We have exposed the government and their greedy self-serving tactics time and time again, and now one of the biggest and most obvious abuses of their power has taken place through the largest privatisation deal for the NHS yet.
After making the NHS impossible to operate through their meddling the government have initiated the privatisation of surgery, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests through the back door.
Using a little known about body called ‘NHS Supply Chain’, a highly lucrative £780 million deal has been struck with eleven companies, three of them having previously been heavily criticised, including two by the NHS regulator, for providing poor quality of care in hospitals and care homes.
The total value of the privatisation is made up of five national contracts with a maximum value of £240m, £160m, £240m, £80m and £60m – adding up to a total of £780m.
The companies include several that have previously held controversial contracts with the NHS. Vanguard was the sole winner of a contract worth up to £160m to help NHS trusts undertake surgical procedures in mobile operating theatres. It is facing legal action over a series of eye operations carried out in 2014 at Musgrove Park Hospital in Somerset. A confidential NHS report into Vanguard said the operations appeared “rushed” and surgeons were allowed to continue even after patients reported serious complications. The hospital terminated its contract with Vanguard after just four days as a result of the problems.
A second firm, Circle, is in line to share up to £240m for providing imaging services, such as scans and X-rays. It will also provide services within operating theatres. Circle is the firm which pulled out of running Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridgeshire – the first private firm to manage an NHS hospital – following the publication of a damning Care Quality Commission (CQC) report into the quality of care patients were receiving at Hinchingbrooke.
A third company involved in the deal, Care UK, was criticised by the CQC for the quality of care at two nursing homes it runs in Suffolk.
Paul Evans of the NHS Support Federation, which tracks outsourcing of NHS services and campaigns against privatisation, told The Guardian: “How can the public have trust in companies that have so recently been the subject of such damning criticism? We already have many examples where patients have suffered because of the way that health firms are providing care to the NHS. It is time to step away from healthcare through the market”.
“Despite ministerial denials, this is yet more proof that privatisation is an everyday reality in the NHS. The scale of contracts is increasing as companies are seizing the opportunity to bid to run a huge range of NHS services,” Evans added
Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said it showed that “chunks” of the NHS were being sold off. Burnham said: “It is outrageous that large chunks of the NHS are being parcelled up and sold off without the permission of a single person in this country.”
“Jeremy Hunt tries to claim that ‘privatisation isn’t happening’, but the truth is it is happening at speed and scale,” he added. “This now needs to become an election issue. The country has never given its approval for the NHS to be bought and sold in this way. This sounds like a race to the bottom. It’s clear that quality is not the deciding factor when people with poor care records are winning the contracts.”
The downright underhand tactics of the current government come as no surprise. Since coming to power they have been involved in controversy after controversy over their policy of stripping public assets for private companies profit, such as the sale of Royal Mail which was grossly undervalued and through which ‘selected’ city banks made huge profits.
Cameron and his cronies have been responsible for putting more and more pressure on our health services both directly and indirectly through their stripping of the country’s social care system – which has obviously had a detrimental knock-on effect on health and other services.
It is a disgrace that these profiteering spivs are putting profit before care – destroying the foundations of our society which have taken decades to establish so that each person is able to receive a good standard of basic care and support.
If these idiots had their way it would only be those who are able to pay who would receive a high standard of health care, with the rest consigned to the most basic third-world standards.