Lansley’s plans for the NHS threaten its very existence. Health worker Marc Renwick looks at a vital new book for all those fighting to Keep our NHS Public

Plot Against the NHS cover

Colin Leys & Stewart Player, The Plot Against the NHS (Merlin Press, 2011).

It is not always the case that the ideal book comes along for an activist involved in a specific campaign. But, for anyone involved, or thinking about being involved, in the campaign against Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill – this is the book for you.

Colin Leys & Stewart Player’s The Plot Against the NHS is a readable, concise and absolutely bang up to date analysis that exposes the reality behind the Bill and the decade long ‘plot’ that has seen government ministers working behind the scenes with the private sector to turn the NHS into a healthcare market.

The book covers from New Labour’s 2nd Health Secretary, Alan Milburn’s July 2000 ‘concordat’ with the ‘Independent Healthcare Association’ – where Tim Evans (the IHAs leading negotiator) looks forward to ‘a time when the NHS would simply be the kitemark attached to the institutions and activities of a system of purely private providers’ to Eamonn Butler’s (Director of the Adam Smith Institute) response in January 2011 to the question whether he thought that the NHS in England would ever really become ‘just a franchise’, he said: ‘It’s been 20 years in the planning, I think they’ll do it.’

Government misinformation about their plans for the NHS, and Andrew Lansley’s Bill in particular, would have us believe that it is about improving patient choice, improving efficiency and reducing bureaucracy. This book provides a telling insight into the real agenda behind the bill – fragmentation, commercialisation, competition and the market – that sets in place the structures that will allow wholesale privatisation of our NHS.

Dr Wendy Savage (the veteran campaigner for the NHS) at a recent Keep Our NHS Public Meeting in Leeds told us how she recommended the book for every activist opposing the bill. Her faith in the book had even led her to sending a copy to leader of the Labour Party, Ed Milliband (even a book this good would have its work cut out there).

Reading this book will help provide the information needed to build the campaign against the bill, to take on arguments, to speak at meetings and write leaflets. More importantly it will motivate anyone who reads it to get involved in campaigning to make sure the bill is defeated and that we do – Keep Our NHS Public.

Video of Colin Leys speaking at the Coalition of Resistance conference

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