Document Type : Commentary
Queen Mary University of London, London, UK
This is a commentary on Gilbert and colleagues’ (1) paper on morality and markets in the National Health Service (NHS). Morality and values are not ephemeral qualities and universal healthcare is not simply an aspiration; it has to be enshrined in law. The creation of the UK NHS in 1948 was underpinned by core legal duties which required a system of public funding and delivery to follow. The moral values of the citizens in support of social solidarity were thus transformed into a political and legal contract for citizens. The NHS still survives in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland but the coalition government abolished it in England in 2012, reducing the NHS to a funding stream, a logo and a set of market regulators. This paper describes and explains the Health and Social Care (HSC) Act 2012 in England and how the NHS is withering away and health services are being remodeled along US Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) lines. There was nothing moral about this extraordinary act of savagery and violence against the public in England, and against common values and widely held beliefs in public ownership funding and provision of universal healthcare. The public health consequences will be catastrophic which is why after the election on May seventh a new Bill is required to Reinstate the NHS and the Secretary of State’s legal duty to provide listed health services throughout England.