The Great NHS Heist is a new two hour documentary film in which Dr Bob Gill, a General Practitioner and NHS campaigner takes us through the story of the NHS and exposes the plans to privatise and sell it off for profit.
His multiple interviewees and in-depth research describe a process over more than 30 years under successive governments, which has prepared the organisation and made it ‘oven-ready’ for corporate interests to capture.
Apart from the healthcare sell-off, Dr.Gill also reminds us that there has already been a massive sell-off of public land, and that confidential patient data – of high value to insurance vultures – has also been shockingly passed into private hands.
One of the most striking things Dr Gill has discovered, is how the NHS has been intentionally starved of funding where needed, and money has been dramatically siphoned away from frontline healthcare to ever-expanding management layers, giving the appearance of a failing service. The lack of corporate media analysis has allowed the idea to take hold that we can’t afford a public service that is under strain from an ageing population, an influx of health tourists, and rising costs of medicines.
Dr Gill describes how the media has drip-fed us with bad headlines about a failing system, undermining both public and professional trust, but the good doctor explodes the myths and does the maths, proving beyond doubt that a decent public service is not just possible, but would be far cheaper than the insurance-based system which he believes will be marketed in due course as the saviour of an ailing system.
Appointed by David Cameron in 2014, the current chief executive of NHS England (which oversees the NHS) is Simon Stevens. His earlier job in government was as a policy advisor under Tony Blair. In between, he ran the United Health Group, the largest private healthcare company in the world ranked in the top ten of the Fortune 500. He has recently managed to also take over NHS Improvement, the regulatory body. Prior to this merger clinical commissioners warned it “could have significant issues for managing conflicts of interest and in taking decisions around procurement”
Despite the gloomy story unveiled in the film, Dr Gill believes the public can still save the NHS, but like many aspects of civic life, it will need sustained action and resistance from as many ordinary people as possible rather than relying on politicians.
The Great NHS Heist was crowdfunded and it premiered at the Prince Charles cinema in London on 30th November. It doesn’t have a distribution deal but you can rent it online at movie.thegreatnhsheist.com/ and there are also details there if you want to arrange a public screening.
Our interview with Dr Gill from 2017 is still a great primer on the privatisation of the NHS.