Sharing Health Records with the Private Sector – Why pick this policy?
The government’s masochistic tendency came to the fore again today with the Prime Minister launching his plan to share health records with Big Pharma.
As everyone knows, medical and pharmaceutical innovation is one of UK PLC’s few remain stellar sectors and clearly worth supporting for the benefits that it brings to the economy and to UK healthcare. My concern is not with the policy per se but with the politics.
As sure as John Terry’s slip gave a free run on goal to Robin van Persie last month (the less said about that the better) surely this is an open goal to Labour that even the not very missed John Healey could have taken. Andy Burnham, a more in-form shadow Health Secretary, should have no trouble scoring with this one.
Public fears about the NHS changes, the predominance of the privatisation and profit-making narratives and general suspicion of the government’s intentions should make it easy for Labour (and the few Lib Dems following Evan Harris on health matters) to paint these changes as another feature of the Government’s obsession with opening up the NHS to their mates in the private sector.
I can hear it now: “would you trust your private medical records to those US multi-nationals coming over here to skim millions of pounds out of our NHS?”
That’s a tough one to deal with on the doorstep or, for that matter, in the GP surgery talking to local Clinical Commissioning Group Chairs.