Labour Party proposals to curtail the outsourcing of key public services to private providers are the latest sign that the tide may be turning against privatisation. The plans would put a stop to the prevalent awarding of large public contracts to private healthcare providers, which has been responsible for deteriorating patient care and ballooning costs to the public purse. The news is welcome to the many health campaigners who have taken aim at the steady increase in private involvement in NHS services in recent decades, a policy sustained and escalated by successive governments despite its demonstrably harmful effects on patients and health workers. Nonetheless, much more remains to be done in ensuring the full reinstatement of an NHS which is publicly owned and free to all.
Journalist Michael Savage writes:
"Private companies will be banned by a Labour government from running services that deal with vulnerable people and their rights, under a far-reaching plan to restrict outsourcing.
The party has drawn up the plan in response to what it describes as a series of 'outsourcing disasters' involving services handed to private firms – from testing for sickness benefits to the operation of some NHS cancer services.
Under the plan, contracts that deal with people deemed to be 'at risk', and contracts that infringe on human rights or entail the use of 'coercive powers' can not be outsourced. People 'at risk' are defined as those who rely on state protection, be they prisoners, hospital patients or benefits recipients. The new rules would kick in when current service contracts expire or are terminated."
The full story can be read on the Guardian website.