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Cameron unveils privatisation drive


Almost all public services could be opened up to private companies under plans being put forward by prime minister David Cameron.

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, the PM said that “complete change” was needed in the public sector to improve standards for users.

A new presumption that private companies, voluntary groups and charities should be allowed to bid to provide services would allow the government to transform public services without having to legislate repeatedly to allow different providers to get involved.

The changes, to be set out in a white paper within the next fortnight, could allow non-public providers to run hospitals, schools and council services such as maintaining parks, adult care, special schools and roads maintenance.

Outside providers would be offered payment-by-results contracts, increasing their earnings as the quality of services improves.

Mr Cameron wrote: “We will create a new presumption - backed up by new rights for public service users and a new system of independent adjudication - that public services should be open to a range of providers competing to offer a better service.

“Of course, there are some areas - like national security services or the judiciary - where this wouldn’t make sense. But everywhere else should be open to real diversity.”

Mr Cameron said that the changes would release the public sector from “the grip of state control”, ending the era of “old-fashioned, top-down, take-what you’re-given” services.

The government hopes that the plan will reduce bureaucracy, improve quality and save money.

But it is certain to be opposed by Labour, the unions and many users of public services.

Writing in the Telegraph, Mr Cameron said opening up public services to private sector providers was an important part of his “Big Society” agenda.

“I would argue that our plans to devolve power from Whitehall, and to modernise public services, are more significant aspects of our Big Society agenda than the work we’re doing to boost social action,” said the PM.

“We will soon publish a White Paper setting out our approach to public service reform. It will put in place principles that will signal the decisive end of the old-fashioned, top-down, take-what-you’re-given model of public services.

“And it is a vital part of our mission to dismantle Big government and build the Big Society in its place.”

We’re going viral! Have you friends heard about the ‘seat on the board’ petition? Let’s ensure nurses are actively involved in the new commissioning consortia.



Readers' comments (13)

  • look out n h s come on knock him of his perch this is what they wanted from the begining? god help us all please

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  • what is there left to say?

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  • The UK will be revolting and trying to bring down this Government very soon if Cameron keeps on with his ideas.

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  • open letter to Mr Cameron Have you not noticed what is going on around the world you were not voted in you didnt win the election or the right to destroy this country and bring it to its knees

    come out of your ivory million pound castle and listen to the ordinary folks or you will end up the latest casualty of prime ministers who did not listen to his people
    dont underestimate people power

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  • Despite proof positive that private involvement is contrary to a great deal of required societal equilibrium our unenlightened, ill advised, publicly disconnected politicians once again defy all common sense in an attempt to pretend to fix something that essentially then know nothing about.

    The extremely narrow and limited technical and strategic ability of those at the top is evident of why, rather than the NHS be made to change the way it is managed is altered.

    Clearly the continuance of the internal market and free access of private companies to pretend they have a right to provide services where they are not wanted or needed proves how unfailingly poor their decision making process is, how unperceivable their integrity is and how over-rewarded they are.

    What is clear is that Labour's (last vestiges of socialism detected 1999) wasted billions could easily have paid for capital spending, the enlarging of hospitals and the preservation of smaller hospitals and state funded nursing homes and what’s more it would have obviously made good on the idea that NOT closing hospitals would improve efficiency.

    By not logically and truthfully improving the NHS politicians have allowed the NHS, not to crumble but to fade into a relic but they have not yet removed the restorability of it, nor have they managed to ever allow us to trust them once in any of their promises to maintain and amend an obviously well tolerated service.

    In Labours boom period people did not eschew the NHS en masse when they could seemingly afford to go private; in fact the numbers of NHS patients merely went up.

    Perhaps the most powerful proof in the shallowness of the Cameron's (and Clegg??!) policies is the very ignorance behind the turning private industries.

    Even if every hospital in the country went private tomorrow the following problems ensue:

    1. There currently are not enough hospital beds in a healthcare system that by and large does not provide care in any environment that can match what the private industry can offer.

    2. People who are paying privately will not tolerate anything less than what private healthcare can offer, however this would require these now large private hospitals to upgrade significantly and we aren't talking about some paint and new panelling. We are talking about single rooms, furnished with en-suites, low nurse-to patient ratios and level of luxury that the NHS could never provide.

    3. If Mr Cameron thinks that the private industry will be paying for these start-up costs then he is either more ill-advised that most or an utter marionette akin to Bush or Obama (erm, no offence but why are so many of your cabinet appointments from Wall St? Did you not see what they did to your economy??)

    4. The private sector currently relies on the NHS for large amounts of clinical resources, emergency and critical care and as a dumping ground for when the merry-go-round of insurance stops.

    Why self-respecting politician would permit a private concern to turf out a patient at essentially no cost onto his own turf for him or her to deal with is beyond me but essentially this 'self-mutilating' behaviour will be, no doubt entirely self-perpetuating.

    5. Politicians will obviously lose the battles between controlling the rates of pay for the medical profession, those oh so important Chief Executives and other so called 'risk takers' who take on JUST SO MUCH PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY (!) even though they rarely have clinical qualifications to lose for their mistakes and let's face it never live from pay-cheque to pay cheque.

    Furthermore as proven time and time again the market cannot control prices nor can it ensure a more productive return on the same money spent by the state simply because of what you are providing.
    Forgetting that you can't lower staffing and resources in something that by definition will require MORE people and resources to achieve is simple proof that the private industry cannot take the lead role in providing low-cost care to large numbers of people.

    These are just five mere points that are already overlooked in terms of what it is the ConDems think they are doing.

    I urge each and every one of you to agree the same level of foresight, the big picture and the goal of the NHS that suits us. That can provide for everyone rapidly and without delay, which competes with the private sector in terms of levels of staffing, resources and equipment and that can offer a level of comfort that displays a consideration for the patients experience, need for creature comforts and allows for an easily provided service.

    We must not allow what can be so easily improved to be swept away or made vulnerable to those who have no real solution to the problem, have been determined unsuitable as overseers, policy makers and agenda-ists, and have by want or ignorance prevented the NHS from achieving its full potential.

    Despite concerns to the contrary the NHS has clearly been the unequivocal guarantor of the health of the British public for over 60 years and has done so spending less than other countries.

    Clearly spending on advanced diagnostics, treatments and therapies has been overlooked but we must remember that first of all this was not a Labour policy but a Conservative one, The trusting of hospitals of course leading to rationalizing - or quite simply arbitrarily cutting back services that were obviously needed much more later on than they were then.

    Secondly the NHS is merely a machine and not a living breathing, decision making person.
    The machine will only perform what is inputted and evidently the machine can do that. Instead it is the over-riding higher functions of the machine that affect performance. The facile human traits of strategy, growth, longevity, vitality, changeability and integrity are entirely up to those operating the machine at its higher self and the responsibility for the NHS's self-preservation cannot fall on the machine itself.

    Politicians, advisors, financiers and of course the upper echelons of the medical profession (because of the clinical domination, from time of creation influence and historically self-promoted higher social status (they are of course just people)) have an evident history of failing to preserve the machine, failing to upgrade the machine and failure to expand the machine proportionally with the growing population it serves.

    If Andrew Lansley (Sec' of State for Health) or Cameron had any idea of the need for improvements he would immediately see that the State can, will and should spend money wisely and on permanent things that will last and have use.

    Simply by allowing trusts to spend to meet their needs a greater efficiency will be achieved if money can be spent to enlarge services so that they can efficiently meet their demands.

    By pretending that less people and resources can treat the public, publicly or privately the government is failing to see the past, more disturbingly the big picture and more worryingly the future where after the general public are priced out of affordable healthcare the government is forced to fund a state level insurance at a greater cost than ever before.

    And there still won't be enough hospitals and resources or staff to go around!

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  • This is ground hog day once again. Privatisation. Well, whoever voted Tory and Lib Dem will get their just desserts but sadly so will everyone else. I have always voted LibDem (Liberal in the past too), but not this last time. Why, because I knew that Thatcherism would rule again. Competition between management in the NHS with no consideration for the professionals or the patients. The NHS has cost more with the Labour Modernisation because the system improvements (which are not being sustained), made it more efficient and more patients went through the system. However, they did breathe back life into sharing good practice that was stifled with the last Conservative government. Privatisiation will tarnish this yet again. Whole wards are being shut to save money but it will be a short term thing and suddenly the NHS will have to deal with complaints, unnecessary deaths and more SUI's. False economy. Privatisation? We know already from the catering and cleaning contracts that private companies quote unrealistic prices for unattainable standards and everything often goes pear shaped for the patients and standards drop. Or they have to put the prices up to achieve what they said they would do ... ergo, more not less expense for the NHS.

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  • i am old enough to have talked to relatives that where involved in both the politics of the setting up of the NHS and in the celebration of its inception. Prior to this and up to the year it started my Grandmother paid a shilling a week to cover the cost of doctors bill's that stretched back decades, previous to the 1926 general strike. This government or the Conservatives wish to go back to multi providers, what do they think was on the provider list before 1947? Hospitals were provided by local boards, local charities,philanthropic societies,poor hospitals, private hospitals and if you had no money there was always the poor house and the undertaker. We have had the NHS for 65 years thats about one generation and statistically in that generation the health of the population has improved, life has become longer, and medical research has come on. Do we want to go back to the doctors clerk kocking on the door every week for the shilling, to be means tested for your care. These are the reasons that the unions found strength, not the cry for more money, but to fight for decent services for every day people. I have no wish to draw attention to the wealth and education establishments that Cameron et. al. have been privy too but i do wonder if they as a group have ever had to take what was given? I do feel that they will however force a large part of the population into having to revert back to the charity of old or the poor house run by the bountiful ladies of the big society.

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  • get the pip squeeks out fast! the time is ni the end is near

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  • he is the spawn of thatcher

    its about time this govt was brought down
    their friends the bankers get richer by the day and the working man gets poorer

    hope all of you who voted in this shower of **** are so proud of yourself!!!!

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  • it seems that the PM is so obsessed with his idea of 'Big Society' that he is out of touch with reality and the basic needs of the people he is supposed to be serving. Is this what happens when you have an Eaton education and then go out into the real world and attempt to climb up the career ladder? Has he chosen the right ladder or would his brains, education and grandiose ideas be better employed elsewhere?

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