The NHS has agreed the largest ever privatisation of its services in a deal worth up to £780m. which is intended to help hospitals tackle the growing backlogs of patients waiting for surgery and tests.
The Mirror reports: Jeremy Hunt’s claims that the NHS is not for sale lay in tatters last night after he signed the largest privatisation deal in history.
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The Health Secretary, who has repeatedly denied health services are being siphoned off to private firms under this Government, faced furious reactions as the £780million deal was revealed.
The sales to a total of 11 private firms, some with dubious records, are intended to help hospitals tackle the backlog of patients waiting for surgery and tests.
Heart, joint and a variety of operations will be carried out, as well as scans, X-rays and other diagnostic tests. Under the deal struck by the NHS Supply Chain, many services will be provided in mobile units, rather than hospitals.
The news was met by anger, not least because three of the 11 profit-driven firms have previously been slammed for providing poor quality of care.
Vanguard faces legal action over a series of eye operations carried out in 2014 at Musgrove Park Hospital in Somerset. The hospital terminated its contract with Vanguard after just four days as a result of problems.
Circle – which pulled out of running Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridgeshire – is in line to share up to £240million for providing imaging services, such as scans and X-rays. It will also provide services within operating theatres.
And Care UK was previously slammed by the CQC for the quality of care at two nursing homes it runs in Suffolk.
Doctors, anti-privatisation campaigners and unions today said they were outraged by the scale of the contract handed to the private firms.
And they warned the move would be “detrimental” to patient care.
Barrie Brown, national officer for health at union Unite, said: “This is further evidence of the helter-skelter rush to privatise the NHS.
“Great swathes of the NHS are being gobbled up by these 11 private companies, hungry for profit. It will further fragment services and be detrimental to patient care.