Unite, the country’s biggest union, warns of an explosion in the sell-off of NHS contracts to profit-first providers just one year on from the government’s Health and Social Care Act.
New findings from the NHS Support Federation show that in the year since the government’s changes came into effect there has been a 30 per cent rise in the number of NHS contracts put out to competitive tender with their value increasing more three times to total £13.5 billion.
With 70 per cent of NHS contracts being awarded to private companies over the last two years, serious questions need to be asked about the impact of the government’s new contract culture on patient care and service quality.
Unite is today backing the call for an inquiry into the impact of the government’s changes, looking at the cost to the NHS of the new contract culture in terms of the bidding process and associated costs, as well as service and staff cuts as companies put profits before patient care.
Responding to the new findings from the NHS Support Federation, Rachael Maskell, Unite head of health, said: “The British public will not be deceived by Jeremy Hunt and David Cameron’s promises that the NHS is safe in their hands. Today we have proof that the government is flogging off great chunks of the NHS to profit hungry businesses.”
“The findings are truly shocking; we are witnessing an explosion in the sell-off of the NHS in one short year with a massive 70 per cent of NHS contracts shifting to private hands and the number of contracts up for tender rising to 30 per cent.
“At this rate, what will be left of the NHS by the next general election? That is why Unite is launching the community campaign to save it.
David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt have to respond and explain to the public how he can justify diverting precious NHS resources away from patient care when the NHS is facing a £30 billion funding gap over the next four years.”
According to the NHS Support Federation findings 500 NHS contracts, worth £13.5 billion and covering 77 different types of care and treatment up from 44 a year before were advertised by NHS bodies in the last 12 months.
For more information please contact, Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774 146777
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey