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VIDEO BLOG: Cameron wants the NHS “to be a fantastic business”

November 10, 2011

In a speech this morning on SMEs, David Cameron went a little off script and interjected the following astonishing statement:

From the Health Secretary, I don’t just want to know about waiting times. I want to know how we drive the NHS to be a fantastic business“.

Here is the video of that statement.

A timely announcement, in the light this morning’s news of a private company being awarded, for the first time, the running of a hospital. And which company is the beneficiary of that £1bn deal? It is Circle Healthcare.

Circle Health is the part-time employer of Conservative MP Mark Simmonds. Mark Simmonds is the former Conservative Shadow Health Spokesman and a vocal supported of the government’s controversial Health and Social Care Bill. Circle Health pay Mr Simmonds £50k a year (on top of his £65k MP salary) for 10 hours’ work a month, as “an advisor”.

Circle Health is a “subsidiary in a complex corporate structure that spans the British Virgin Isles and Jersey”. It’s backers include Paul Ruddock and Crispin Odey – two of the biggest Tory party donors.

So, there you have it. In case you were in any doubt that what is going on is a process of privatisation. And a corrupt one, at that.

Do you want your NHS to be a business?

50 Comments leave one →
  1. David Edwards permalink
    November 10, 2011 5:59 pm


  2. November 10, 2011 6:15 pm


  3. November 10, 2011 6:33 pm

    I’d like it to be a business if it increased staff availability, reduced overtime or made it pay, didn’t compromise neutrality just for drug companies, increased survivability rates…

    Ah, who am I kidding…No.

  4. November 10, 2011 6:35 pm

    No! The NHS is owned by the people of the UK… including Scotland. Bought and paid for through taxes. End the Tory’s back door privaization of Britain… and expose politicians on payroles of dodgy companies

  5. November 10, 2011 6:54 pm

    Hell no!

  6. November 10, 2011 7:26 pm


  7. Maria permalink
    November 10, 2011 9:18 pm

    No Way!

  8. Phil permalink
    November 10, 2011 11:30 pm

    Yep, it’s happened, and it’ll be coming to a hospital near you soon. I have a friend who is a Psychiatric nurse in the local prisons. His job was privatised as soon as Lansley put his bum on his seat. Who won the contract Care UK, Lansley’s backers whilst in opposition, they undercut the current provider, the NHS by a country mile, but, made a third of the staff redundant straight away … . They got away with that one because healthcare for prisoners is not a big vote winner. Then there’s the white paper on Education changes coming up soon … when will people learn they never change

  9. November 11, 2011 12:51 am

    this has to one open goal …

  10. November 11, 2011 1:03 am

    Never, ever, ever!

  11. Derek Scott permalink
    November 11, 2011 3:45 am

    No the NHS was never meant to be a business. Who the hell does David Cameron think he is? It is a Coalition Government the Tories didn’t win an overall majority at the 2010 General Election. He does not have a moral authority do do anything in our name!

  12. November 11, 2011 9:34 am

    We are once again witnessing the cold-blooded asset-stripping of the mid-80s, when hospitals and other publicly owned national assets were sold off cheaply for development as luxury flats and hotels, some of which are now owned by tax-evading non-doms.

    I agree that we all own the NHS and it shouldn’t be for sale, or worse still be stolen by the friends of corrupt politicians. How can a hospital trust provide good care and value for money when they have also to pay dividends to shareholders? Oh, I forgot. We are all shareholders…

  13. November 11, 2011 9:38 am


  14. November 11, 2011 9:54 am

    The NHS has been a business since 1992 when the Internal Market was introduced.

    Ever wonder why there are car parking charges? No it is not because the hospital is trying every desperate ploy to get income (although the income from car park charges are always used to good effect). The reason is that the hospital *has* to because of the Internal Market. Like any business the hospital has to show that every asset it owns has an income. The car park is just another asset and has to generate an income. If it doesn’t, then the hospital is duty bound to dispose of the asset. (Yes, there are other reasons like trying to persuade shoppers not to use the car park by pricing the parking higher than the shopping centre, but these are secondary; the hospital *has* to charge so that at least maintenance is covered.)

    Seriously, ask any hospital finance director about this and they will tell you the plain truth: the Internal Market introduced by Ken Clarke has turned every NHS hospital a business. The Internal Market also introduced all the accountants and “bureaucrats” into hospitals. Remember them? Those are the people that Cameron said he would cut by one third, until he realised that without them the Internal Market would collapse, so Lansley then decided to abolish PCTs instead (something he *specifically* said he would not do before the election).

  15. November 11, 2011 9:56 am

    No, never

  16. November 11, 2011 10:53 am

    No. Hell no.

  17. Bill blackmore permalink
    November 11, 2011 12:20 pm

    Disgraceful and disgusting.Alknolther one of Camerons ploys to help sail this once proud nation down to river to obscurity.

  18. Becca permalink
    November 11, 2011 2:49 pm

    Yes. If the NHS was run ‘like’ a private sector industry it would be much more efficient, which would free up rescources to treat more patients and make more money, which can then be reinvested in better healthcare systems and technology. The numerous ‘dead weight’ employees tha the Public sector is too PC to get rid off can go, and be replaced by more effective and energetic staff, who will have to perform well in order to retain their posts and progress in their career. Some medical secretaries (who should have been made more or less redundant by dictation software) are earning 50k a year, simply because the payscale system rewards longevity rather than talent.

    People are scared of change when they don’t really know what privatisation of the NHS would mean in practice. We still won’t have to pay for healthcare directly, as in America, but we will end up with a better system.

    • Liz Anderson permalink
      November 13, 2011 10:37 pm

      ‘reinvested in better healthcare systems’ etc? You have to be kidding. Privatisation is about generating private profit out of the healthcare of this nations people….. to the detriment of all.

    • November 23, 2011 8:51 pm

      Becca, what private industry world do you live in? Here on planet earth, industry laughs at customer service, cannot answer a letter, handle a complaint, or correct an error. Most of this is due to gross understaffing, because quick profit is valued over customer loyalty or long-term growth. Apply that to healthcare and you have not just a nightmare, you have a horror movie.
      And American-style healthcare will then just be a matter of time, because the door will have been opened. As an ex-pat American, this sends a chill down my spine.

  19. David Edwards permalink
    November 11, 2011 4:02 pm

    @Becca to make a profit, the private sector only engages in profitable activities. The NHS provides care for all regardless of means, does not refuse treatment according to some business model.

    For the record, there is no such thing as dictation software capable of transcribing complex medical assessments

  20. November 11, 2011 4:07 pm


  21. November 11, 2011 7:26 pm

    Let them have all the hospitals funded through PFI – with full liability for all costs.

    Other than that -this is cronyism writ large in small brown envelopes containing large cheques.

  22. linphil57 permalink
    November 11, 2011 11:44 pm

    So right from the start its already gone wrong. Aren’t they bothered about looking like crooks or do they think no1 will notice?

    When NHS 1st started it was hailed as gr8. Then over time after a tweek or 2 n the odd deal for oneself, they gradually broke it.

    It wouldn’t be that difficult to sort out. Just get rid of all the groups paid fortunes for doing nothing n bring back matrons. That would be a good start. It’s when you have great big impersonal operations that you get the trouble. A. small department left to run itself with the patient n relatives given final word on quality of service.

    But no. Let’s get in some money grabbers to to provide low cost service at high cost prices who give out back handers. I don’t agree to that.

  23. November 12, 2011 2:19 am


  24. Rob McD permalink
    November 12, 2011 1:53 pm

    The problem is, we never learn. The country is in a crisis, caused by the intellectually bereft Labour Party (Blair and Brown) and greedy thick bankers.
    The Tories moved in and straight away started dividing up the spoils of war like it belongs to them.

    I do, however, blame myself because I voted for them. I will never make that mistake again. As a member of the strangled middle who happens to work in local government, I now Loath Cameron and his inbred party.

    The problem for Dave, however, is that it didn’t take very long for the word “SLEAZE” to return. After only 15 months, we already need a change. We need a new party who will truly represent the real workers in this country. A party that puts people and Country first and not their mates in big business first, second, third and Eaton. And I’m not talking about the bloody Lib Dems either.

    • November 14, 2011 12:29 am

      Voting wont fix it, and blaming the voters of yourself for voting one way or the other because of the corruption of the politicians misses the mark. I’m sure you thought you were voting against the sleaze and spinelessness of the labor or democratic party.
      We have to refuse to stand for the corruption in our government no matter who is in power. If voting actually made a difference they’d make it illegal. Civil disobedience and a public that refuses to stand for it is all that will make them reverse course. They have to fear the public.

  25. Taloa permalink
    November 13, 2011 8:57 am

    You snipped the bit off the end of his sentence. The full thing is on YouTube at the No. 10 website. His deviations from the script are interesting.

    His full quote was:-

    “From the health secretary I don’t just wanna know about waiting times, I wanna know how we drive the NHS to be a fantastic business for Britain that is exporting healthcare, expertise, knowledge and technology around the world.”

    In other words, he was talking at a conference about exporting as a way to grow the economy out of the state its in, and using the NHS as an exporting business that can play a part in that growth.

    I found the changes he’s describing in his speech (i.e. not just his statement about the NHS), astounding in their stupidity.

    His ideas are like those of a toddler’s who has yet to work out how sophisticated systems work. Since he’s not only an adult but a university graduate and a leading politician, we can describe him this way (and it is a description, not an insult, despite its negativity): he’s thick.

  26. Taloa permalink
    November 13, 2011 8:58 am

    Sorry this part was meant to say: “The full thing is on YouTube at the No. 10 channel.”

  27. November 13, 2011 9:59 pm

    And what I want to know is… where’s Labour?

  28. November 14, 2011 12:23 am

    Government by kleptocracy. Politicians use class warfare arguments and belittle the welfare state, everyone can’t afford to be on the so called “tit”, even though it is the public that pays for these services. They displace the recipients and set themselves up as the biggest welfare recipient of them all, all in the name of reform.
    These aren’t entrepreneurs or “savvy businessmen” they are tenderpreneurs.- it’s what the africans call it. They can’t compete in the marketplace on their own so they use political connections to get contracts. As long as we stand for it they’ll continue plundering.
    This is theft.

    • November 15, 2011 1:23 pm

      kleptocaracy by tenderpreneurs is exactly what is going on 😦

  29. Clear Voice permalink
    November 14, 2011 2:05 pm

    Have you heard the one about the secret report nobody wants to publish? See

  30. November 15, 2011 1:21 pm

    letter sent

  31. Eileen permalink
    November 15, 2011 7:16 pm

    Absolutely Not!!!

  32. November 16, 2011 9:14 pm

    November 30th Strike Act up, if you can not march line the streets and cheer, if you are stuck in work and can use the internet blog leave comments on newspapers do as much as you can, e-mail mps lords Councillors esp lib dem scum ones.

  33. November 17, 2011 11:45 am

    If change is needed in the the NHS it is not change towards more private ownership but to less. The NHS should not be about profit it should be about service. What do the likes of Cameron and his Tory one percenters care about the ninety nine percent who actually need the NHS? They felch enough from the ninety nine percent to afford private health insurance. Their priorities are all wrong.

    • David Edwards permalink
      November 17, 2011 12:46 pm

      Agree completely! This privatisation, like others before it, is all about the enrichment of the very few at the expense of all the rest, now and for generations to come.

  34. Dave F permalink
    November 25, 2011 11:16 pm

    As a worker in the NHS, I have not forgot the reason for the existance of such a unique and free healthcare system. You have an accident, are you left to bleed and die? Nope, our Ambulances come to your aid, no matter what the weather and danger and sort you out, if it’s not too late. That is the important part, the human side, the reasons why us on the lower rungs of the ladder, the worker ants, do our job, because we want to, not because we have to. Politicians will forever try to meddle in things they know nothing about. They are glorified pen-pushers “thinking” they know what’s best, but the truth is, they are actually devoid of common sense and brimming with education (The two are not the same, honestly, they are NOT)

    Is it not up to us, the people, to say NO? When is enough enough? When are us lazy, lethargic and quite frankly down-trodden British going to WAKE UP! Get a grip people, didn’t you learn in 80’s or are you guilty of burying your heads, as per usual (guess what, it’s not going to go away)

  35. December 9, 2011 9:57 am

    It’s so disgusting to hear this… The NHS should not and should never be about profit nor how to fill their pockets. Quality service to the people ought to be the target. We all need NHS, and with that, I will never lend an ear to Mr.Cameron’s evangelism. Why do we have to accept these gradual changes in our health sector(s)?. The fact that the country is in a crisis doesn’t mean that we change everything to be *fantastic businesses*… No way!

  36. Dodgydosser permalink
    December 31, 2011 7:10 pm

    Gird your loins! Polish up your marching boots. Get ready for action.

  37. February 4, 2012 2:10 am

    definitely not.

  38. Luke Hutchison permalink
    February 4, 2012 8:10 am

    Yes. Free healthcare run by the efficient and cost effective private sector 😀


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