By Lucette Davies

Caroline Ansell has claimed on numerous occasions that the NHS is not for sale, but can we believe her? There is such a lot of talk about NHS privatisation by groups such as ours, surely we can’t all be wrong? Our hospital still stands, and services are still free at the point of need, so why all the hullaballoo about saving the NHS?

Privatisation of our NHS is happening. It is happening by stealth, with the private sector sneaking in the back door. We have been building up to this situation for years as successive Governments allowed the private sector a means to make profit from our healthcare system.

But since 2010 the drive to grant the private sector access to our healthcare system has been accelerated.

The Lib Dem / Tory coalition brought in a top down reorganisation of the NHS. It is why we are seeing many services outsourced to the private sector such as the Horder Centre in Eastbourne that provides physiotherapy. It is also why trusts are starting to raise more of their income by offering private services. Our local trust is creating Premier Health to do just that.

There are countless reasons why people are upset at the way the door is being opened to the private sector. It makes the entire NHS much less efficient and funds are wasted when they go into profits for the private sector.

It has been shown that patients who are given surgery in the private sector are more likely to die than in the NHS. Profit interferes with safety as clinical decisions start to include consideration of what will be most profitable.

But NHS patients who do not go into the private sector will also be suffering as a result. Our GP surgeries are now offering and even promoting apps such as Livi, Push Doctor and to allow people to make appointments online. This is leaving fewer appointments available for patients who rely on phoning their GP.

It is only now after several years of the private sector having a foothold in the NHS that we are starting to see all the problems it is creating.

We have a real crisis in our NHS now and people are dying unnecessarily as a result. Caroline Ansell and other Tories will always talk about ‘record investment’ in the NHS. But funding of our NHS has not been keeping up with inflation since the days of the coalition. In real terms the service has seen a decrease in funding.

If you add into that equation all the scandalous waste of money that has gone on since 2010 then you can understand why we have a crisis now.

We use the term ‘selling off the NHS’ loosely as largely we know the NHS is being handed to the private sector on a plate. But despite all the problems we hear about, our Government wants to do another top down reorganisation to firmly cement the private sector into our NHS. And Caroline Ansell voted for this.

Caroline and other Tories are without shame. They know how much we love our NHS and they know their party is destroying it. We risk the safety of ourselves, our families and wider community if we believe them.