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It’s time for a political response to attacks on universal health care

***Embargoed until 0.00 Tuesday 14 May 2013***

It’s time for a political response to attacks on universal health care

Today [Tuesday] the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) launches a new policy paper, “Duty to care: In defence of universal health care”.

England is not alone in its assault on universal health care - across Europe countries are cutting health budgets to deal with debts created by the banking crisis. But those who argue against tax-financed health care and say that it is a privilege we can no longer afford, are unable to explain why universal health care was instituted when the world’s economy was very much smaller than it is today.

Renowned health policy experts Prof Allyson Pollock and David Price, from the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health at Queen Mary, University of London argue that of the recent reforms forced on the NHS under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the abolishment of the Secretary of State’s duty to secure and provide a comprehensive health service is the one that strikes at the very heart of health provision in this country.

Prof Allyson Pollock and David Price said:

“The NHS has been an international model ever since [it was established] because it provided what no other country in the world has achieved at the same cost: universal health care in the form of equal access to comprehensive care, irrespective of personal income.”

“By removing the mandate on government to provide a health service, the Health and Social Care Act 2012 is the crowning achievement of those who would destroy the systems that underpin universality.”

This paper shows that abolition of the duty makes it easier to transform the English NHS from a nationally-mandated public service into a number of fragmented and competing services. Evidence is presented showing that due to the abolition of the duty a range of fundamental services will no longer be required, by law, to be provided free of charge - including services and facilities for pregnant women and ambulance services. Pollock and Price argue that the principle is not, as the Coalition repeatedly claimed, increased patient choice - but increased choice of patient.


ENDS


Notes to Editors:

1. The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) is a new think tank established in 2012 by Unite the Union, GMB and the Institute of Employment Rights to act as a centre for left debate and discussion and has the growing support of a number of trade Unions including ASLEF, CWU, GFTU, NUT, PCS, TSSA, and UCATT. Originating in the labour movement, Class is working with a broad coalition of supporters, academics and experts to develop and advance alternative policies for today. http://classonline.org.uk/about/panel

2. A Social State for 2015 is the first high-profile project launched by Class and looks at what Beveridge’s 1942 analysis of society can teach us about the Giant Evils of today. ‘Duty to care: In defence of universal health care’ was commissioned from the authors as part of this series to address the Giant Evil of ‘disease’ and to propose new policy priorities for health after the next election. More information can be found here:
http://www.classonline.org.uk/projects/a-social-state-for-2015 .

3. A copy of ‘Duty to care: In defence of universal health care’ is attached and more information can be found here: http://www.classonline.org.uk/pubs/item/duty-to-care (embargoed until 0.00am Tuesday 14 May 2013)

4. The authors of the paper:
Allyson Pollock is Professor of Public Health Research and Policy at Queen Mary, University of London. http://classonline.org.uk/about/panel/professor-allyson-pollock
David Price is a senior research fellow in the Centre for Primary Care and Public Health at the Queen Mary, University of London. http://classonline.org.uk/about/authors/david-price


More information
For further information, articles, interviews or media requests please contact Rachel Yates on rachel.yates@classonline.org.uk or 020 7611 2569 or 07939 753 061

Website: http://classonline.org.uk/
Twitter: @classthinktank

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