Amicus the Union

Amicus the Union

March 01, 2007 06:11 ET

Amicus warn privatisation of NHS harms patient care

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - March 01, 2007) - Amicus members from all over the UK will be out in force on Saturday 3rd March to demonstrate against the impact of untried and untested reform, cuts due to budget deficits and the rush to privatise the NHS.

As thousands of Amicus members protest at rallies up and down the country as part of the NHS Together National Day of Action, Amicus is warning the government that their continued drive to use private companies to run parts of the NHS will result in a worse service for patients at increasing costs to the taxpayer.

Amicus health members are angry at the scale of privatisation in the NHS. Private sector firms will take Pounds Sterling 23 billion in the next 30 years from PFI hospital buildings. The first wave of contracting out medical procedures has cost Pounds Sterling 2.5billion despite serious doubts that all of the procedures paid for will be carried out. This is in addition to the more than Pounds Sterling 500million spent on private consultancy firms by the NHS. This amount will increase as private firms are awarded contracts to 'commission' health services in local areas, and also take on the direct provision of a wider range of services.

Amicus' Head of Health, Kevin Coyne said: "People want their taxes to be spent on the NHS - not on making healthy profits for private companies that have been brought into provide services."

The union says that there is no evidence that privatisation is improving services or providing an efficient use of public money. It also says that as well as costing many millions of pounds the involvement of the private sector in public services is compromising public accountability.

The union also fears that as privatisation continues a pace thousands of experienced and committed NHS staff will leave the health service rather than work for companies whose purpose is to make a profit.

Amicus also believe that the fragmentation of services resulting from 'contracting out' is causing a dangerous fragmentation of healthcare services.

"The NHS with all its faults is a cohesive force with shared goals, we fear that if the government continues to privatise, services will become fragmented and patients will lose out. This is not why staff joined the NHS, they are there because they care about patients, not profits," added Kevin Coyne.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. NHS together national day of action is being organised by a campaign alliance of 16 health service unions and staff associations with the TUC.

2) NHS Together consists of Amicus; British Dietetic Association; British Orthoptic Society; British Medical Association; Community and District Nursing Association; Chartered Society of Physiotherapy; GMB; Hospital Consultants' and Specialists' Association; Managers in Partnership; Royal College of Midwives; Royal College of Nursing; The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists; Society of Radiographers; TGWU; TUC; Unison.

3) For a full list of NHS Together events see: www.tuc.org.uk/nhstogether


4) Amicus has launched a Valuing Public Services campaign which is available on Amicus' website. http://www.amicustheunion.org

Contact Information

  • Amicus' Head of Health
    Kevin Coyne
    07798 531006
    or
    Amicus press office
    Ashraf Choudhury
    020 7420 8914 or 07980 224761