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Issue #1583      February 27, 2013

Coalition sneaks in NHS privatisation

Campaigners said last week that unchallenged regulations published by the Tory-led government last week laid bare its plans to privatise the NHS.

Section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act has the effect of dramatically extending competition and forcing “compulsory competitive markets” on the NHS.

The regulations require that virtually all commissioning is carried out through competitive markets regardless of what patients want. They also contain legal powers for NHS regulator Monitor to enforce privatisation either independently or at the request of private companies that have lost bids.

Keep Our NHS Public’s Wendy Savage told the Morning Star that the regulations will also tie the health service into EU competition law.

This would cause difficulties for Labour to repeal the Act if it won the next general election as private companies may be able to sue for lost contracts.

Health Emergency’s John Lister said it represents a “massive sneak attack” on the NHS that exposes the government for lying to the public outright. He urged Labour to get onto the case.

And the Unite union fears that cash-strapped NHS providers will struggle to compete with the likes of Virgin Care and Serco in the bidding for contracts, opening up the door for privatisation on a massive scale.

The union’s head of health Rachael Maskell said: “This is proof, if proof were needed, that David Cameron and his cronies have misled both Parliament and the public about their plans to sell off the NHS.

“The regulations have nothing to do with patient choice, but are about enforcing privatisation on the NHS.” She warned that MPs must “stop privatisation creeping in through the back door” and have until March 31 to force through a debate in Parliament on the regulations and get them overturned.

The Department for Health failed to respond to requests for comment.

Morning Star  

Next article – Israel “officially allows” oil drilling in the Golan Heights

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