in a move criticized by many doctors, the Toronto branch of the Ontario Medical Association produced a survey suggesting user fees for health care.

“Health care privatization in Britain has gone further than in Canada. The vote by British doctors linking the crisis in health care to privatization should be a wake-up call for those who believe privatization will solve the problems of underfunding,” said Ballermann.


NUPGE

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 370,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. ~ NUPGE

 

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