Richard Branson.

This is a blow against the Tories’ plans for private companies to take over the whole of the National Health Service, piecemeal.

If it is allowed to stand after appeal, expect legislation or regulation to make it impossible for such a block to happen again.

The Tories will still claim they don’t have any interest in privatising healthcare in the UK.

But we must judge them by their actions, not their words.

A High Court ruling blocked Richard Branson’s Virgin Care from taking over children’s services in Lancashire. That’s because of the “considerable cost and disruption” it would cause the NHS.

Last year Virgin Care won a contract to privatise the county’s 0-19 Healthy Child Programme. The current provider of the service, Lancashire Care and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has delivered a successful legal challenge. In a victory for supporters of a public NHS, Justice Peter Fraser has suspended the outsourcing of the service to for-profit Virgin Care.

The legal challenge has overcome multiple hurdles. Conservative-led Lancashire County Council attemptedto lift the suspension with a claim the services would be left unmanned if Virgin Care didn’t take over. But Fraser rejected the application because the council actually has the power to extend the current contract.

Still, one more hurdle remains: Virgin Care will attempt to overthrow the challenge in April.

Source: The NHS finally catches a break as a High Court ruling raises the middle finger to Richard Branson | The Canary


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