Tag Archives: privatisation

Reactions to NHS privatisation Bill scream how bad it is. No comment from Starmer though

Masked like a bandit, not to protect others: it seems Keir Starmer is funded by a private donor who profits from illness and injury and cannot be trusted to safeguard our NHS.

What a strange man Keir Starmer is. His name was on Labour’s amendment calling for the Health and Care Bill to go no further towards becoming an Act of Parliament – but, after it failed, he has nothing to say against the legislation.

This Writer has waited more than 24 hours for Starmer’s considered response to the progress of a Bill that will seriously harm the UK’s greatest institution – and his party’s greatest achievement. Not a dicky bird.

He seems to be almost entirely alone, though. Labour’s MPs had a ‘form’ tweet to send out:

Others had more to say:

The Open Democracy article states that, considering the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has two choices: it can either support the NHS to meet its legal obligations to provide us with the healthcare we need for the years ahead – or it can reduce those obligations; reduce our rights to access healthcare.

It says the Health and Care Bill proposes reducing the government’s obligations to secure NHS care for us all, further than the Tories have gone already – and cutting our ability to get that care. This fits with the conclusions previously put forward by This Site.

Labour’s Jon Trickett highlighted something the Bill doesn’t address:

Well, I did say the Bill would not make it possible to employ a single extra nurse or treat a single extra patient. Perhaps I should have emphasized that medical staff who are already employed by the NHS would find it hard to survive on the meagre pay it provides in the future.

Trickett makes other good points:

Of course, Jeremy Corbyn warned us about the Tory threat to the NHS in the run-up to the 2019 general election, as Cornish Damo reminds us:

How curious that Keir Starmer hasn’t thought to remind anybody of that!

Perhaps he’d rather not be associated with anything said by his immediate forerunner – even though Mr Corbyn was right.

Then again, perhaps there’s a more vulgar explanation:

Is this the answer, then?

Will access to the National Health Service in England be restricted by the Tories – at the demand of their paymasters in private industries that profit from illness and injury – with only token opposition from Labour because Starmer’s paymasters are also in private industries that profit from illness and injury?

Is that why we haven’t heard a word from him about it?

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Law to put private companies at the centre of the NHS passes second reading. Where are the news reports?

Backhander: the new Health and Care Bill will apparently allow private companies to take your tax money – intended to support the NHS – and then use “commercial confidentiality” laws to hide how they spend it.

What a blackout.

The Health and Care Bill – a planned law by the Conservative government that aims to put private, profit-making businesses at the centre of the English NHS – passed by a huge majority just after 7pm today (July 14).

At the time of writing – more than two and a half hours later – I found only one news report about it, in Scottish website The National.

Where’s your report, BBC? Where’s yours, ITV, Channel 4, Sky News? How about you, The GuardianThe Mirror? Anyone else at all?

During the debate, health minister Edward Argar admitted that the Bill would lead to increased private influence in the NHS – but tried to sugar-coat it.

“We are determined to embrace innovative potential wherever we find it,” he said.

Let’s consider what he calls “innovative potential”:

The Bill will break the NHS in England into 42 separate ‘Integrated Care Systems’ (ICS), each with its own – tight – budget that could lead to cuts in care.

These new organisations would be open to the private sector – and the removal of competitive tendering means contracts could be handed straight to asset-stripping profiteers.

Already, 200 firms are connected to the new ICS structure, including at least 30 US-based health insurance companies.

Companies could be given access to confidential patient information, more patient care will be given by less qualified staff who are cheaper, and non-urgent referrals to hospital delayed or refused because of pressure to make savings.

A drive towards cash-saving digital services means face-to-face GP appointments may end.

The long-awaited overhaul of the care system may end up being a demand on already-overworked family carers to take on more unpaid work as unprofitable community services are stripped away altogether.

National agreements on pay, terms and conditions for NHS staff may be swept away with employees ordered to work wherever private-sector employers find it easiest to make a profit – undermining team working, union organisation and continuity of care.

The much-anticipated return of responsibility to the Secretary of State means a politician will be able to make devastating decisions about the NHS without any democratic accountability.

The Health Secretary will be able to deregulate jobs – offering them to candidates who don’t have the right qualifications but are available for the right price, risking harm to patients and interfering with professional judgement and staff development.

The NHS will be exempt from the Public Contract Regulations 2015, meaning it will be impossible to reject bids for contracts on the grounds of non-compliance with environmental, social, or labour laws guaranteeing Freedom of Association and the Right to Strike, or on the basis of a bidder’s previous history.

The Health Secretary will also impose local service reconfigurations, weakening or abolishing the right and power local authorities currently have to scrutinise significant health changes.

The Bill will not treat a single extra patient, nor will it recruit even one more nurse.

That is exactly what I told my Conservative MP, Fay Jones, when I wrote asking her to speak against the Bill, and to vote against it. Of course, she did neither. She’s a Tory drone.

Fortunately, some others had the courage to stand up for their constituents who would be affected (including those in Scotland and Wales, of course).

Dr Philippa Whitford, SNP health spokesperson, said the Bill could mean private companies will be able to take public cash and not have to publish accounts of how it is used.

“It is hard to see this as anything other than a blatant conflict of interest,” she said. “Private companies hide behind commercial confidentiality and don’t publish accounts of how they spend public money.”

Labour’s Zarah Sultana said the Bill “will put on steroids the cronyism we’ve seen in this pandemic, where Tory mates and donors having handed billions of pounds in dodgy Covid Government contracts, and it will implement a healthcare model that incentivises cuts and closures, rationing funding to health boards. This dangerous Bill is another step to privatisation.”

But they were rare voices of reason among the bleating of almost 360 Tory sheep.

A Labour amendment to deny the Bill its second reading was voted down by 359 votes to 218, and the Bill passed to the committee stage of the legislative process by 356 votes to 219.

It seems Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid want to pass this Bill into law before the end of the current Parliamentary session on July 22. With this kind of complicity from their party faithful on the Green Benches, they seem certain to succeed.

And with an apparent news blackout on coverage of this crisis for publicly-provided health care, it seems the NHS will pass into the hands of the asset strippers before most of us even know it could.

Source: Health and Care Bill: NHS ‘takeover’ legislation passes second reading | The National

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NHS privatisation Bill is in Parliament TOMORROW. Will your MP represent your wishes?

Smug asset-stripper: Sajid Javid is a banker who helped cause the financial crisis of 2007/8 onwards. He knows nothing about healthcare and intends to hand it over to private firms who consider your well-being to be nothing more than an opportunity to make a profit.

The misnamed Health and Care Bill (it will improve neither) will be put before the 360 rubber-stamping Tory drones in the House of Commons tomorrow (July 14) – and they will pass it without thinking, unless you do something about it. Can you be bothered?

This Site has warned of the dangers presented by the Bill in this article. If you haven’t read it, please do.

Labour’s Richard Burgon puts the important points across here:

He’s one of the few Labour MPs willing to speak up against the Bill. Keir Starmer and his shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth are all for it, because they are New Labour creeps and it follows on from the privatisation that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown introduced to the National Health Service between 1997-2010.

This video explains the issues in more detail:

Ah, but it’s 20 minutes long. Are you sure you’ve got time to watch it? Maybe you have a TV soap you want to see, or a video game you want to play. Perhaps you’re cooking some munch or you’d rather go to the pub?

It would be better for you if you just stop and think for a moment.

Think of the 150,000+ (possibly many thousands more) people who have died because Boris Johnson and his Tories couldn’t be bothered to prepare the NHS for a pandemic emergency. Instead they defunded it and sold off the vital equipment that we needed.

Think of the fact that the Health and Care Bill will allow private companies onto the boards of new local NHS organisations. They will profit by denying care to people who desperately need it – just as care was denied to people with Covid-19.

Think of what might happen if you become infected with a serious life-changing disease or suffer a life-changing injury. Yes, I know you’ve paid for the NHS with your taxes but that won’t make a blind bit of difference – all that tax money will be going into the bank accounts of US insurance firms like United Health rather than into medical treatment.

When you’ve thought of all that, perhaps it will be time to get in touch with your MP and tell them to vote against this horrific plan.

Oh, you don’t know how? It’s very simple. All the details are on this handy website.

You need to get on top of this before your MP puts you six feet under.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Why isn’t Labour SCREAMING about the new Bill to increase NHS privatisation?

From what Keir Starmer isn’t saying, should we now conclude that he supports the Tory plan for NHS privatisation?

The response? Silence.

Oh – Starmer posted a couple of “happy birthday” message son the NHS’s 73rd anniversary, back on July 5.

You can read about the government’s plan here.

Meanwhile, what’s going on in the NHS at the moment?

How about Covid-19. How’s that going?

Uh-huh!

Okay, well maybe it’s not the right time yet. Has any other left-wing leader said anything?

Okay, he’s not the Unite general secretary yet but at least he’s saying something!

So why is Starmer so quiet?

The only logical conclusion is that he supports the pro-privatisation plans within the Health and Care Bill.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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The great #HealthAndCareBill LIE: it’s opening the way for MORE privatisation, not less

Not for sale: sadly, this is just an aspiration now – held by those of us who still think healthcare should be based on patient need and not on provider profit.

Services will be cut or rationed and the NHS will become an unregulated market for healthcare firms under Sajid Javid’s contradictorily-named Health and Care Bill which – if enacted – will support neither.

That’s the message from Keep Our NHS Public campaigners.

The Bill will break the NHS into 42 separate ‘Integrated Care Systems’ (ICS), each with its own – tight – budget that could lead to cuts in care.

These new organisations would be open to the private sector – and the removal of competitive tendering means contracts could be handed straight to asset-stripping profiteers.

Already, 200 firms are connected to the new ICS structure, including at least 30 US-based health insurance companies.

Companies could be given access to confidential patient information, more patient care will be given by less qualified staff who are cheaper, and non-urgent referrals to hospital delayed or refused because of pressure to make savings.

A drive towards cash-saving digital services means face-to-face GP appointments may end.

The long-awaited overhaul of the care system may end up being a demand on already-overworked family carers to take on more unpaid work as unprofitable community services are stripped away altogether.

National agreements on pay, terms and conditions for NHS staff may be swept away with employees ordered to work wherever private-sector employers find it easiest to make a profit – undermining team working, union organisation and continuity of care.

Oh, and you remember the much-anticipated return of responsibility to the Secretary of State? It means a politician will be able to make devastating decisions about the NHS without any democratic accountability.

The Health Secretary will be able to deregulate jobs – offering them to candidates who don’t have the right qualifications but are available for the right price, risking harm to patients and interfering with professional judgement and staff development.

The NHS will be exempt from the Public Contract Regulations 2015, meaning it will be impossible to reject bids for contracts on the grounds of non-compliance with environmental, social, or labour laws guaranteeing Freedom of Association and the Right to Strike, or on the basis of a bidder’s previous history.

The Health Secretary will also impose local service reconfigurations, weakening or abolishing the right and power local authorities currently have to scrutinise significant health changes.

According to Dr John Lister, Secretary of Keep Our NHS Public and health policy academic

This Bill will not treat even one extra patient, or recruit one extra nurse

He asked why the new law is being deemed so urgent and important – but isn’t it obvious?

Javid, Johnson and the other Tory parasites want to turn your health into a profit-making industry for their donors as soon as possible.

I’ve just picked out the headline issues. Read more details here: Health and Care Bill means lucrative NHS contracts will be dished out ‘without competition’ | Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate

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Join the day of protest against Hancock’s NHS privatisation

I found this on my brother Beastrabban’s Weblog and it is well worth passing on to a wider audience:

It seems Matt Hancock and the Tories haven’t given up on their wretched plans to privatise the NHS. The Health Secretary is planning to introduce legislation that will allow private healthcare companies on to the management of NHS organisations. Apparently, this has already happened with Virgin sitting on the board of the NHS in Bath And North-East Somerset. The anti-privatisation organisation We Own It is planning a day of protest against this latest move to break up the health service next Thursday, with symbolic tugs of war taking place between the public and private healthcare companies up and down the country. I got this email from them yesterday.

“Matt Hancock is planning legislation that will let private companies make decisions about our NHS care.

“It’s already starting to creep in – Virgin were given a seat on the new NHS body in Bath and Somerset.

“You can help to stop this in its tracks by making an impression all across the country with a clear image: this is a TUG OF WAR between you and private companies.

“Will you join in the National Day of Action on July 17th and organise a local ‘tug of war’ stunt to say NO to the private takeover of our NHS?

I will join in the National Day of Action

“We think this legislation is coming to parliament quite soon.

“So NOW is the time to get organised.

“By organising an eye-catching ‘tug of war’ stunt, with private companies on one side ❌and US on the other ✊, you’ll be helping to get the news out and show our collective outrage.

“Don’t worry if you’ve never organised an action like this before, we’ve got you covered!

“If you want, you can come to a training session and there’s a step by step here.

“The stunt doesn’t need to be big. It just needs you, a few friends and a rope!

“Will you be part in the National Day of Action on July 17th to stop Virgin making decisions about our health and our NHS?

I’ll take part in the Day of Action

“The government is trying to put on a spin on this bill, saying it will end privatisation, because they know privatisation of our NHS goes down like a lead balloon.

“So it’s VITAL that together we get a huge amount of coverage for the Day of Action.

“Find out more about organising for the day, with our handy step by step!

“We can support you every step of the way.

“What about the rest of the UK? This bill will mean disintegration of our NHS in England. Luckily the rest of the UK is not going ahead with these plans yet.

“But it is not a good sign for the direction of our NHS as a whole, long term.

“We’ll have action for everyone take on July 17th to say no to this private takeover.

“Thank you for being part of this fight. You’re not alone in fighting for our NHS.”

This is a matter very close to the Beast’s heart as he is undergoing treatment for a long-term illness. While he can’t take part himself, he urges the rest of us to do our bit.

Sadly, it seems he has given up on Labour’s Keir Starmer:

“Starmer should be doing this, but like the good Blairite he is, when it come to tackling capitalism he’s nowhere to be seen.”

Source: ‘We Own It’ Planning Day of Protest Against Hancock’s NHS Privatisation | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

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Care workers awarded £100,000 in back pay – but why is their NEW employer paying it?

How pleasant to see home carers being awarded the pay they are due!

In a court victory, home care workers contracted by Haringey Council in North London were awarded £100,000 in back pay.

That’s between them, not individually – amounting to around £10,000 for each of the 10 claimants.

It seems the council had given the work contract to a private provider called Sevacare that cheated them out of money they should have been paid for travel time between patient visits.

As a result, some of them ended up being paid less than £4 per hour – less than the minimum wage, and much less than even the “National Living Wage” that the Tories introduced, which still doesn’t cover living expenses.

Care service companies, Kaamil Education Limited, Diligent Care Services Limited and Premier Carewaiting Limited say they inherited the case when they took over the work contract.

The firms who took over the contracts were ordered to pay the claimants.

Wait – what?

Why were the new providers ordered to pay? Why couldn’t the offending firm do it?

Has it gone out of business? Government contractors seem to do that, don’t they? Does anybody remember Carillion?

Mrs Mike was completely unimpressed by this story.

She reckons the problem is the sub-contracting of care work by councils to private providers, who always say they can do the work for a very low price.

Then the bosses and shareholders take their cut (Mrs Mike said), and the people who do the actual work end up with whatever’s left – the scrapings from the bottom of the barrel.

It’s a consequence of privatisation, she said. It was better when councils employed care workers directly.

Given this result, I’d say she makes a good point. Wouldn’t you?

Source: Unison: Care workers who made £4 an hour awarded in £100,000 court case – BBC News

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The great water privatisation disaster: Tory scheme means England could run out of drinking water

There’s a line in one of the Horatio Hornblower books in which the Admiral of the Fleet tells the young hero it’s every officer’s duty to leave the navy in better condition than when he found it.

That’s a good philosophy for any organisation.

What a shame the Conservatives don’t have the same philosophy – about anything at all.

In particular, we see their actual philosophy – “sell it off and ruin it” – in action in the UK’s water industry, which was privatised by the Thatcher government in 1989.

A new report by Parliament’s public accounts committee states that privatisation has been such an catastrophe that there is a serious risk that parts of England will run out of water altogether within the next 20 years.

The report says that “ponderous” water companies – 70 per cent of which are now owned by foreign businesses – have made “no progress” in reducing leakage meaning that more than three billion litres of water leaks out of the system every single day.

That’s one-fifth of the UK’s daily supply!

The committee says the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has failed to provide enough leadership in telling the private companies how to balance investment in infrastructure and reducing customer bills, but This Writer thinks that is nonsense.

The private companies are neither investing in infrastructure nor cutting costs – they are literally draining us dry.

We pay too much for the water we get and the lack of investment in the UK system by its foreign owners means soon we won’t even get it!

This is a problem entirely created by the Conservatives with their ridiculous lie that private firms are more efficient, more economical, and cost the consumer less. They aren’t, they aren’t and they don’t.

And by letting these firms fall into the hands of foreign business people, it seems our money is being invested into the systems in their own countries, rather than in ours. It’s certainly boosting the treasuries of the countries where these firms are based in tax – rather than our own.

This is an English problem.

Scotland receives its supply from the publicly-owned company Scottish Water, which is the most trusted public utility in the UK. It constantly invests in its system, keeps customers happy – and paying less, and is even reducing its carbon footprint.

In Wales, three million people get their supply from the not-for-profit firm Glas Cymru/Welsh Water which, according to surveys, has sector-leading levels of customer satisfaction.

Customers in Northern Ireland do not pay water charges to their publicly-owned water supplier, Northern Ireland Water.

England is less lucky.

Anglian Water is owned by a consortium consisting of Canada Pension Plan Investment BoardColonial First State Global Asset ManagementIFM Investors and 3i.

Northumbrian Water is owned by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings.

Southern Water is owned by a consortium called Greensands Holdings Limited, comprising  JP Morgan Asset Management (40%), UBS Asset Management (22%), Hermes Infrastructure Funds (21%) and Whitehelm Capital (8%).

Wessex Water is owned by a Malaysian firm, YTL Corporation.

Affinity Water is part-owned by US firm Morgan Stanley.

Bristol Water is part-owned by Japanese Itochu corporation.

South East Water is part-owned by Utilities Trust of Australia.

And Sutton and East Surrey Water is owned by the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation.

Other water firms are still UK-based – and some are only part foreign-owned.

Across the board, bills have increased by 40 per cent on average. Considering the efforts made by the publicly-owned/not-for-profit firms, it’s likely that some English customers have suffered much higher hikes.

Shareholders have received at least £56 billion since privatisation in 1989.

Six water companies have been found to be avoiding millions in tax.

Water makes big money.

But you can see that most of it has been going abroad.

It certainly hasn’t been used to plug any leaks!

The message is clear: public ownership is cheaper, more efficient, and guarantees that customers’ taps won’t run dry.

It seems the private shareholders are swimming in cash while ensuring that, in a very short time, you die of thirst.

Source: England faces “serious risk of running out of water within 20 years” – Committees – UK Parliament

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Does Whately’s scorn for student nurses hide a deeper Tory agenda?

Airhead or conspirator? What did Helen Whately mean when she said student nurses were ‘not deemed to be providing a service’?

After 25,000 student nurses volunteered to help NHS staff cope with the Covid-19 crisis in April, ‘care’ minister Helen Whately has announced that a new £5,000 grant will not be backdated to allow them to receive it because they are “not deemed to be providing a service”.

That’s the information we get from Nursing Notes:

The government scrapped the NHS Bursary system for student nurses and midwives in 2015 which subsequently led to a significant drop in the number of applicants.

Later this year the government will introduce the NHS Learning Support Fund which will provide non-repayable grants of up to £8,000 per year for both new and current student healthcare professionals.

Those who completed their course between this period feel understandably short-changed by a lack of financial aid – relying solely on student loans.

Tom Pursglove MP – himself a Tory – wrote to Ms Whately, asking for the grant to be backdated after he was contacted by student nurse Jessica Collins.

Ms Whately writes; “The Government has no plans to introduce a scheme that will backdate the offer for students who completed courses in earlier years.

“Student nurses in training are supernumerary and are not deemed to be providing a service. They are required to undertake 2,300 hours of clinical practice to learn the skills necessary for entry to the workforce.

“Whilst they may be performing limited clinical duties, this is under close supervision and they are not being paid to staff hospitals.”

Fine words from a government minister whose department would have been overwhelmed if those students had not volunteered their apparently non-existent services in April!

It would be easy to dismiss this comment as the witterings of an airhead and there is plenty of evidence to support such an interpretation of Ms Whately’s contribution to society.

Indeed, her letter goes on to claim – falsely – that those assisting with the COVID-19 pandemic were required to join an “emergency register” and would be paid a six-month clinical placement. According to Nursing Notes, this is not true – another lie to add to the ever-increasing pile of porkies the Tories have laid at our feet during the crisis that they made so much worse for people in the UK by their own selfishness, ignorance and laziness.

And what does Ms Collins, a mother-of-two who is graduating with debts of £60,000 because the Tories cancelled student bursaries, and who launched a petition calling for student nurses’ debts to be written off that attracted 200,000 signatures, think of the minister’s unkind words?

She told the Mirror: “The most shocking point of it was that we’re ‘deemed not to be providing a service’.

“I think you would only need to work one shift with us to see how we’re providing care for patients.

“We are under exactly the same pressures, we’re under exactly the same stresses.

“And the way she’s worded that just seems un-empathetic and so callous.”

Jessica said nursing students already feel undervalued and “to have it in writing I think is awful”.

She added: “I shared it with my closest circle first and there were a lot of tears, proper tears because it was that upsetting to some people.”

It seems Ms Collins will have a chance to clear the air with the minister next week, as part of a group conference call to discuss the issue.

This Writer believes nothing will come of this call apart from more hot air being blown down the phone lines at Ms Collins and student nurses like her.

And I reckon that – national loyalties notwithstanding – they will need to look to their own best interests when they graduate.

Other nations’ health services provide better pay and conditions than the NHS as it is run by the Conservatives, and nobody would blame them for taking employment that will help them clear the debt into which Tories like Ms Whately have pitched them.

If it creates a problem for the Department of Health and Social Care, so be it. The Tories already told nurses from foreign countries that they are not welcome, and it would do the country good to see that any problems in providing nurses are entirely caused by Conservative MPs.

And now I must ask: is that the plan?

Remember Noam Chomsky’s words on how the National Health Service could be privatised?

The Tories de-funded student nurses – and have now added insult to injury by saying they were “not deemed to be providing a service” during the Covid crisis.

If those nurses quit the NHS for better pay, then the NHS won’t work and people will get angry.

You know the Tories won’t take the blame – they never do. They’ll simply say the NHS as a system was always doomed to fail because socialist models always do – the usual baloney – and finish privatising the lot.

And the next time you need hospital treatment, they’ll slap you with a bill so large you could never, ever, hope to pay it.

Are you looking forward to that?

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NHS coronavirus PPE supply ‘severely undermined’ by private firms

Yet again: another chance to see this image of the rubbish PPE attempts in UK hospitals.

This Site reported that the privatisation of PPE supplies was a serious problem, weeks ago.

Vox Political is vindicated yet again.

It is alleged that a “dysfunctional” supply chain process and the production of essential PPE by private firms is behind the recent “fiasco” of hospitals not receiving enough protective kit.

Authors We Own It, a group of campaigners protesting privatisation of public services, and the Public Services International Research Unit at the University of Greenwich say that part-privatisation of NHS Supply Chain – the government organisation that oversees the supply of goods to health bodies – is leading to inefficiencies in the health service’s coronavirus response.

They also say more than 11 private suppliers provide medical equipment to hospitals.

In the case of PPE, they reported that parcel delivery company DHL led the procurement process for suppliers and private logistics firms who then provided hospitals with the medical items, removing civil servants from the process.

The report, named Privatised and Unprepared: The NHS Supply Chains, also blamed what it called “just in time” business models used by private companies like logistics business Unipart for the run down of PPE supplies. It alleges that this system encourages the reduction of stock.

Researchers argue that this creates a risk for the NHS that sufficient supplies are not available to manage unforeseen events, such as the current epidemic.

They also say the system’s part-privatisation made it “fundamentally dysfunctional”.

Source: NHS coronavirus PPE supply ‘severely undermined’ by private contractors, a report claims | The New European

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