The Socialist Health Association has published a report, “In Place of Profit” to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the NHS.
Bevan understood the challenges in obtaining access to high quality health care, finding fulfilling work, the health benefits of leisure and sports and the need to remove the fear from not being able to access these. Generations grew up in fear as they could not afford to pay for medical attention. Bevan knew this fear. His father died of an industrial lung disease – although this wasn’t recognised at the time to be mining related, so no compensation was paid – he worked down the pit himself and lived amongst those who struggled to get healthcare in these challenging circumstances. The miners and their families had to co-operate together to pay for primary health services like a GP.
It is against this background that Bevan came up with his policies that led to the formation of the National Health Service. A service that depends on goodwill, on clinicians looking to the wider determinants of health like class, education, housing and poverty. He hardwired altruism in to the system.
It’s almost impossible to overestimate the benefits of that breathtakingly imaginative and generous political act. It’s so important to remember where the NHS came from and what it meant, although I fear that we are beginning to forget.British Journal of General Practice
However, Bevan was a realist and through his trade unionism he knew that a deal needed to be struck with the professionals, that is to say, the doctors and hospital consultants to make his vision of socialised medicine come true.
He did this “by stuffing the doctors’ mouths with gold.” Meaning he allowed some doctors and consultants to continue seeing private paying patients if they accepted NHS patients.
On this momentous 75th anniversary of the NHS, the Socialist Health Association documents the fragmentation of the NHS and the marketisation of the NHS.
“The law of the market is to create winners and losers. If you are working to contracts, then people are going to trim the services to make profits. Markets work against the interests of patients.”Professor Allyson Pollock
The SHA argue that it is imperative to understand that the political panic button of
“austerity” is nothing but an excuse for corporate greed.
We need a publicly provided, complete health service operating in the contextIn Place of Profit – Socialist Health Association 2023
of a functioning welfare state which holistically addresses the social determinants of health.
More preventative healthcare, investment in public health, proper social housing and an integrated social care system are needed now.
The full document “In Place of Profit” is below.InPlaceOfProfit-Socialist-Health-Association-2023