A service but not a business


It’s important to remember that the NHS is a service not a business.

Private companies inevitably put shareholders interests before the interests of their patients. Recent revelations about price fixing drug companies illustrate that only too well. Private profit making companies are bought and sold so the public may have little idea who actually controls them. The NHS blood plasma service is being passed over to a company controlled by an American hedge fund. Three of the GP centres in Calderdale: Ovenden, Elland and Sowerby Bridge are actually run by Virgin as is Calderdale’s dermatology service. At these GP centres there is nothing to tell you that Virgin Care are being paid to run them, taking much needed money out of the NHS. Large companies like Serco and Virgin can bid for profitable services leaving complex surgery, chronic illness and emergency services to the NHS. Plus it’s the NHS that has trained most of the nurses and doctors employed by private companies. Additionally, the NHS is required to make impossible ‘ savings’. Allowing NHS hospitals to treat up to 49 out of every 100 patients privately is NOT a solution. Some believe that it is better to have more choice of health care provision but beware; many private companies are floundering in the new health market. Remember what happened in the care sector when Southern Cross collapsed.There are many recent examples of private companies making promises they cannot fulfil eg G4S, rescued at the Olympics by the army. We, the public, need to ask hard questions about what is happening to our NHS. Private companies siphon off money essential for a good NHS service.If we don’t wake up to what is happening we will find ourselves sleepwalking into American style health provision.

Jill Osman

Cragg Vale,

Hebden Bridge