Stephen Hawking: I’m worried about the future of the NHS
From BBC News: Stephen Hawking says he is worried about the future of the NHS, attacking the impact of government policies and the health secretary in person.
In a speech on Saturday, the Cambridge University scientist is expected to accuse Jeremy Hunt of “cherry-picking” evidence to support his policies.
And he will also say he is concerned about the involvement of the private sector in the NHS in England.
Prof Hawking, who has had motor neurone disease for most of his adult life that has impaired his movement and ability to speak, will deliver the speech at a conference at the Royal Society of Medicine in London organised to air concerns about the future of the NHS.
The author of A Brief History of Time, who is a Labour supporter, will say he has been motivated to speak because of the role the health service has played in his life, saying if it was not for the NHS he “wouldn’t be here today”.
His speech is expected to list some of the developments in the NHS that concern him, including the move towards what he calls a “US-style insurance system”.
He will say he believes there has been an increase in private provision of care, including the use of agency staff, that was leading to profit being extracted from the health service.
“The more profit is extracted from the system, the more private monopolies grow and the more expensive healthcare becomes. The NHS must be preserved from commercial interests and protected from those who want to privatise it,” he will say.
He will also say that a publicly provided, publicly run system is the “most efficient” and so those who say we cannot afford the NHS are wrong.
“We cannot afford not to have the NHS,” he will add.