[13 December 2016]
Keep Our NHS Public welcomes the steps taken by the Secretary of State for Health over changes to the way investigations are carried out after an NHS patient dies. But we have to ask: where are the private hospitals in this grand new scheme? And why aren’t they being held to the same standard, Mr Hunt?
We know private health companies also make tragic mistakes . But these cases come to light even less often than those happening in the NHS. And there are no plans to hold them to the same standards outlined by the SoS today in Parliament. Yet more and more NHS contracts are being handed out to private health organisations, often despite their being a better and cheaper NHS provider, thanks to the disgraceful and unfair obligations for competitive tendering created under the Health and Social Care Act.
Dr Jacky Davis, a consultant radiologist and member of Keep Our NHS Public’s national executive, said:
“There is no clarity for private health firms around their costs, their profits and their outcomes: not even parliament can uncover them due to ‘commercial confidentiality’. “
Campaigns Manager for Keep Our NHS Public, Alan Taman, added:
“The measures proposed today seem to be a unified, coordinated national approach to this problem the NHS faces: the horrendous situation of a patient dying needlessly. Which seeks to address the shortcomings shown by NHS trusts.
“But when is Mr Hunt going to make the scales even? Who weighs up the private firms? How are they held to account by the public? Unless this is done, urgently, the NHS will – yet again – be compared as ‘worse than the private sector’; and the private sector, as so often happens, gets to make up its own rules as it goes along, with little or no accountability to the public. Or is that a hidden benefit Mr Hunt desires?”
Keep Our NHS Public was formed in 2005 and has a broad-based, public membership. There are over 35 local groups, plus a national association. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation [4,5] and privatisation of the NHS by campaigning for a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS, available to all on the basis of clinical need. It is opposed to cuts in service which run counter to these principles. Further details: www.keepournhspublic.com
KONP’s Campaigns and Press Officer is Alan Taman:
07870 757 309
 Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press.
Leys, C. and Player, S. (2011) The Plot Against the NHS. Pontypool: Merlin
Lister, J. (2008) The NHS After 60: For Patients or Profits? London: Middlesex University Press
Owen, D. (2014) The Health of the Nation: The NHS in Peril. York: Methuen, Chapter 4.
Player, S. (2013) ‘Ready for market’. In NHS SOS ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. London: Oneworld, pp.38-61.
 The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models
[Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press. Chapters 2 and 8.
Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon.
Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. Oneworld: London, 174.]