When the Conservatives were in opposition, Oliver Letwin confided to the party faithful that the “NHS will not exist under the Tories”.
In government the Tories see the NHS has a monument to socialism that needs destroying by opening up tens of billions of pounds worth of NHS work to private enterprise.
This was confirmed by Mark Britnell, an advisor to David Cameron, who told a meeting in New York that “the NHS will be shown no mercy” and urged private equity investor groups to swoop.
Millions of us have every reason to be grateful for the existence of the NHS. Under the last Labour government pollsters awarded it the highest levels of public satisfaction they had ever recorded. Waiting lists for surgery had vanished, doctor numbers increased by two thirds, nurses by a third.
When Labour cut waiting times, the number of people paying to go private fell steeply.
The NHS deserves our support and so do the staff, many of whom are having to re-apply for their old jobs, as well as facing pay cuts.