GP Taylor: A calculated, compassionless Tory assault aimed at ending our NHS

Junior doctors on a picket line outside York's hospital.
Junior doctors on a picket line outside York's hospital.
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IT was a long journey chasing the ambulance across the Wolds as it took my youngest child from Scarborough to Hull for an emergency operation. What was about to unfold would be weeks and weeks of treatment, many operations and an insight into what really goes on in the NHS.

I can never be more grateful to the doctors and nurses of Hull Royal Infirmary for saving the life of my daughter. They worked tirelessly, one consultant surgeon turned up 15 days in a row. She hadn’t taken a day off and appeared to be constantly on call.

Being on a hospital ward for so long allows you to see exactly how the NHS is coping. What I saw was quite disturbing. Here were dedicated staff who went above and beyond the call of duty working with ever diminishing resources and staffing levels. Beds on the ward were seldom empty, with a steady stream of patients waiting for treatment. Sometimes the ward was often overcrowded, but the staff battled on.

What I did see was a constant fight between medics and administrators. The steady stream of clip-board carriers obviously had no idea on medical needs and everything had to fit in to the budget or policy they were trying to enforce. This led to intense frustration on behalf of the doctors who were trying to treat children with hands tied behind their backs.

To me, it seemed that there was a hidden political agenda that was wanting to radically and permanently change the NHS forever. I couldn’t understand why anyone should want to meddle with a free medical system that was open to all at the point of need with very few questions asked.

The idea of a free Health Service is embedded into the British psyche – and so it should be. It is not a privilege but a right in a modern liberal society to have free healthcare provided by the state. As a taxpayer, I contribute to this through hard earned cash paid to the Government. More than 80 per cent of the population fully support the NHS. Why then is the Tory government hell bent on destroying it?

I believe it is because the Tory government have an in-built hatred for the NHS. The mainly affluent politicians will always have the option of being able to pay for private care. They have little or no understanding of what it is like to have to live on the bread line where the prospect of paying for healthcare is just impossible.

It is part of the Tory DNA to have the NHS changed beyond recognition. It is seen as a business to be sold off to the highest bidder and run for profit.

The Tories were elected on a lie. If people had known what the truth was as to their intentions on the NHS, they would have faced a storm of angry public opinion and backlash.

David Cameron said there would be no cuts to the NHS but as far back as 2011 he embarked on a £20bn efficiency saving. He can use whatever word he likes but it still means the same thing: cuts.

Top down reorganisation, 50 per cent fewer beds and thousands of lost nurse jobs all make me believe that there is a systematic, planned and deliberate policy to dismantle the NHS from within and make it ready for sale to private companies.

Despite Mr Cameron saying that the NHS is safe in his hands, it obviously isn’t.

In 2004, members of the Tory party openly spoke of their disdain towards the NHS.

Some even bragged in private that the Tories would destroy the NHS in five years of being elected.

In 2009, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and Greg Clark called for the NHS to be dismantled as it was no longer relevant. Daniel Hannan, co author of the book Direct Democracy, said that the NHS was a 60-year mistake.

Michael Portillo told the BBC that the Conservatives did not talk about plans to change the NHS at election time in case it cost votes. He said: “They did not believe they could win an election if they told you what they were going to do because people are so wedded to the NHS.”

I firmly believe that it is the Tory plan to systematically run down the NHS and make it so unfit for use that they will try to turn public opinion. In its place we will be offered a shiny, new system based on private enterprise.

What Jeremy Hunt has done with the junior doctors is another attempt to break the NHS. Like Margaret Thatcher did to the miners, so David Cameron seeks to do with medical care. It is a calculated and compassionless attempt to take our most valuable asset and sell it off to the highest bidder or Tory donor.

GP Taylor is a writer and broadcaster and can be followed @GPTaylorauthor.