Nearly 200 contracts, worth £2.5billion in total, have been offered since April. This surge in tenders is one of the first signs that the government’s rules on competition are breaking up the NHS.
The biggest contract so far is worth over a billion pounds and is to provide community services in Cambridgeshire. Seven other areas have similar contracts in the pipeline. The contracts will attract interest from the big corporate players like Serco and Virgin, who have both already scooped up sizable deals in this area.
In order to compete NHS Trusts are implementing more draconion cuts on staff and patients. Barts hospital managers in London have announced downbanding and job cuts for 600 staff with losses for band 6's of £7000 a year and over £2000 for band 3 staff.
The NHS faces the greatest threat ever. The government intends to replace the bulk of NHS services with a patchwork of private contracters, competing to provide services at the cheapest cost with destructive consequences. They are promoting more NHS services being opened to private patients who will be able to get prioroit access to NHS services - pushing NHS patients to the back of the queue.
Yet there is resistance. Plans to cuts services at Lewisham and Whittington hospitals in London were defeated with mass campaigns supported by healthworkers and the public. Locally UNISON members defeated 40 job cuts across Oxford Health wards and NOC OT's have voted to take action against downbanding by over 80%.
The majority do not want to see the end of the NHS - but to defend it we need to act now.
Dr John Lister (Health Emergency/Keep Our NHS Public)
Dan Fearnley (Oxfordshire Unison Health Branch)
Gina Ravens (Disabled People Against the Cuts)
Debbie McIlveen (Oxford People's Assembly)
Chair: Liz Peretz (Keep Our NHS Public)
Called nationally by Unite, Unison, GMB and backed by the TUC.
Local support from Oxford and District TUC, Unison Health, KONP, Oxford People's Assembly, Oxfordshire Anti-Cuts Alliance.