THE NHS at 60 is not yet ready for retirement, but its worn-out bits are increasingly being sold-off rather than replaced, says the South West Green Party, which has called for the drive for private profit to be kicked out of the structure for local NHS s

THE NHS at 60 is not yet ready for retirement, but its worn-out bits are increasingly being sold-off rather than replaced, says the South West Green Party, which has called for the drive for private profit to be kicked out of the structure for local NHS services. The Green Party maintains that the NHS is being systematically dismantled and sold off to large healthcare providers to run on a profit-making business model. Dr Richard Lawson, a GP and a SW Green Party list candidate for the Euro Elections in 2009, said: "I was informed many years ago by a top BMA representative that the underlying agenda of the NHS, under both Tories and Labour, was to refashion the service into the American model, with private Health Maintenance Organisations (for that read Primary Care Trusts) providing medical services only for people who have medical insurance. Uninsured people will have to take their chance in American style 'Emergency Rooms'. Dr Lawson added: "One of my older patients met Nye Bevan and heard him say that if we abuse the NHS, we will lose it. The NHS has been abused by politicians, who first failed to educate patients in the proper use of the service, and now by Labour and Tory politicians who want to privatise it by stealth". North Devon's Ricky Knight, lead Euro candidate for the SW Green Party, stated: "Sixty years ago, Bevan strived to bring different health service providers into a nationalised health service. Sixty years on, Labour are working hard to hand the NHS to private health care providers, paid for by the tax-payer. "Time and time again, private companies have been shown to have cost taxpayers more to provide equivalent healthcare services than the NHS, with no benefits in quality. Why then do Labour insist on continuing with this destructive and misguided policy? "The answer is that New Labour politicians have bought in to the free market economic model lock stock and barrel. Their refusal to re-integrate hospital cleaning services into the NHS is a symptom of their new ideology. Integrated cleaning services, with fully trained and well-motivated cleaners, are the best weapon that there is against hospital acquired infections such as MRSA and Clostridium Difficile. "The Green Party is the only major party saying no to the prioritising of private profit from a service that should be run for the good of the patients and not the shareholders. It is time to say no to Labour's privatisation agenda and return to efficient and effective state run services that benefit local people.