MATT HANCOCK FRONTS UP
At least at yesterdays’ government press conference (Thursday 2nd April), Health Secretary Matt Hancock faced up to the governments’ failure to provide PPE and testing. Unlike previous government evaders, he answered some questions and made promises to dramatically improve provision. Let’s all hope he’s successful.
He also promised to write off NHS Trust debts –worth £13.5 billion – for debts read money Trusts couldn’t cut from their restricted budgets. It sure would have helped if the Conservatives had done this before instead of worshipping austerity.
Also, most interestingly Mr Hancock acknowledged that ‘Britain’s diagnostic industry starts from a very low base’….Why is that?
In an earlier article we carried by Dr Jon Dale, (Is there a cure on the Horizon?) he explained why this was the case. Essentially there is a lot less money going into diagnostics because there is less profit in it compared to producing medicines.
There is some amazing work being done by many companies to understand and seek cures or palliatives for this virus and no-one can blame a company having to work in a ‘Market system’ for needing to make a profit to survive. But what it reveals – yet again – is that the market cannot deal with human problems. Hence the huge government intervention needed in this crisis.
Health priorities cannot be left to the profit motive but must be decided by society for the interests of all.
If our health industries are to be improved they must be brought into public ownership and integrated and planned and alongside our NHS.
– What Jon Dale said: “Small biotech companies employing 20-30 scientists are rapidly developing faster, more accurate tests. But they may be too late for this pandemic.
– Private investment in these bio-tech companies between 2015-19 was 6 times less than in companies researching treatments where higher profits are hoped for. (One expert commenting on inadequate diagnostics) said it was “a market failure” that diagnostics were less valued than treatments.
– Large companies making diagnostic tests don’t invest in tests that may not be needed, they want guaranteed sales. A Socialist plan of production would combine laboratory research with modern purpose built factories, prepared for new infectious outbreaks.
– Public ownership and investment, not short term profit hunting, would save many lives.”
Tests for all now!
Nationalise production and research!
While we await a cure, we can cure the system that holds us back in the our fight against epidemics