“Why I started a petition against NHS privatisation”

by Jamie Snape:

Today in Westminster MPs will debate a petition calling on the government to stop the privatisation of NHS services. Now, if I’m entirely honest, the date of a petition debate isn’t something that would normally appear in my calendar, however this particular debate I’m responsible for myself.

Until starting this petition I’d never campaigned on behalf the NHS, nor had I any connection to the plethora of local or national NHS campaign groups. So what drove me to begin the petition in the first place?

Well, it was after I’d encountered for myself the already privatised NHS services in my local area. Following this I was left with a clear understanding of what it means in reality, when our healthcare is provided by a profit-orientated business rather than an organisation focused on patient outcome like the NHS, and indeed what it is we are losing by privatising it.

As a parent, seeing my young children’s well-being affected directly and indirectly by NHS privatisation on more than one occasion, it motivated me to a degree that I might not otherwise have been.

So I began reading more about NHS privatisation, and why people like the late Stephen Hawking were so concerned. I concluded I could perhaps make a little difference myself by using a petition as a vehicle to help voice the concerns that many people have and that I share about creeping NHS privatisation.

This belief panned out, indeed a single post I wrote on Facebook about the petition was shared over 73,000 times, meaning it was very likely to have been read by more than a million people.

There are over 6,500 petitions on the parliament website right now, and it’s fair to say the UK public are petitioned out. Despite that, not too far short of a quarter of a million people took the time to sign this petition, which ultimately resulted in the scheduling of today’s debate in parliament.

NHS privatisation can mean so many things as there are so many aspects to it, so in terms of the debate itself, my hope is simply that I will observe a well-informed one. I hope that all the MPs involved demonstrate a real knowledge of the issues relating to it, such as the scale of current NHS privatisation.

What simply must be covered are the concerns surrounding the introduction of Accountable Care Organisations later this year, and their potential for leaving a back door wide open for a massive new wave of NHS privatisation.

If the debate centres around the small part of NHS privatisation, where a few people get bumped up the waiting list by having a routine operation performed by a private company, then I will of course be disappointed.

The concept of the NHS is erroneously referenced by many now in historic terms, especially when they are arguing in favour of NHS privatisation.

Personally, I see the NHS as something very much of the future, indeed I’m entirely certain that in years to come, a nation will only be considered civilised if it provides comprehensive free healthcare to all of its citizens.”

Source: Times (pay wall)