Why should we oppose privatisation?

The NHS exists in order to treat ill patients free of charge, not in order for corporations to make a profit.

No matter what they may say about how much they care and how high their standards are, in the end a private corporation is there to make a profit to pay to its shareholders. That’s what they are for.

It simply cannot be more efficient to have to pay out shareholders’ dividends and directors’ bonuses, as well as pay out for health services.

Whatever its failings (which are in the end usually due to under-funding), the NHS is one of the most efficient health services in the world.

Anyone who is in any doubt about this has only to look at the privatisation of the old British Rail to see that Rail franchises are a recipe for inefficiency confusion and chaos.

People may ask "But is it privatisation? Isn’t it just a franchise?"

Don’t let them fool you with fancy terminology.

A franchise is defined as a formal agreement for someone to sell a brand’s products or services in a particular place, in exchange for a payment or part of the profits, and/or it is a right granted to an individual or group by a public authority, such as the right to use public property for a business.

Clearly “franchise” refers to a business arrangement. It follows therefore that what could  happen to Weston Hospital is a symptom that health care there (and by precedent, everywhere in the UK) is changing from being a service (as in National Health Service), to a business arrangement, where a product is sold to customers by a private health corporation, who pay for the product first via their taxes, and later on, no doubt, by some form of insurance. 

If Weston is franchised out to a private health corporation, it is taking, inescapably and indisputably, a step in the direction of privatisation, even if Tories would deny or question that what is happening is an explicit and complete example of a privatisation.

We should oppose any "social enterprise" bids also, on the grounds that they are most unlikey to have competence to run the hospital early, are likey to fail, and be bought up by private corporations.

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