Jeremy Hunt’s NHS Cuts & Privatisation Agenda – The Hitchingbrooke Disaster

It is common knowledge that Jeremy Hunt co-authored a book calling for the privatisation and replacement of our NHS system. In his book, ‘Direct Democracy’, published in 2005, Jeremy Hunt’s vision for the NHS can be summed up with this single quote:

‘Instead of tinkering with a fundamentally broken machine, it [The Conservatives] should offer to update the model, setting out, in warm and optimistic tones, its vision of a healthier Britain.’ (Page 80)

Going into more detail, Jeremy Hunt’s ‘updated model’ of the NHS, revolves around private insurance and privatisation of key services. Hunt’s new vision promises; improved health outcomes, efficiency, and better value for money. To achieve his goals, Hunt has closely followed three key steps:

  • Run the service into the ground.
  • Make the public question their belief in a system, that appears to be failing.
  • Privatise stretched services to ‘improve efficiency’ and safety

People are rightly starting to question Jeremy Hunt’s dangerous approach to managing the NHS, without adequate funding and leadership at the top, lives are being put at risk. The most dramatic example of Hunt’s ideological war against the NHS, putting lives at risk, was the Hitchingbrooke Hospital disaster.

  • Funding for the hospital was cut so severely, that the hospital itself was facing closure.
  • Entirely manufactured safety and staffing issues, through starvation of funding & mismanagement, were circulated, and the hospital singled out to be the posterchild for Hunt’s privatisation dream.
  • The hospital was handed over to private-firm ‘Circle’, who were poised to make efficiency savings, boost safety, and turn the hospital around from its manufactured decline.

Jeremy Hunt had not factored in step-4, complete failure. The hospital was placed under special measures, rated “inadequate”, with serious safety concerns regarding the A&E services. Desperate to make a profit, staffing levels were also found to be woefully low, endangering patient health. Conservative MP Jonathan Djanogly admitted Circle was “too aggressive in terms of its pricing strategy”, a condemnation of the idea that privatisation would reduce costs, as the private providers bleed out the maximum profit from their patients.

Jeremy Hunt’s hopes of a dash for NHS privatisation died with the failure of his posterchild project, but he hasn’t given up yet.

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