Gov’t awards £35m privatised NHS contracts in six weeks, £178m out to tender
Germany’s EU minister, Michael Roth, told an audience in Berlin: “Brexit is a big shitshow.” And whilst Roth is absolutely right, one problem with Brexit is the stuff going on behind everyone’s back that is not being reported by the mainstream media. One of those stories last week was that the government had sneaked through a 15 per cent funding cut to the fire brigade and rescue services, which represents a 45 per cent cut since the Tories came to office.
Here we see another story about what is going on in the background. Welfare Weekly reports that the government have awarded £35 million of privatised contracts in just the last six weeks with a further £127 million out to tender.
In the meantime, another story we are about to report on is that the British Medical Journal has recently stated that underfunding has ‘now reached a critical point’ for the NHS. The General Medical Council confirmed the same and stated – “it is the most critical juncture in the history of the NHS.” Doctors are leaving in droves – and it isn’t just those from the EU that are leaving, there’s another reason.
By Steven Preece – Labour has warned that the UK Government’s agenda of privatising the NHS has come one step closer after the Tories tendered £35 MILLION in new contracts to private companies in just SIX weeks.
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Labour has slammed the Health Secretary after it emerged the Tories have tendered 19 new NHS contracts since mid-February.
Further analysis undertaken for Labour reveals that a total of 21 NHS contracts, worth a staggering £127 million, are currently out to tender, including a £91 million contract to run an NHS 111/Clinical Assessment Service in the South East of England.
On 19 February 2019, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, demanded the Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP block private companies from securing 26 NHS contracts worth over £128 million, in spite of his apparent insistence that “there would be no privatisation of the NHS under my watch.”
Mr Ashworth will today accuse the Health Secretary of breaking his promise and demand that he prioritises ending privatisation of the NHS by keeping these contracts in public hands.
The 2012 Health and Social Care Act obliges NHS CCGs in England to tender out any contract worth over £615,278.
Labour claim this has led to a huge increase in the number of NHS contracts awarded to profit-driven firms such as Virgin Care.
In 2017/18, £8.8bn of the health service budget went to private sector contractors, an 50% increase compared with 2009/10.
Labour say the Health Secretary previously endorsed Access MyDentist, a private firm profiting from patients who cannot access an NHS dentist due to cuts.
And in November 2018, Justin Madders MP, Labour’s former Shadow Health Minister, expressed concerns that the Secretary of State may have breached the Ministerial Code by endorsing Babylon, a private healthcare company, in a paid-for-newspaper supplement.
Earlier this week NHS England threatened to sue Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust for libel, for raising concerns that privatising a key element of cancer treatment would endanger patients’ health.
Speaking today at the Health Campaigns Together Annual General Meeting, Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary, will say: “Since the Tories’ wasteful reorganisation of the NHS we’ve seen privatisation after privatisation of NHS services, breaking up integrated care, costing the taxpayer and leaving a poor quality service for patients.
“Labour will bring an end to this profiteering in our NHS and restore our health service to public hands.
“Tory privatisation will be killed stone dead under a Labour government and we’ll bring forward the necessary legislation to reverse the Health and Social Care Act and reinstate a publicly provided NHS in our first Queen’s Speech.
“A few weeks ago the Health Secretary told MPs there would be no privatisation on his watch and yet we’ve seen cancer PET-CT scanning services in Oxford privatised, and today we’re revealing another £36 million worth of contracts put out to tender in the last few weeks.
“Rather than focusing on his own personal manoeuvrings for the Tory leadership, Mr Hancock should be true to his word and now block these latest NHS privatisation proposals.”
Labour has pledged to reverse privatisation of the NHS and return the health service into public control, and repeal the Health and Social Care Act which they say “puts profits before patients”.