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Cameron's deadly threat to our NHS.

Byline: Kevin Maguire

TURNING the cherished NHS into the biggest quango in British history is to value quack doctor economics and politics over the nation's well-being.

Strip away the management speak and David Cameron's naked policy is to privatise health, to wreck universal free care, to recreate the postcode lottery, to celebrate markets over medical need, to champion profit ahead of patients.

Dr Cameron and his junior medic Andrew Lansley are, of course, too scared to tell the truth.

Margaret Thatcher backed away from flogging hospitals because the Rusty Lady feared the mother of all backlashes. Nigel Lawson, Tory Chancellor in the 1980s, famously called the NHS a "national religion" so tinkered instead of swinging the axe.

This lot will take a chain-saw to the health service unless stopped, reducing what is now the envy of the world to a network ruled by accountants and reliant on charity collectors. Cameron's approach to the NHS tells us everything we need to know about his politics.

Private is good, public bad for a Tory leader who spins himself as new but in reality is a Conservative throwback. The so-called Big Society is cover for an attack on a state he's ideologically against but communities rely on for health, education, security and much else. He'scrapped targets which slashed waiting times in casualty and improved cancer treatment yet imposes tougher financial goals. Plunging the NHS into a complex, energysapping internal reorganisation will hurt patients. GPs aren't equipped to control pounds 80bn but I'm sure they'll be hiring finance directors and salaries will be soaring.

The Lib Dems are again reduced to playing the role of dupes, their promise to increase accountability dumped in the bin.

But Labour has the chance to renew its values by defending the NHS against Cameron and Lansley.

The Labour Government indulged in an ill-advised flirtation with privatisation before the trade unions - standing up for patients as well as jobs - triumphed.

Hospitals can't be run like supermarkets because everyone must be served, even if their purse is empty.

And by encouraging hospitals to borrow and seek private patients, the ConDems risk putting wannabe banksters in charge of our health.

NHS creator Nye Bevan famously talked of hearing dropped bed pans.

I can hear another Cameron clanger.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 14, 2010

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