I’ve started working as a GP in Guildford over a decade ago. I’ve seen the good times and the bad times for patients throughout this time. Nowadays, if you try to get an appointment with a GP for a routine problem, a wait of 6 weeks or more is now normal, and it is not right. Most surgeries are now 1-2 doctors down all the time. Doctors do not want to be GPs anymore because junior doctors see an NHS that is being deliberately run down, and why would you committee your career to a system being run down to standstill? The Conservative and Liberal Democrats Health and Social Care Act 2012 opened the flood gates to fragmenting and franchising the entirety of hospital and community care. The patients of Guildford and Waverley, my patients, are seeing a worsening service at every turn. I have been appalled at the inhumane waiting lists my patients have had to endure to see specialists for serious conditions, in some cases a wait of almost a year and, in others, a good local service has been suspended or even switched off, such as the Royal Surrey County Hospital acute stroke service.
“Privatisation means patient transport services run by companies that leave patients stranded. It means GP out of hours services that aren’t available out of hours. It means a failing hospital cleaning contract that led to infectious waste flowing through a children’s ward. And it means Virgin Care suing our NHS. Now I don’t know if Sir Richard Branson follows the proceedings of the Labour Party Conference. But I know this. Richard Branson and his shareholders should give that money back to the NHS.”
John Ashworth, Shadow Health Secretary, Labour Party Conference 2018
Virgin Care attempted to sue Guildford’s health commissioners. In total 6 commissioners were involved, alongside Surrey County Council and NHS England. It was reported that the out of court settlement was over £1.5m. That is £1.5m taken away from providing our front-line services in Surrey. This is as a direct result of the privatisation of the NHS and will lead to poorer care for the residents of Guildford and Waverley. This has to stop if we want an NHS to be owned and to serve the people of Britain, one where all profits are put back into providing an even higher standard of care. The NHS is the most cost-effective system, of country-wide health care provision in the world, it is a beacon of social responsibility, and it shows the civility of the British people. The NHS IS Britain, not do let it die.