Government Announces Its Intention To Privatise the NHS

by richardhutton

Not openly, of course – instead, the Department For Health has proposed legal regulations which will result in the National Health Service becoming a market place for private companies to haggle over all aspects of healthcare provision.

The key sections of The National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and
Competition) Regulations 2013 are the following paragraphs:

“When procuring health care services for the purposes of the NHS” the Commissioning Board /Clinical Commissioning Groups must “treat providers equally and in a non-discriminatory way, including by not treating a provider, or type of provider, more favourably than any other provider, in particular on the basis of ownership”. In other words, what this mealy-mouthed regulation entails is opening all NHS services up to competition from private companies.

This is reinforced by the following: “In acting with a view to improving quality and efficiency in the provision of the services the relevant body must consider appropriate means of making such improvements, including through….enabling providers to compete to provide the services” which, again, means NHS services will be open to competition from private companies. This scenario will not be decided by patients, or by any democratically accountable body – but by an executive board.

Here is the closest the government get to making their intentions plain:

“An arrangement for the provision of health care services for the purposes of the NHS must not include any restrictions on competition that are not necessary for the attainment of intended outcomes which are beneficial for people who use such services”.

A thoroughly anodyne epitaph for the National Health Service, as it is turned into a marketplace for private companies to compete in offering high-cost, low quality care.