Jacky Davis, John Lister, David Wrigley, Merlin Press, London 2015, £10.95, available from www.keepournhspublic.com (all proceeds to KONP).
Reviewed by Liz Peretz
This is a much needed guide book to the complicated terrain of the NHS for those of us who are fighting privatisation of health care.
It is full of facts and quotes of the eye widening variety to be used at meetings and in pamphlets – and to strengthen us at moments when the whole neoliberal project seems overwhelming.
Like KONP’s Myth Busting pocket guide which preceded it, this book is a must, from the foreword by Harry Smith “I am one of the last people that can remember the cruelty of life before the NHS, and I can assure you it is essential for Britain’s prosperity and social wellbeing that my past doesn’t become your future” to the great list of resources and campaigns at the back, this is essential reading.
Unusually for such a grim subject it is a page turner – and made me smile more than once as I read it. Martin McKee’s introduction takes us through the carefully laid plans of the Tory, Oliver Letwin and guides us through the vast terrain covered in the book – from PFI and TTIP, through the reforms and the profits and on into what we can do about it.
The clever ‘myth busting’ lay-out allows the reader to easily understand, one bite at a time, why the NHS isn’t inefficient, why the reforms are costly, and will make a less accountable and less transparent system. It shows that transforming the NHS into a competitive market is already a ‘failed experiment that has cost a great deal … and should have been abandoned years ago’.
In short, this book tells you – just in time for the election campaign – why you have to get out there and fight for our public health system which – despite the damages the marketeers have tried to inflict – is still quite rightly the envy of the world.