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Tighter restrictions on free National Health Service care, supposedly aimed at ‘health tourists’, would hit many UK taxpayers who are foreign. The proposed changes might also open the door to making citizens pay at a later date, and could cause grave social and economic harm.
When the House of Lords recently passed Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Bill, there was no coverage on BBC News. The significance and contentiousness of this legislation, which opens the NHS up to a free market in healthcare, was explained here by Savi Hensman.
The United Kingdom Independence Party won around a quarter of the votes in wards where it fielded candidates in English local elections. Mainstream parties may be tempted to shift even further to the right in order to win over UKIP voters. But this might end up losing them electoral support, as well as being unjust and deepening rifts in society.
The House of Lords has backed regulations promoting privatisation of NHS services in England. An Opposition attempt to overturn the NHS (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2 Regulations 2013) was defeated by a ruling Coalition majority of over a hundred votes. Holders of NHS budgets are likely to be forced to put more services out to tender, giving lucrative opportunities to private firms even if this harms patient care.
UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has attacked mediocre hospitals that “cruise along” rather than striving for “world class levels of excellence”. He referred to Mid Staffordshire, where failings led to unnecessary suffering and death.