Socialist Unity

Our Policies

NHS – Stop New Labour’s privatization of health services


No more growth of Swindon

Council housing

No to NHS privatisation

For publicly owned subsidised busses and trains



New Labour carried on the Tory policy of the Private Finance Initiative which produced a privately owned hospital in Swindon with too few beds. The full-up signs were put up within weeks of the opening of the hospital. PFI is a disaster, being far more expensive than publicly funded hospitals in order that private contractors can make their profits.


An overwhelming number of local people knew, and expressed the view in the local media, that the hospital was too small for a growing local population. But PFI hospitals have to be paid for by a reduced number of beds. Since the opening of GWH there have had to be more beds provided, but at extra cost. No we will have a Treatment Centre which will be privately owned at what cost we do not know; this is a ‘commercial secret’.


The Swindon MPs, in defending PFI assured us that medical services would remain within the NHS. This has proved not to be the case. More and more of the NHS is being opened up to private contractors whose motivation is profit. The government has introduced a market in which hospitals will compete for patients. The introduction of ‘choice’ treats ill people as if they were consumers buying different types of domestic goods. A sick patient does not want ‘choice’; they want to be treated as quickly as possible, preferably in their local hospital.


Competition between hospitals will inevitably lead to a worsening of the service for some patients. It will create the same effect as ‘choice’ for parents in schools; producing ‘sink’ hospitals. Because of the increased financial pressures of New Labour’s market in health care hospitals will tend to cut the more expensive services. If one hospital ‘attracts’ patients away from another hospital then this will lead to a financial crisis in that hospital. Minister John Read has said he will not shirk from closing down ‘failing’ hospitals. How will this increase ‘choice’?


New Labour is undermining the NHS which the post war Labour government introduced. The cost of their disastrous market policies will be bourne by future generations. We believe that it is necessary to campaign for a turn away from PFI and New Labour’s market driven ‘reforms’. When the NHS was set up in 1948 it gave us a glimpse of a different society; one in which people’s wealth would not impact on their health care, where they would be treated when ill regardless of their financial circumstances.


Visit the UCL Public Health Policy Unit to read about the consequences of New Labour’s privatising health policy.




Visit the Health Emergency web site; an organisation campaigning against privatisation.