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A parasite lives off its host, taking what it needs, contributing little or nothing, and often causing harm. It could be said that the private health care industry is a now a parasite on the NHS.
Over the past decade in England and Wales, over two thousand people have died in care homes or hospitals while dehydrated or malnourished. Charities and politicians have expressed outrage. Some of these deaths are due to neglect, which should end – but unjustly blaming staff or managers when patients die for other reasons should also be avoided.
Austerity measures are causing avoidable illness and death on a major scale, public health experts have shown. In the UK and internationally, harsh cuts in public services and social services are damaging child and adult health and hindering economic recovery, yet some governments are pressing ahead.