Right to Health Activities in the European Union: Against Privatization and Commercialization

As we point to European countries as successful examples of publicly funded health care, activists across the pond – such as the Observatory on the Privatization of Health Care – may welcome our solidarity in their fight against the onslaught of privatization and commercialization.

An example of mainstream resistance against privatization is the British Medical Association’s campaign. From a BMA press release:

BMA is sending ‘Look After our NHS’ campaign packs to each of its members in England – over 100,000 doctors and medical students. The packs contain posters picturing businessmen taking money out of the NHS, and call on the public to “help us put patients before profits.” Leaflets for patients, warning them that “your local GP practice, hospital or community health service could be run by a commercial, profit-driven company in the future,” will also be distributed via GP practices and BMA representatives in hospitals.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, says: “We want an NHS with patients, not profits, at its heart. The public values the NHS as a publicly provided, publicly funded service. Like doctors, they do not want vital funding to be diverted to shareholders.  NHS staff see on a daily basis the waste of taxpayers’ money caused by this fixation with market ideology. Particularly as the public purse strings tighten, it is crucial that public money is no longer wasted on expensive commercial experiments.”

Read the BMA’s principles for the National Health Service, which is under attack from the Conservative/Liberal Democrat government.

The BMA is against the increasing commercialisation of patient care. We want to see the NHS restored as a public service working co-operatively for patients, not a market of commercial businesses competing with each other. That’s why we’re campaigning for an NHS which:
1.    Provides high quality, comprehensive healthcare for all, free at the point of use
2.    Is publicly funded through central taxes, publicly provided and publicly accountable
3.    Significantly reduces commercial involvement
4.    Uses public money for quality healthcare, not profits for shareholders
5.    Cares for patients through co-operation, not competition
6.    Is led by medical professionals working in partnership with patients and the public
7.    Seeks value for money but puts the care of patients before financial targets
8.    Is fully committed to training future generations of medical professionals