Culture, In Focus, Listings, Screen, United Kingdom

The dirty war on the NHS

Filmed in Britain and the United States, this documentary affects us all and reveals what may be the last battle to preserve the most fundamental human right. A hybrid event to be held on 25 May will allow an in-depth journey into its making and the subject matter itself.


Elle McHale


Director John Pilger’s diatribe ‘The Dirty War on the NHS” has become elucidated as his findings and predictions, about the dismal future of the National Health Service and are being demonstrated more dramatically by the NHS’ struggle to cope with the pandemic.

For this reason, and because today more than ever there is a need for an in-depth understanding of what is happening to the NHS, Sands Films has organised an in person and online presentation of Bafta and Emmy award-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger’s new film “The dirty war on the NHS” coupled with a live Q&A with Dr Bob Gill.

“This is a film to enrage, but also to inspire: to make sure that when the pandemic is over, the NHS is rebuilt as a properly funded public health system”, says their Facebook page.

Pilger dismantles the ways in which the NHS is suffering as a direct result of insurance-based company control, providing his audience with a harrowing insight into the possible future of the National Health Service.

He places considerable emphasis on the negative aftermath of patient care once private companies have taken over hospitals.

Numerous case studies coupled with interviews of doctors and nurses help to expose the reality of profit extraction. Pilger believes that the secret war on the NHS will create more poverty and homelessness.

“In 2019, more of the NHS was sold to private firms than ever before, the NHS is currently being sold off and converted to a free-market model inspired by America’s health insurance system”, says John Pilger.

The NHS was the world’s first universal public health service, originally designed to supply millions of people with “freedom from fear” but this fear has returned.

Fear of being abandoned by the government, a reality for the 27.5 million US-Americans who did not have any health insurance in 2018.

According to a Healthcare Survey, 29% of US Americans lost their health Insurance in 2020 and more than half remain uninsured in 2021.

John Pilger. Photo: Shoechucker / Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons license.

NHS doctor and producer of documentary “The great NHS Heist”  , Dr Bob Gill, states that he has experienced the effects of the stealth ideological assault on the NHS: “De-funding, outsourcing and marketisation has squandered billions, made my job harder and for my patients more frustrating due to delays, fragmentation and in some cases preventable harm.”

He says that the more research he conducted into this topic, the clearer it became that fundamental information was being kept out of the public domain.

A potent example of this was the Thatcher privatisation plan, which was slowly preparing for a major decline in funding to staff, patients and the public. The NHS had, unknowing to most, been “moulded into a corporate structure with a business ethos under cover of the completely false ‘efficiency’ rubric, patiently over the preceding forty years.”

The film aired in December 2019 following a ruling by the television regulatory authority Ofcom that ensured the film wouldn’t be released until after the general election due to its political sensitivity.

The potency of the film was elucidated when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and the NHS were put under severe pressure.

They were crippled by bed shortages, with starvation of resources and the looming threat of becoming privatised which Pilger claims is the result of sustained privatisation.

The hybrid presentation ‘The Dirty War on the NHS (& talk with Dr Bob Gill)’ will take place May 25th, 2021 at 8 pm. For further information visit their website or Facebook page.

(Photos: Pixabay)

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