The size and scale of the NHS demolition project is slowly coming into view.
Every Primary Care Trust is now putting three services out to tender. In April 2013, the National Commissioning Board will sell off 912 specialist services (or “products” as they are referred to in government reports). By October 2013 a further three chunks of the NHS will go to the private sector.
In total the Financial Times estimates contracts worth a staggering £20 billion (or 20% of the NHS) will be in the hands of private contractors in the next few years.
The Tories have decreed that PCTs must have completed the privatisation of three services each by the end of September. They have been selected by the government as the easiest services to privatise. They include:
* Musculo-skeletal services for back and neck pain
* Adult hearing
* Continence services
* Diagnostic tests
* Wheelchair services for children
* Podiatry services
* Venous leg ulcers and wound healing
* Primary Care Psychological Therapies for adults
In 13 months time, Clinical Commissioning Groups (the replacement of PCTs) will have to sell off a further three services. They must choose from the following list:
* Maternity services
* Speech and Language Therapy
* Long Term Conditions
* Community Chemotherapy
* Primary Care Psychological Therapies for children and adolescents
* Wheelchair services for adults
Clinical Commissioning Groups will decide who gets which contracts. Private health firms that have managed to infiltrate the boards of CCGs, like Virgin Care, are likely to win many contracts.
But perhaps the most shocking news is that from April 2013 the National Commissioning Board will be selling off specialist services for rare and uncommon conditions. These services involve just a fraction of the population and are based at national or regional centres. There are 88 services in total that have been identified and including:
* Radiotherapy services
* Blood and Marrow Transplant services
* Fetal Medicine Services
* Gender Identity Disorder Services
* Adult Secure Mental Health Services
These 88 services are the elite core of the NHS.
Sixty-six years of the National Health Service has produced these highly specialised units which have evolved to ensure that the promise of comprehensive care extended to people with the most complex needs. Losing these services from the NHS will mean losing the brightest minds and most skilled clinicians.
At the same time as this is happening the NHS is facing long-term cuts of £50 billion. The private sector will not only be moving in to provide core clinical services on the NHS but will also be poised to capitalise on a booming private health insurance market.
As waiting lists for NHS services increase and standards fall, more and more middle class people will start to pay for better quality care.
The NHS is being reduced to a rump service. We must mobilise to keep the NHS public.
Lobby Labour Party Conference to demand they rebuild the NHS!
Sunday 30 September, 2.30pm, Peter Street, Manchester
Transport from London: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sponsors include: Unite the Union, Merseyside Association of Trades Councils, Liverpool Wavertree CLP, Wirral South CLP, Broxtowe CLP, London KONP, LRC