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

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