Three unions are combining to challenge the way NHS England is trying to hand a contract worth over £1 billion for primary care support services over to the private sector.
This huge privatisation proposal – directly rooted in the government’s Health and Social Care Act – is being carried out in secret, with a secret report, with secret bids via a secret and unpublicised meeting of the NHS England Board.
Unison, Unite and the RCN have shown that the process breaches the NHS Constitution. They say the process, involving three bidders would be secret, not shared with staff or trade unions, and that the deliberations of the NHS England Board would not be released.
The secret recommendation would then go to the Department of Health and then not be released until months after the May general election. Existing NHS authorities and agencies are being prevented from making an in-house bid.
Hundreds of primary care support service jobs are at risk, with dozens of locations facing closure – with the subsequent release of prime housing sites onto the property market.
There is evidence of certain insider NHS management working with private providers seeking to cherry pick core services, a pattern which has occurred in every privatisation over the past 30 years.