MPs urged to support NHS bill that stems tide of priva...

MPs urged to support NHS bill that stems tide of privatisation

01 March 2016

Unite, the country’s largest union, is calling on its 100,000 members in the health service to urge their MPs to support a parliamentary bill to restore public accountability to the running of the NHS.

Unite is angry that since the Health and Social Care Act 2012 the public service ethos of the service has been continually eroded leading to increasing privatisation of the NHS for the benefit of profit-hungry private healthcare companies.

The National Health Service bill 2015-2016 aims to roll back the privatisation tide and restore the government’s legal duty to provide health services in England, currently outsourced to such unaccountable entities as NHS England and Public Health England. 

The bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday 11 March and Unite members will be urging MPs to support the bill that will restore the NHS as an accountable public service; reverse 25 years of marketisation in the NHS; and abolish the purchaser-provider split.

Members are also being asked to sign the 38 Degrees NHS Service bill petition.

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “As the public becomes more aware of what is happening to their NHS, with more sections of it being hived off to private healthcare companies, now is the ideal time for MPs to draw a line in the sand and support the bill at its second reading.

“For more than 25 years the NHS has been gradually undermined as a public service, with laws brought in to allow more and more of it to be outsourced to private profit-making companies.

“This culminated in the 2012 Act which saw the break-up of national needs-based patient care in England and replaced it with a competitive market model where groups of GPs in clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are obliged to put health services out to tender.

“Billions of pounds are spent on these market ‘transaction costs’ which are then not available for frontline care. This contributes to the NHS funding crisis with hospitals, mental health and community services in deficit with insufficient resources to provide the services that are needed.

“This neo-liberal ideology of ‘profits before patients’ must be stopped before the NHS based on each person’s need free at the point of delivery disappears for ever.”


Notes to editors: 

Summary of the National Health Service Bill 2015-16

To re-establish the Secretary of State’s legal duty as to the National Health Service in England and to make provision about the other duties of the Secretary of State in that regard; to make provision about the administration and accountability of the National Health Service in England; to repeal section 1 of the National Health Service (Private Finance) Act 1997 and sections 38 and 39 of the Immigration Act 2014; to make provision about the application of international law in relation to health services in the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes. 

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Email: 

  • 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.