Podcast: NHS SOS; Five British Medical Association Council Members Speak Out

On the 24th of June 2013, a press release and book launch was given by five of the British Medical Association council who had broken rank to talk about how the National Health Service was being eroded from the inside and how the trade unions were putting gagging orders on their members.

These vocational medics who have had long and distinguished careers wrote a book exposing what is happening in an attempt to save the institution which they have dedicated their lives to.  This is a podcast of that press release and book launch at Wordpower Bookshop in Edinburgh.

NHS SOS book

In his book ‘In Place of Fear’ Aneurin Bevan talks about the necessity of the political system to bring about the alleviation of poverty and unemployment across the world. As Minister of Health he achieved his most famous accomplishment – the establishment of the National Health Service which was to provide free medical care at the point of need to all those in the United Kingdom.  In his book he wrote:

“Danger of abuse in the health service is not in the way that ordinary people use the service. Abuse is always at the point where private commercialism impinges on the service – where an attempt is made to marry the incompatible principles of private profit with public service.  The solution is to decrease the dependence on private enterprise. A free health service is a triumphant example of the superiority of the principles of collective action and public initiative against the principle of profit and greed”

The book NHS SOS puts into focus the claim that deceit, corruption and incompetence are threatening the NHS. The various authors put into print their thoughts that the doctors, unions, the media, and politicians who claimed to be defenders of it are failing to protect it.  Railing against the reforms that are starting to have devastating effects on patients, they are making an attempt to save the institution from being boned and sold off to tendering processes and commerce.

Contributors include Dr Jacky Davis, Oliver Huitson, Dr John Lister, Stewart Player, Professor Allyson Pollock, David Pryce, Professor Raymond Tallis, Dr Charles West and Dr David Wrigley.  The foreword is written by Ken Loach and stands as an accusation of how the principles of the NHS have been betrayed and the pathway to privatisation has been prepared.

With some sensitive content removed the podcast here documents the outcry from within the ranks of the upper eschelons of the British Medical Association as the forces of commerce bear down on the sacred world of medicine.  During the two days various people who attended spoke about issues that have not been reported on such as the sale of private medical insurance to trade unions of the NHS, and the sub-living wages which trade unions are issuing for some of their employees.