NHS privatisation: Nearly 3 quarters of people are worried for the future of our health service

The new Health and Care Bill would allow private companies to sit on bodies that decide how NHS money is spent

New polling shows that an overwhelming majority of people are concerned about the privatisation of NHS services.

34 percent of people are very worried about privatisation of NHS services, while a further 37 percent are somewhat worried, according to data obtained by Left Foot Forward from Savanta.

It means that almost three quarters (71 percent) of respondents are at least a bit concerned about privatisation.

Unless it is amended, the Health and Care Bill, which has been dubbed the Corporate Takeover Bill, would allow private companies to sit on bodies that decide how NHS money is spent.

Under the Bill, Contracts could also be given to companies without any transparency or accountability.

The polling also found that the 55-64 age bracket have the highest percentage of all in the very worried category at 48 percent.

When it comes to political parties, the Green Party are by far the most worried according to a 2019 vote.

62 percent of Green supporters are very worried while 19 percent are somewhat worried.

Behind Greens, Plaid Cymru are the next most worried, with 59 percent in the very worried category, and then it’s Labour with 52 percent in that category. 

The Conservative Party saw the lowest percentage of respondents fall into the very concerned camp, at 27 percent.

Right now, the government is scrapping requirements for competition while allowing private companies to win NHS work.

We Own It conducted their own survey recently, finding that 60 percent of people believe legislation needs to be specifically amended to ensure the NHS is the default provider.

7 out of 10 people are concerned that the new Bill will mean NHS contracts being handed out to private companies without adequate scrutiny. This includes 70 percent of Conservative voters and 82 percent of Labour voters. 

Cat Hobbs, director of We Own It said: “People are rightly worried about this government privatising our NHS. 

“More than £96 billion of NHS funding has gone to non NHS providers in the last decade, and the government has used the pandemic as an excuse to give crony contracts to their mates. 

“Now they’re opening up our NHS further with the Health and Care Bill – aka the Corporate Takeover Bill. They’re giving private companies a say over NHS spending and care and reducing accountability around private contracts. 

“Three out of four of us want the NHS to be reinstated as a fully public service as we come out of the pandemic. We won’t stop worrying – or campaigning – until that happens!”

We Own It is currently running a petition to push back against privatisation, which you can sign here.

Lucy Skoulding is a journalist and human rights masters student. You can follow her on Twitter here.

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