There are increasing attempts to privatise non-clinical services
With widespread opposition (plus some common sense) the attempt to drive the privatisation of NHS clinical services appears to be stalling.
But as one threat diminishes, at least for now, a new one arises: there are increasing attempts to privatise non-clinical services. Outsourcing is now the big threat.
Think back to the Thatcher years and the wholesale destabilisation of our local authority services through compulsory competitive tendering. The council’s lost their direct labour teams and private companies got rich pickings from taking contracts.
The range of NHS service that are coming under threat range across payroll, finance, IT, through catering and transport, to pathology and sterile service.
It is true that many of these services are already outsourced in some parts of the NHS but we are now seeing a wholesale drive and the Carter Review will make it worse.
We are also seeing the chaotic but determined drive to kill off NHS shared services and to force the Commissioning Support Units into the private sector.
And perhaps worst of all, we are seeing attempts to outsource aspects of commissioning; something that is not supposed to be allowed.
All good organisations keep their services under review and look for improvements. In areas like Information Management there may be no, or very little, NHS provision left so using the private sector becomes like buying a printer or a server. But this new drive is purely ideological.
So what can we do? How can we defend NHS services from being outsourced?