Save our NHS?

From the Anarchist Communist Group

Healthcare in the UK is by no means “socialised”, as critics in the US claim. Though healthcare in the UK is undoubtedly better than healthcare in the US – just as other countries have better healthcare than the UK – it is still subject to the pressures and dynamics of capitalism, existing as it does in a capitalist society. It has also been increasingly marketised over recent decades, with attacks on both social provision and NHS workers coming under the cover of “privatisation” – the introduction of payment by results has introduced a market in health services, many non-frontline services have been privatised or contracted to companies like DHL, the introduction of wholly privately owned and operated “NHS treatment centres”, the rollout of Private Finance Initiatives etc all represent part of the same project of “rationalising” social provisions to the benefit of the overall capitalist system. Even the NHS in its classic form, as the centrepiece of the post-war welfare state, came as part of the attempt to stave off prewar-style class conflict and integrate the working class more closely into the state following the end of the war, and to provide a healthy working class that could fight and die for the bosses in their wars (our masters struggled to find enough fit cannon fodder for their First World War) and healthy enough to slave for their profits in paid jobs, and in unpaid childcare and housework, as well as from the needs for capitalism to stabilise itself after the turbulence of the 1920s, in a change of tactic well-known as the post-war settlement.

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