Ideology, the NHS and the Big Society

Check out the lead batch of letters on the government’s plans for the NHS in the Guardian letters page today. Published in the wake of Polly Toynbee’s excellent piece yesterday, Charles Sharp’s in particular is very apposite.

Are we moving more and more to a pay-as-you-go health care system?

Taken alongside the ConDem coalition’s approach to public sector pensions and their accelerated cuts programme, it strengthens my belief that the government is looking more and more to individuals to ‘sort themselves out’ and will rely less and less on the state. It’s an ideologically driven agenda of which, frankly, the heirs of Margaret Thatcher would be justifiably proud.

I can’t see how actions like those above will stimulate the private sector economy – unless we are about to see a mushrooming of health service management consultancy provision to run the new NHS and a massive increase in private insurance firms to enable people to buy their way to the top of waiting lists and to sell pensions to public sector workers who no longer have them?

Is this the Big Society approach that we’ve heard so much about? Discuss.

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