A cooperative model, not hedge-funding for the NHS

By Gerry Gold:

Debt from hedge funds to ease the squeeze in the NHS?

This madly dangerous proposal comes from Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHS Improvement.

His big new idea is for the NHS to take advantage of historically low interest rates and bypass the Tory stranglehold.

The NHS already pays £2bn a year in charges on Private Finance Initiative contracts. Taking on more debt can only increase the burden. It is sure to become heavier when interest rates rise. The NHS would be at the mercy of the asset-stripping vulture funds.

You can’t accuse the Tories of short-termism, but this goes way beyond their 2005 strategy to replace the state as health service provider.

What is certain is that the NHS is at breaking point.

Last year shadow chancellor John McDonnell launched his ‘new economics’. He says ‘Co-operatives, shared ownership, and workplace democracy all have a central role to play’, but so far he hasn’t joined the dots. He hasn’t suggested that health and social care could be run on co-operative principles. He’s only demanded that chancellor Hammond increases the budget.

McDonnell and his advisers might learn something from a new initiative. The Gateway Dental Practice in Abergavenny is the first employee owned NHS dental practice in Wales. The practice uses a structure similar to the John Lewis Partnership, with 100% of the organisation’s shares now owned by a Trust on behalf of the employees. All 17 members of staff have an equal stake in the business, with the Trust overseeing the practice to ensure it’s run in their best interest.

Dr Hannah Hutchison, dentist and co-operative shareholder at Gateway says “We hope Gateway will become a model for sustainable healthcare practices across Wales in the not so distant future.”

It’s a principle that a real democracy would extend to the whole economy – including the hated financial sector.

Originally Published Here


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Comments (2)

  1. John Coppinger


    You make some good points Gerry,

    One sure way of ensuring there is private sector involvement in the NHS. Put huge debts into the service, have years of paying through the nose to meet the contract and then ask for more if it is not going too well. True Tory heaven.

    It is a very sad state of affairs when something as wonderful as healthcare that is being provided free at the point of delivery, is being auctioned off to power hungry greedy shareholders. For me, we either subscribe to a fully funded health care system or not. I have lost count of the number of comments from citizens of other countries who so admire our NHS.
    The NHS has suffered decades of money wasted on “improvements”. Any fool can take funds from a service and say there you are but doing so and maintaining a world class service is simply not possible, as recent reporters have highlighted!

    Health care is labour intensive, it requires highly qualified and trained staff who put patients at the centre of their activities. In recent crisis events, we have seen people running away from the scene whilst police, fire service, and medical teams race towards the scene. Does anyone really think that a privatised service would generate such loyalty? These people to not ask “how much will you pay me to attend a dangerous scene” they see someone who needs care and attention and they simply go to work.

    Let us continue the fight to support our NHS. June the 8th gives us a wonderful opportunity to reclaim what is ours.

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