Thunderburnham’s NHS privatisers are Go!
Labour are keeping arch-privatiser Andy Burnham as their NHS spokesperson despite published figures which show that there wasa far higher level of privatisation of the NHS under the last Labour government than has been brought in since under the Coalition. Burnham and Blair ‘outsourced’ more than 4.4 per cent of the NHS provision to the private sector and there has been less than 2 per cent additional outsourcing under the Coalition.
Burnham’s car-crash interview on BBC Newsnight over his role in NHS privatisation, and his future plans to privatise more, made even Green Party leader Natalie Bennett’s recent abysmal performance look good.  Here are some extracts:

Kisty Wark: ‘The vast majority of outsourcing that was done, 4.4 per cent, was done in the last Labour Government. There is only less than 2 per cent has happened in the last four years, so do you want it back at 4. 4% or was that a mistake?’

Andy Burnham: ‘Let me explain that graphic if I may, because what happened in the early years of the last Government, we brought in private sector capacity, to bring down waiting lists.’

Wark: ‘Was that a mistake?’

Burnham: ‘No it wasn’t, because I wanted waiting lists to come down, everybody did. 

Wark: ‘Let’s take a GP and he has got a patient that needs treatment, and he has two choices – one choice is the public provision, and the other choice is outsourcing, and he makes the decision that the outsourcing is the best for the outcome of that patient. Is the GP allowed to do that or not?’

Burnham: ‘The GP has to make the best decision for the patient…’

Wark: ‘So if that means outsourcing, it means outsourcing!’

Burnham: ‘I said to you at the very start of this interview… that there is a role for the private sector and the voluntary.’

Wark: ‘It is hard to understand, because here is the thing: we did a study and we looked at knees and hips across a number of patients, and the ones that were outsourced had a better quality of care, they felt, and a better outcome. 

‘So, therefore, that matters to people. That matters to people who pay into the National Health Service to know that they have the opportunity if necessary to go to the best place for them. You seem to be suggesting it is not a case of replacing but giving them the possibility of provision, and that is what you want to take away.’

Burnham: ‘I’m not sure what you are not understanding. There is a role, but if you let it go too far it destabilises the NHS.’

Wark: ‘What is too far?’

Burnham‘Too far is the graph you showed there.’

Wark: ‘Hang on, it was 1.5 per cent more than you.’


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