• by Allyson Pollock, who is professor of public health and director of the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University, and the author of "NHS PLC"; Published on 18th January 2018 in the "New Statesman"

    See Prof Pollock's TED talk "Privatisation of the NHS" - 29th April 2014 - in "Videos"

    Proposals for the health service will put billions of pounds of contracts into the hands of similarly structured organisations.

    It increasingly looks like the collapse of Carillion will not only cost the UK many millions of pounds but also endanger the delivery of vital public services and projects. And yet, even as the government scrambles to clean up the mess left by the contractor’s failure, it is currently proposing to allow NHS services to be put into the hands of companies which operate in the same way.

    Carillion already has a raft of NHS Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) contracts in the NHS, including owning and operating 11,000 hospital beds in a dozen NHS hospitals in England and Scotland as well as several General Practitioner (GP) surgeries and community services.

    Under the PFI, builders, bankers and service operators like Carillion, rather than government, raised money and entered into long term 30-year contracts with public bodies to pay back the debt. The extortionate costs to the taxpayer of this private borrowing are well documented. In the case of the NHS, which has been paying consortium members including bankers and shareholders a high annual charge for private finance, this is fueling serious financial difficulties in many hospitals and across the NHS. With money diverted to private pockets, beds and services have closed and staff have been reduced.

    [for more on "Accountable Care Organisations" - the "next big thing" for the NHS]

  • Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS - article of 10th November 2016, updated on 9th March 2017 for the Budget announcements.


    Far from the Sustainability and Transformation Plans marking the government’s shift away from NHS marketisation and privatisation – as some are mistakenly claiming – the opposite is true!

    Since the Autumn 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review that created the Sustainability and Transformation Fund, both the government and its quango NHS England have explicitly linkedthe Sustainability and Transformation Plans to the requirement to “encourage” increased private sector involvement in the NHS.

    Update 9 March 2017

    Behind the derisory £325m STP funding in Hammond’s Spring Budget (for a few “most advanced” STPs)  is the plan for 50% of STP funding to be sourced from private companies via Local Economic Partnerships by 2020 – please see section below: “Strategic partnerships with the NHS and the 39 Local Economic Partnerships”

    Some key aspects of STPs’ mandatory “encouragement” of long term NHS “partnerships” with the private sector include

    • Strategic partnerships with the NHS and the 39 Local Economic Partnerships.
    • The abandonment of  “old-style contracting” and the  imposition of private company-friendly contracting.
    • Embedding digital technology in STPs.
    • Talk given at the Learie Constantine centre, Dudden Hill Lane, on 1st December 2016 at the invitation of Brent Patient Voice to an audience of 50 people.

      Dr Julia Simon was until Sept 2016 the head of NHS England's commissioning policy unit and its programme director of co-commissioning of primary care.

      She had worked at London and national NHS level since 2012 on CCG and commissioning issues.


      Dr Simon referred to a small number of presentation slides.

      "There has been a split between commissioning and provision for over 25 years. The 2012 Health and Social Care Act aims to create a truly clinically led system with GPs in the driving seat. But the outcome is actually a fragmented commissioning system with three main budget holders across CCGs, NHSE and local authorities (public health), and a bewildering number of other national organisations.

      In my view healthcare isn't a market: hospitals do not fail. They are always bailed out in order to give citizens care - which seems obvious. Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health responsible for the introduction of the HSCS Act, is married to a GP.


      There were 212 in 2012 and there are 209 now. They are legally constituted by their members and all practising GPs must be members of one. CCGs have a statutory duty to (1) improve primary care and (2) to engage citizens.


    • New NHS boss Simon Stevens made headlines today presenting NHS England's latest 5-year plan. The plan is clearly based in part on the experiments on North West Londoners under the banner of "Shaping a Healthier Future". So we've become accustomed to promises of more care in the community, site integrated care, acute specialisms - aspirations in themselves as uncontroversial as apple pie. 

      The real issue is about resources
    • Most new contracts have gone to private firms, who can hide behind the NHS logo but siphon off a profit.

      Electorally toxic: shadow health secretary Andy Burnham called for an end to the privatisation of the NHS until the next General Election to give voters the chance for a proper debate.

      Updated: 13:14, medicine 31 July 2014


      Think back to 2010. In the run-up to the General Election, David Cameron declared that the NHS would be his “No.1 priority”. Then those posters appeared, with an oddly unblemished image of the Tory leader that was straight out of uncanny valley. “I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS” ran one of the slogans next to Synthetic Man’s face.

      Now, with the next election approaching, we’re hearing a lot less from the Conservatives about the health service. The nation’s biggest employer didn’t even warrant a mention in the Queen’s Speech. This silence isn’t a sign it’s all ticking along merrily — most of the recent headlines have included words like “closure”, “critical” and “crisis” — it shows that the NHS has become electorally toxic for the Tories.

      That’s not surprising when you examine the coalition’s record. When David Cameron arrived in No. 10, the public had never been more satisfied with the NHS; now the story is of swamped A&Es, chronic staff shortages and slashed funding for mental health services. And while voters were repeatedly told the health budget was rising in real terms, many departments have actually experienced sharp cuts passed off as “efficiency savings”.