The plan is to privatise the NHS.
Blinded by the trillions of dollars the health industry generates for the USA and the subsequent donations private healthcare providers would quite possibly give to their party as a thank you, they are clear that the blight of the state-provided NHS to the free markets must go. For them, it is a travesty that one of the biggest economies in the world spends so much money on providing free healthcare to its citizens, when this could be done by the markets and they could reap the benefits.
They are not interested in, literally, the victims NHS privatisation will leave behind, as people will not be able to afford healthcare anymore and will be left to die on the streets, immediately after paramedics or the 999 they called for help, have asked them if they have private health insurance or whether they can afford to pay it themselves. The USA is a clear, unequivocal, undisputed example of what the UK will look like with private healthcare provision.
The plan has been clear and long in coming.
It did have some challenges. How do you dismantle a service that the public loves and uses so much without raising attention? The solutions were easy First, do not touch the front-line provision but dismantle its supporting structures. Lie to the public before the election, tell them there will not be a top-down restructuring of the NHS and then do exactly that. Remove all the NHS trusts that were making crucial financial decisions, enabling doctors to do what they know, been trained to do and do best, practice medicine. Move all the financial decision making to doctors under the pretence of enabling greater flexibility. Ignore the fact this will overburden and stretch existing services to the limit. Oh and of course, do not bring any new doctors or other staff in to help.
The result of the first step has been that waiting times to see a GP have increased and increased and increased. Service is deteriorating and it is only a matter of time until the public starts thinking the NHS is not so good anymore as they cannot get a decent service. No worries, they will not look much into it as to why this is happening.
Second challenge, how do you address the result of your restructuring? Massive gaps in funding as well as lack of doctors to provide front-line services? The solution is the same again: lie to the public. Promise them 5000 new doctors and £8 billion of funding during election time. Having won the election and with stories coming out that the NHS has an ever-increasing deficit, the money is nowhere to be seen. As for the extra doctors? Oh well.
The result again is that the service is being stretched to its absolute limits and spending even more money to provide basic, life-saving services. Excellent, you say, the NHS service continues to deteriorate and we can accuse them of being inefficient as well as financially incompetent, mismanaging public funds. The public will then be ripe for private companies to step in and save the day!
But, hold on a sec, how even after all of these changes, services continue to be provided? There is something else at play here! This brings the Conservatives against their greatest challenge: How do you deal with a profession that, by its nature, its professionals care beyond money or their own self? An attitude incomprehensible to a true, market is king, queen and emperor, idealist Conservative? Doctors care. How dare they?!
The solution is again simple. You squeeze them and pressure them until they break. First, you kill off any illusion of a work-life balance. How do you do that though when they already work 12-13 hours shifts? Easy, making them work more days! Bring forth the 7-day surgery! Because working 12-hours shifts five days a week, is not enough. Adding administrative tasks on top of the existing workload did not have the full, desired effect. More is required!
At the same time, do look at the future supply of doctors. We can't have more people coming in who care. Surely not!
Using the same con trick of promising one thing at election time and delivering the exact opposite, promise 5000 new doctors and instead cut off the supply of junior doctors. Decrease their salaries under the auspice of austerity. No one cares inheritance tax has been cut and investment companies got tax breaks. We live in harsh times, junior doctors must pay the burden! Show them that medicine does not pay. Show them that they cannot expect a decent living if they become doctors. Show them their contribution to society is irrelevant since they are not charging for it. At the same time, ensure that any idea of future profits is not enough to sustain them. Do ensure that they leave university with massive debts by increasing tuition fees so there is no chance of them doing so for the money.
Then just wait, wait until the service deteriorates. Wait until there are no new doctors coming through the system so it becomes chronically understaffed and underperforming. At that point, push privatisation forward, make private healthcare providers Jesus's NHS for the 21st century. Then all will be well.