Goodbye Europe – Hello American Corporate Healthcare

Theresa May has finally announced she will trigger Article 50 on March 29th, to officially inform the European Parliament that the U.K. wishes to commence negotiations to leave the European Union.

It would appear this woman has no regard whatever for the consequences. Already European healthcare workers – nurses and doctors – are leaving the NHS and the UK in droves. They have no wish, as many say, “to remain where they’re not wanted.” Once happy to have made a permanent home in Britain, they now feel Britain no longer makes them welcome. You can hardly blame them.

A recent Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ documentary revealed that applications from European nurses to work in Britain have dropped by 92% since Brexit. With many preparing to leave the country the future for the National Health Service looks bleak. This last winter has seen a serious crisis in the service and, given the worsening staff shortages, next winter could prove disastrous.

As the Head Nurse at one hospital responded, when asked how they would cope if the situation continues to deteriorate:

“We will have to radically change the way we deliver healthcare in this country. It won’t be possible for us to run services the way they currently are. We just won’t have the doctors and nurses to be able to do that.”

Mrs May says they’ll fill the shortfall by recruiting British nurses and doctors. Those charged with training new recruits state categorically that it’s impossible.

A Guardian report from October 2016 stated:

[On October 4th 2016] The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced to the Conservative party conference that the NHS needed to become “self-sufficient in doctors” by 2025. It needed to end its reliance on foreign doctors, and it would do this by training an extra 1,500 medical students a year.

This was news to everyone, not least those working in the NHS, or heading up our medical schools or the British Medical Association, because apart from anything else, the numbers simply don’t stack up. “It’s completely unrealistic,” Deborah Gill, the head of UCL medical school, tells me. “It’s a drop in the ocean. An extra 1,500 students is going to make no difference whatsoever.” [1]

Hunt wouldn’t know 1,500 is a drop in the ocean, would he? He only the government’s Health Minister.

At present, student nurses receive a 4,500 UK pounds bursary to support them while training. From September this year, that will stop and be replaced by a student loan. The result has been a decrease in applications for nurse training of 23%.

It would seem that Mrs May is stating one thing while doing another. Perhaps that shouldn’t come as any surprise. Maybe she’s already hellbent on ‘radically changing the way healthcare is delivered in the U.K.’. Once free from the constraints of the E.U. in two years time – at which point the NHS is likely to be in even greater crisis than now – she can throw open the doors of British hospitals to the hedge funds, insurance companies, and corporate healthcare moguls in the United States, for them to walk in and take possession.

Of course, it’ll all be about “doing the best for the benefit of the British people,” and, “The NHS in its present form just can’t continue.” There’ll be promises of, “better healthcare for all,” “a better service with shorter waiting times, well-trained staff, more doctors and new modern hospitals,” all owned and run by the multi-billionaire conglomerates already in control across the Atlantic. There will, of course, be the promises that, “…it won’t cost you a penny more than you’re paying now.”

If you believe that, you’re even more stupid than the 52% of British electorate who believed that leaving the E.U. would deliver 350 million pounds a week into the pocket of the National Health Service.

They still think it’s going to happen.

[1] “Could Brexit prove terminal for the NHS?” Guardian October 16th 2016

4 Replies to “Goodbye Europe – Hello American Corporate Healthcare”

  1. You’re right. Hand and glove with the US model which is terrifying. No wonder 45 was hand in glove with Thatcher redux. His insurance pals will make a killing.

    It’s all terribly sad. But he did lose today. Thanks to the work of relentless activism.


  2. WWW – I’ve mentioned before on Sparrow Chat how May is the reincarnation of Thatcher. It’s quite uncanny how she uses Thatcher’s inflections and gestures when speaking publicly. Close one’s eyes and truly Maggie is back. May must have spent hours listening to old Thatcher speeches to copy her so accurately. I had no time for Reagan. He was, without doubt, one of America’s worst presidents, both militarily and as an instigator of ‘trickle-down economics’, but he was preferable to Trump. Trump and May will almost certainly prove an even more loathsome duo than Reagan/Thatcher.

  3. Yes, I agree with WWW on May/Thatcher. I’d hoped May would be a kinder gentler model, but it turns out she might even be a tad worse than Thatch. Agreed also that May/Trump is nasty, and a more “noir” pairing than Thatcher/Reagan was. 🙁

  4. Twilight – more than a tad, I think, but time will tell. If Trump continues on his crazy course it could all prove academic anyway. Years of environmental protections wiped out with the stroke of a pen. He wants locking away as a traitor to the planet – but not in solitary confinement. He can have Bannon for company.

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