British Politicians Warned Not to Weaponize Health Service in Election Campaign

British Politicians Warned Not to Weaponize Health Service in Election Campaign

With Britain’s December 12th general election fast approaching campaigning is due to kick-off in earnest this week.

While Brexit will the clear front-runner in election issues, the country’s National Health Service (NHS) and social services are two areas which are certain to garner significant attention.

In a warning to politicians, a leading health services boss has come out this morning demanding that the NHS is not made a ‘political weapon.’

Speaking on BBC radio, NHS Providers Chief Chris Hopson acknowledged that the performance of the NHS ‘is a matter of political debate’.

However, he warned against the dangers of using the performance as a means of ‘advancing a particular political argument and in doing so demonising a bunch of staff who are working at full pelt…’

He said that while promises of extra funding, or those that create unrealistic expectations could be tempting in the heat of an election battle – such promises would not do the NHS any favours.

Mr. Hopson said that the real struggle for the NHS is in keeping up with demand. He recognised that a proper debate is needed but said that such a debate should be about ‘what the NHS needs to provide the right quality of care in the face of that extra demand.’

As part of its election campaign the opposition Labour Party has pledged to remove all traces of privatisation from the NHS.

In his first major speech of the election campaign last week, Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn made several references to his parties plans for the health service.

He spoke of fears that any post-Brexit trade deal with the US could leave the UK health service open to privatisation.

Mr. Corbyn said the NHS was not ‘….. up for grabs by US corporations in a one-sided Trump trade sell-out.’

He said Britain’s health service was not for sale and pledged that a Labour-led Government would ensure it remained that way.

A recent Channel 4 Dispatches documentary claimed that UK civil servants had met with US pharmaceutical companies to negotiate on deals in relation to the health service.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party was quick to refute claims that the health service was for sale.

Taking to Twitter, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he has seen the ‘scare stories’ put around by the Labour Party in relation to the NHS.

He said he wanted to make it absolutely clear that ‘the NHS is not for sale…..’

(Image by rawpixel via pixabay.com)

Antoinette Tyrrell is a writer and journalist who started her career in print and broadcast journalism in Ireland. An English and History graduate of the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, she worked for 11 years in corporate public relations for Irish Government bodies in the Foreign Direct Investment and Energy sectors.

She is the founder of GoWrite, a business writing and public relations consultancy. Her work has appeared in a range of national and international media and trade publications. She is also a traditionally published novelist of commercial fiction.

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