Private Business Intermediaries

NHS Carve Up

04/10/2012 | By Sharmila Chauhan
"Be warned. Cameron's great NHS carve up is coming to your community", said Andy Burnham. Speaking at the Labour's conference in Manchester, the shadow health secretary warned delegates that "a forced privatisation (of the NHS has been) ordered from the top".

Mr Burnham said that reduced the NHS was a "service demoralised, destabilised, fearful of the future." He went on to say that the N in NHS under sustained attack and highlighted issues around the postcode lottery for treatments and sliping standards of care where older people are not able to obtain cataract and hip operations.

Speaking at length about the NHS privatisation, Mr Burnham said was occurring "at a pace and scale never seen before." Privatisation of parts of the NHS has been a long debated issue, however Mr Burnham reported that there were at least 37 private bidders. This "secret" privatisation, whose details have been protected from disclosure by the “commercial confidentiality” – was exposed in the Labour’s NHS Check. This suggested that in the future there would be no choice of GPs for patients and that reliance of hospitals on private patients will be at the detriment of the NHS patient. The Health Check also reported that there will be privatisation of the ambulance services by Arriva, a private bus company in Greater Manchester.

How the NHS will balance the impact of privatisation and the demands on productivity and quality of care is still unknown. Other privatisation ventures in the UK have had mixed results, the worry is here, is that this may cost lives – not just running of trains or delivery of letters.

Whatever happens, what is the clear is that changes from the top need to look at the system holistically; treating the problems now, with an eye on the future as well.