The campaign against a secretive NHS sell-off is growing

The government is still trying to privatise NHS Professionals, and the opposition needs your support.

Despite mounting public opposition, the government is still ploughing on with the privatisation of a key part of the NHS.

NHS Professionals – an in-house emergency staffing agency that provides over 90,000 doctors and other healthcare workers for around 60 NHS trusts in England – is set to be sold off in the Autumn, flying in the face of public pressure.

In recent weeks, 75 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion opposing the sale and a petition against the sell-off with 16,000 signatures was delivered to the Department of Health this morning.

This is on top of the overall view of the general public, 84 per cent of whom wish the NHS to remain publicly owned.

As well as flying in the face of public opinion, the government has been conducting the sale of NHS Professionals in secret, refusing to answer questions in parliament.

Health minister Philip Dunne dodged questioning about the sale, saying it was a ‘confidential commercial negotiation’.

The Government’s plan to plough ahead with the sale of NHS Professionals is deeply disappointing. We know that private companies involved in the public sector suck resources out of the system, and have often been guilty of dangerous corner-cutting.

Caroline Lucas MP, who pressed Dunne in parliament on the issue, said.

NHS professionals saves the health service around £70m a year by supplying staff more cheaply than private agencies.

The NHS already spends nearly £4bn a year on agency staff and the government admits there’s been an “explosion” in the cost. In 2015-16 agency fees were £1.4bn higher than expected. 

The logic in this privatisation, therefore, is clearly lacking.

Plans to sell-off NHS Professionals were shelved in 2010 and again in 2014. Campaigners say the plans can be halted once more.

Along with the Early Day Motion and petition, 7000 members of the public have written to their MP expressing opposition to the plans.

The behind-closed-doors privatisation of a key NHS service would set a dangerous precedent. But it’s not too late to act.

Sign the We Own It petition here; contact your MP demanding they sign the Early Day Motion; and email those in government responsible for the sale here

25 Responses to “The campaign against a secretive NHS sell-off is growing”

  1. Carolyn Munro

    DO NOT sell off NHS Professionals.
    There is no logic or reason for it, unless it is the Conservatives way of dismantling the NHS to privatise it.
    We are watching and will be voting.

  2. Gabriella Lugaro

    Please stop privatising the NHS. It makes no financial sense.

  3. Blade Runner

    I dread to think where our NHS will be before the next general election…

  4. Jacqueline bertrand

    Our contribution to the world is the beautiful NHS.said by me for the first time today.

  5. Andrew Local

    Private hands off! You can’t sell off something you gave no rights to and you can’t replace diamonds with coal.

  6. Heather de la Croix

    This is so illogical it beggars belief

  7. Angela Peace

    This sale is utterly mad. The group is being sold off for the sake of selling not for financial gain. The NHS is being broken up. No government has the right to do this. The NHS belongs to the British people, not to any government.

  8. Anne Stanford

    The Nhs professionals should not be privatised. Come on David Rutley sign the early day motion

  9. Margaret atkins

    Campaign against a secret sell off of the NHS

  10. David Kay

    I really don’t understand why the government is attacking essential services ! I don’t understand why they are brutally assaulting the poor . This is mean and selfish .
    If they only had eyes to see the effects of their actions . If only they had an ounce of compassion , maybe the world would be a better place

  11. Barbara Wickham

    Worrying times. Many people my age 64 have health problems and I personally would like to see these matters as front page news in the press and top priority on the news channels. So many people do not have access and do not use the Internet. So many older people have voted for the Conservatives without realising the implications of their secret dealings!

  12. Paul O'Kell

    The NHS should not be privatised. Privatization leads to unnecessary deaths due money being diverted away from patient care into profit.

  13. patrick newman

    It is more than awarding contracts to private health providers. The whole competitive tendering process is a complete waste of time time, resources and money. For example the Cambridge and Peterborough multi-million pound contract for elderly services proved unsustainable but it cost the NHS a million pounds just to tender it last year. CCG’s are frankly incapable to manaing large commercial contracts. I am concerned that the health team under Ashworth are making litttle impact on the whole run of NHS issues. They need to shape up PDQ!

  14. patrick newman

    Here is another example hot off the press which would have cost the NHS hundreds of thousands. “A tender worth half a billion pounds for end of life care services in Staffordshire has been abandoned due to the development of the area’s STP and difficulties, satisfying the new national scrutiny process, HSJ has learned.”

  15. Philmo

    I’m pleased to read the headline and would gladly support it.
    Am gobsmacked, however by recent claims that there are 86,000 vacancies! Just think what a mess there’d be with that many more paycheques to fund! (Though I suspect many of the 86,00 are roles filled by temporary “bank” staff.)
    There is no doubt in my mind, however, that the NHS could be a much leaner, goal orientated and communicative operation, rather than the process hidebound behemoth it is.
    Bring back Sir Gerry Robinson!

  16. Robert Wilkinson

    Agency staff are paid more than twice what normal nurses are (the cost to the tax payer must be more than twice as much to pay for the bureaucracy of the agency and the salaries of their non-clinical staff), and hence many nurses are tempted to work as agency staff in neighbouring Health Trusts to their own.

    The NHS should increase the pay of regular nurses and curb the use of agencies. Much of the “staff shortages” are artificial and could be ameliorated by paying nurses better and reducing the money spent on agencies.

  17. Philmo

    Having supported the headline, I have to confess to have benefitted from an outstanding outcome (my NHS optician’s words) following cataract ops on both eyes, executed by a Canadian business contracted with NHS.
    What really rankled was that most of the staff were “bank” staff, who normally would work directly for NHS.
    Why is it beyond the whit of NHS to set up teams, if necessary in similar leased premises, to address such routine high demands in certain specialisms and save the undoubtedly high profit flowing offshore from UK, milking the NHS of much needed funds?
    Why do NHS trusts find it irresistible to roll-over and kow-tow to Jeremy Hunt’s greedy private profit ideology?

  18. David Swain

    On the aniversary of Clem Atlee’s landslide, which created our NHS we must do something to prevent the tories stealing it. Our NHS was set up with OUR money, and it is OUR NHS. We cannot stand by while the tories steal it for their own ends.
    .

  19. Lawman

    I can only endorse previous comments.

    The sale of NHS Professionals should be stopped. If appropriate, Labour should announce now that we shall buy it back at the same cost minus any money stripped out by the buyer.

    More generally, the involvement of the private sector in the NHS should be reviewed. Unless there is demonstrable benefit, it should be stopped and reversed.

    This is one example of the hard line policy of the Conservative government. There will be much work to do after the next election.

  20. Eileen

    I have paid into the NHS for over 50 years as do all the people in the UK
    The NHS is ours and not the governments to sell. We want Labour to stop the privatisation and take back our NHS when they are voted in.

  21. Grazyna Bonati

    I can only endorse previous comments.

    The sale of NHS Professionals should be stopped. If appropriate, Labour should announce now that we shall buy it back at the same cost minus any money stripped out by the buyer.

    More generally, the involvement of the private sector in the NHS should be reviewed. Unless there is demonstrable benefit, it should be stopped and reversed.

    This is one example of the hard line policy of the Conservative government. There will be much work to do after the next election.

    The NHS is not theirs to sell! How dare they do this and in such an underhand way?

  22. patrick newman

    As Labour is genuinely in the position as a government in waiting it could credibily make hardline threats to private companies thinking of bidding for NHS contracts – early termination, limited or no compensation, punitive penalties where failure is found!

  23. Geoff Cox

    I don’t want my future health and well being sold to a private company

  24. Pauline

    The NHS is not the government’s to sell. It belongs to the people of this country!

  25. George

    This is an act from a government who only have their own and their private sectors pals interest at heart .the NHS is not theirs to give away

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