Cover photo: Patients in line for a pop-up clinic in Wise, Virginia. Many had travelled for days to get this free service. 

13 December 2019 

Glass Door shelter manager Ben Davies and the shelter venue at St Barnabas Clapham Common feature in John Pilger’s new documentary film: ‘The Dirty War on the NHS’.

In the film, Pilger investigates the privatisation of the NHS, a process that has been unfolding over the past decades in Britain. He makes an impassioned appeal to halt this selling-off 'by stealth'.

The film will air on ITV on Tuesday 17 December at 10.45pm.

The NHS and the US

In the film, Pilger describes the NHS as the ‘last bastion of true public service’, designed to give millions of people ‘freedom from fear’. He compares this ideal with the US healthcare system run by the private sector and insurance-based services.

The film opens with scenes shot in the US of hospitals "patient dumping", where patients are discharged from hospital in the middle of the night if they cannot pay, without any concern for whether they have somewhere to go.

Shelter manager Ben appears in the next scene. He describes his experience of welcoming shelter guests who are discharged from hospital onto the streets. The comparison is clear: the creeping privatisation of the British healthcare system has dire consequences for society's most marginalised people.

Rave reviews

Peter Bradshaw of the guardian gave the film five stars and said:

Pilger makes a persuasive and passionate case that the secret war on the NHS will create more poverty and homelessness.

UK Film Review awarded the film five stars, commenting: 'John Pilger has yet again mastered film-making in forcing his audiences to be part of a necessary conversation and not shy away from reality'.

Filmed in Britain and the United States, this is John Pilger's 61st film to date.

Click here for more information about the documentary.