Privatisation in its various guises is “spreading across Europe’s health services like a rash”, writes John Lister
of Keep Our NHS Public and Health Campaigns Together. EU member states’
health systems are broadly split between those based on
employment-related health insurance and those financed via general
But both have been subject to political and policy pressures,
including from the EU-level, that have created conditions conducive to a
growing role for private sector companies from this traditionally
Squeezing profits for
shareholders out of health services risks deteriorating working
conditions; worse pay, reduced staff levels, greater workloads, more
stress, all of which negatively impact on safety and quality of care.
Greater health inequality is fostered as private, for-profit providers
‘cherry-pick’ lower-risk and paying patients, whilst higher-risk and
poorer patients, or those needing emergency care, remain reliant on
under-resourced (thanks to austerity) public health service provision.